By Neil Leverett
- Manchester City and Everton meet in Gameweek 25’s final fixture at Goodison Park on Wednesday night
- The Citizens can remarkably go top temporarily with a win on Merseyside
- Pep Guardiola may rotate starting XI after weekend win over Arsenal
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Manchester City can go top of the table on Wednesday night, as Pep Guardiola’s men travel to Everton – looking to overhaul the Toffees’ Merseyside rivals – only weeks after the Reds held a vice-like grip on the title.
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Neil’s One to Watch: Everton vs Manchester City (Wednesday 6 February, 19:45)
By this point, both sides will be approaching their second game in a matter of days as Goodison Park plays host to potentially weary legs on Merseyside. Whilst City will have had arguably the tougher 90 minutes under their belts from the weekend, Everton themselves will have been tested against European-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers.
As their second home Premier League game on the bounce however, the Gwladys street faithful will be relishing the visit of the champions not least because of their record against them in previous seasons.
Both sides will likely see a sprinkling of rotation after their excesses of the previous outing, but a win here would be massive for very differing reasons. With Everton having been knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup to Millwall and with boss Marco Silva coming under a dose of early pressure in his first season in charge, a win here against his Iberian counterpart in Guardiola would be just the tonic for the Portuguese.
The Toffees have encountered a rather sticky patch underlined by the weekend defeat to a near-rabid Wolves side at home, but Everton have always risen to the occasion when the Citizens roll into town.
The hosts have been in rather uncertain form – as have their home support – but here both will be up for a roaring atmosphere across the blue half of Stanley Park. After Liverpool hit the buffers in recent games – a sign of the strain Everton’s city rivals are going to come under until the end of the season – this is suddenly not such a vital game.
In the knowledge however that a win for Pep Guardiola‘s men could see them go top on goal difference, such a psychological barrier to have hurdles in the past month, could be massive for the remaining three months of the campaign.
City looked a little jaded on Sunday, but the knowledge that top spot awaits on Wednesday evening, is a massive incentive for the champions. Add to that the fact that Everton more predisposed to offense than defence, City should again win out here with a fresh Leroy Sane et el ready to go at the home defence, not to mention a Kun Aguero ripe from his weekend triple.
But, in this see-saw Premier League season – especially in the early weeks of 2019 – nothing is certain.
Prediction: Everton 1-3 Manchester City
Everton host Manchester City in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening, kick-off 19:45
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