Manchester City are targeting a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions when they host Everton in the Premier League at the Etihad on Saturday (17:30 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Man City come into the fixture on the back of a commanding 4-1 win away to Sunderland on Wednesday. The defending champions are second in the Premier League table, six points shy of leaders Chelsea, with 30 points from nine wins, three draws and two defeats.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side went behind early on Wednesday, but they were level just a couple of minutes later thanks to Sergio Aguero (pictured). Stevan Jovetic then struck to put them ahead at the interval, before second half goals from Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta sealed the three points in a match in which Man City dominated both possession and the shot count.
The victory came just a few days after their impressive 3-0 win away to high-flying Southampton and provided further evidence that the Citizens are starting to find their feet after a relatively inconsistent start to the season. This is the same time they kicked into gear last season, going on a run of 11 wins and one draw from late-November through January.
Indeed, by this stage of last season they had already lost twice the number of matches they have in the current campaign. Chelsea will provide stiffer competition this time around, but with Aguero (18 goals in all competitions) in superb form and Fernandinho and Yaya Toure starting to perform to their level in midfield, all is far from lost for the reigning champions.
Pellegrini is without the injured Vincent Kompany (hamstring) for this match, while Alexsandar Kolarov (calf), David Silva (knee) and Edin Dzeko (calf) are all highly doubtful. Eliaquim Mangala returns from suspension after missing the win over Sunderland.
Everton make the short trip to Manchester on the back of just one win in their last five Premier League matches. They sit 11th in the table, with 18 points from four wins, six draws and four defeats.
Roberto Martinez’s side played out a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Hull City on Wednesday. They took the lead through Romelu Lukaku towards the end of the first half, only for Hull to equalise on the hour mark. Everton created the better chances before and after but were unable to find a finishing touch in a match they largely controlled.
The Toffees enjoyed a superb campaign last season, finishing fifth after briefly looking likely to pip Arsenal to the final Champions League qualifying position. They spent big to sign loan star Lukaku on a permanent basis this summer but were otherwise only active in the loan and free transfer markets. In the meantime, other teams around them have improved.
Martinez’s refreshing insistence on treating the Europa League with respect has seen Everton confirm their qualification for the knockout stages with a match to spare but has also clearly impacted their league form. They are still a good side, but their squad is too thin and their reliance on older players for key positions too high to compete successfully on two fronts.
Martinez will be without the injured Antolin Alcaraz (shoulder) and John Stones (ankle), while Bryan Oviedo (knock) and Darron Gibson (knee) are highly doubtful. James McCarthy (hamstring) and Steven Naismith (hamstring) are both close to a return and could be ready for the trip to Manchester.
Man City vs Everton Betting Tips Verdict
City came back from a goal down to win 3-1 in last season’s equivalent fixture and also triumphed 3-2 in the reverse at Goodison Park. Everton do have a good record away to City, having won four and drawn one of the last eight meetings between the sides in Manchester. The victories were condensed into a three-year period between 2008 and 2010.
Five matches ago, Man City had won just one of their previous five and were on the verge of an early Champions League exit. Fast forward to the present and they seem to be finding their stride, with four wins and a draw in their last five matches. They will progress to the Champions League knockout stages with victory away to Roma next week.
Everton have struggled for consistency so far this season. They have recorded just one back-to-back victory and have collected 11 less points than they did in their equivalent fixtures last season. They are still a good side and are capable of wracking up two or three goals given the right conditions, but they are conceding too readily to win on a regular basis. So Man City look well placed to take three points on Saturday.
- Back Manchester City to win on the ‘match result and both teams to score’ market @ best odds of 15/8 with William Hill or Coral.
- Aguero is in razor-sharp form at the moment, with seven goals in his last five matches in all competitions. He leads the Premier League scoring charts and can be fancied to add to his tally against an Everton side who have kept just three clean sheets so far. Back Sergio Aguero to score at anytime @ 4/5 with Bet365 or SkyBet.