Everton vs Man CityEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Sep 28, 2019, Goodison Park
MANCHESTER City may not be top of the Premier League table, however, they have hit top gear since their nightmare in Norwich a fortnight ago.
The Citizens have cruised to 3-0 away wins against Shakhtar Donetsk and Preston North End either side of an 8-0 annihilation of Watford at the Etihad.
Next up for Pep Guardiola's superstars is a short trip to Merseyside where they will go toe-to-toe with an out of sorts Everton side at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
Everton made a solid, if not spectacular start to the season by collecting seven points from the first 12 available to them , however, since then the Toffees have come unstuck after falling to a dismal 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth, before being turned over 2-0 on their own turf by newly-promoted Sheffield United last Saturday.
Consequently, Blues boss Marco Silva goes into this meeting with star-studded City as the market leader with most bookmakers in the dreaded Premier League sack race.
Pep's champs are odds-on at 2/7 (Ladbrokes) to inflict more misery on Everton and Silva, while a home win is as high as 10/1 (Betfred) and a share of the spoils is priced at 5/1 (Betfred) with the same firm.
Yet, last time out Everton performed better than the scoreline suggested and despite failing to find the back of the net against the Blades, the Toffees may fair better in front of goal against the Citizens.
Granted, that may sound a bit bizarre, however, Sheffield United parked the bus last weekend – they had just 30% possession – and it goes without saying that Guardiola's men will be on the goal-hunt at Goodison.
As breathtaking as City have been recently, their free-flowing football can leave their fragile defence exposed – as proved to be the case during their recent collapse at Carrow Road.
Like the Canaries, Everton will carry an attacking threat of their own with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Iwobi and Richarlison all capable of causing City's injury-ravaged rearguard problems.
The aforementioned Richarlison is 11/10 ( PaddyPower) to have at least one shot on target and those odds appeal to me as the Brazilian's physicality and speed should unsettle a depleted City defence.
Furthermore, I also like the look of backing any player to score a header – which is priced at 11/10 (Betfred) .
For all the lovely football Pep's side play on the floor, they have scored a number of headed goals this term and with Everton being the taller of the two teams they could use their superior height to hurt City in the air.
That line of thought has lured me towards a long-shot , namely, the 22/1 (William Hill) on offer for Everton defender Yerry Mina to score anytime.
The 6 ft 5 centre-half is an imposing figure, has six goals in 20 appearances for his country and I could see City struggling to shackle the Colombian when trying to deal with Everton free-kicks and corners.
However, Mina will be kept busy in more familiar territory when trying to shut-out free-scoring City and the Blues backline will do well to prevent Premier League top goalscorer Sergio Aguero from adding to his tally.
The Argentine assassin is a general price of 8/11 in the anytime goalscorer market and has scored in all six of City's league outings thus far.
With Liverpool featuring in Saturday's lunchtime kick off, Man City could be eight points adrift of the Anfield side by the time they go into this tea-time tussle with the Toffees – and if so there will be no room for error.
After City's eight-goal hammering of the Hornets it's difficult to see anything other than an away win here, but the odds are not very enticing – even a City win with over 2.5 goals looks a little short at 8/13 (PaddyPower) – however, backing Man City to win and both teams to score is a lot more attractive at 17/10 (BoyleSports)
Yet, despite all the doom and gloom at Goodison, the home crowd will be up for this clash- Everton fans always relish the occasion when one of the big six arrive in their backyard.
Toppling the Champions will be a tall order, however, the hosts could get on the score sheet against a City team who tend to always hit the back of the net – and with that in mind value could lie in backing both teams to score at 5/6 (BoyleSports)
This English Premier League match between Everton and Man City will be played on Sep 28, 2019 and kick off at 17:30