Rearranged clash between Everton and Manchester City sees leaders threaten to pull away further at top
Manchester City to win 2-1
Another game, another win for Manchester City last weekend.
Their 10th straight league victory took them seven points clear of Manchester United and Leicester, beating Tottenham 3-0 in the process. Win their 11th, and they’ll go 10 points clear at the top of the league which they’ll be expecting to win come May.
City’s form has been so imperious of late that few have been even able to land a glove on them, with just five goal conceded across their last 16 games in all competitions. Their luck will run out eventually, but who knows when?
Everton are consistently knocking on the door of the top four clubs and had a huge opportunity when Liverpool lost their game against Leicester.
The Toffees could not capitalise however, as they were outplayed by an 18th placed Fulham side battling relegation. Can they cause an upset to City’s title hopes here?
Form Guide (all comps): LWDWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Dominic Calvert-Lewin should be fit to return after injury
Can still rise into the top four with victory
Reasons to be fearful:
Looked fatigued in their defeat to Fulham
City look almost impossible to stop currently
Everton have proved themselves a worthy competitor against the big sides this season, beating the likes of Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal and taking points recently off Manchester United.
City, of course, will be a different proposition altogether. They’ve barely conceded a goal recently, and haven’t dropped points in the league since a 1-1 draw against West Brom on 15th December.
At least Everton should have Calvert-Lewin ready to come back into the fold after missing their weekend defeat by Fulham. The striker was sorely missed up front.
A larger concern will be how exhausted their players appeared against Fulham, with manager Carlo Ancelotti expressing that their extra time win over Spurs a few days before took a heavy toll on fitness levels. With three days between matches, he’ll hope they can recover enough to be competitive here.
Star Man – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Was in good goal-scoring form before his injury, with a stoppage time equaliser against Manchester United last weekend.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWWW
Reasons to be cheerful
• Are building an uncatchable lead at the top of the league
• Scoring plenty of goals while barely conceding at the other end
Reasons to be fearful
• Fatigue could play a part with a heavy fixture schedule
• Will have to rotate wisely with European games coming up
This is Manchester City’s game in hand, something which has hung over the heads of their nearest rivals in recent weeks, with City pulling away from the likes of Manchester United and Leicester.
There appears to be no stopping City right now. In two of the last three seasons, either Liverpool or City have run away with the league title, with only the season before last being a close race between the pair.
The Skyblues are threatening to leave the others in their dust at this rate, aiming for 11 on the bounce in the league.
The likes of Gundogan and Sterling are in immense form in front of goal, while the resurgence of John Stones at the back has seen City keep a league-high 14 clean sheets this season.
Can Everton stop their run here?
Star Man – Ilkay Gundogan
His brilliance in front of goal, 11 in his last 12 games, means City haven’t missed the injured De Bruyne one bit.
City will start as favourites though Everton could spring a surprise
Calvert-Lewin will be a huge boost for Toffees
Can Gundogan keep up his scoring record?
City’s unbelievable winning streak will eventually come to an end, but whether a tired Everton side are the ones to make that happen is another question.
The Skyblues have the incentive of going 10 points clear at the top with a victory, and they are certainly favourites to do so.
You can never rule out a surprise this season, but it would take a huge effort from Everton here.
Manchester City to win 2-1