Man City VS Everton – LIVE Reddit Soccer 26/02/2022
Manchester City have not been perfect in the Premier League this season, having already lost two of their 11 games, including a shock 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace at the end of October. But they bounced back straight away and were superb in a comprehensive two-goal victory over Manchester United in the derby last time around. The result sent the Sky Blues into second place in the table, although they have slipped to third after Liverpool beat Arsenal on Saturday. They have a busy November ahead of them with some tricky fixtures, a Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain next week will be followed by a league game against high-flying West Ham. Building momentum with a win this weekend will thus be crucial for the Premier League champions.
On the other hand, Everton made a strong start to the 2021/22 Premier League campaign under the tutelage of new boss Rafael Benitez, winning four of their opening six games while suffering only a single defeat. The Toffees have been brought back down to reality, having gone five games without a win, suffering three losses along the way, including a shocking 5-2 home defeat to Watford in October. To be fair to Benitez, he had a depleted squad with key players missing through injuries during this stretch. They will certainly take positives from their defensive performance in the 0-0 draw against Tottenham last time out, in which they prevented the Lilywhites from taking a single shot at goal. Ahead of their latest Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be forced to do some reshuffling in the attacking areas with injuries to usual starters. The Citizens will be without the services of Jack Grealish, who has been sidelined with an injury sustained while on international duty, while Phil Foden is also a significant doubt after picking a knock during the international break. Kevin De Bruyne will also miss the game after testing positive for Covid-19, while Ferran Torres continues to struggle with a foot injury. But Aymeric Laporte is back from suspension and could start ahead of John Stones in the starting XI. Ruben Dias will join the Spaniard in front of goalkeeper Ederson, who is a certain starter between the sticks.
Guardiola will set up his side in his preferred 4-3-3 formation. It’s very rare to see the Catalan coach tinker with his philosophy and system. Full-backs Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are expected to surge forwards and pin down the opposition wingers, especially the latter, who at times is almost playing as a left-sided midfielder while Walker provides defensive solidity with his recovery speed and agility.
The trio of Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Illkay Gundogan could feature in midfield. Rodri will anchor the midfield with his incredible passing ability while screening the back-four. The onus to provide the forward thrust would lie on the shoulders of Gundogan and Silva. The Portuguese midfielder offers the work-ethic and front-footed pressing to maintain City’s dominance while the former makes canny late runs into the box and provide a goal threat.
Premier League leaders Manchester City will be looking to return to winning ways when they face Frank Lampard’s Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
The Toffees, meanwhile, are also hoping to bounce back with a victory and could move five points clear of the relegation zone if they were to cause an upset against the Citizens.
After securing a comfortable 3-0 victory at home against Leeds United, recording 10 shots on target, Everton suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Southampton last weekend, in a game which they failed to register a single shot on target.
Second-half strikes from Stuart Armstrong and Shane Long condemned the Toffees to their 13th league defeat of the season; 12 of those have come in their last 16 games in the division.
Frank Lampard – who made 38 appearances for Man City between 2014 and 2015 – has had a mixed start to life as Everton manager, winning both games at Goodison Park but losing both away matches, and following Burnley’s surprise win against Tottenham Hotspur in midweek, he now sees his team sitting just two points above the relegation zone.
Everton face an uphill task on Saturday against a Man City outfit who they have beaten only once in their last 17 Premier League meetings, including defeat in each of their last eight in succession; only against Portsmouth (13) between 1948 and 1956 and Manchester United (nine) between 1999 and 2004 have the Toffees lost more consecutive league games in their history.
With an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Boreham Wood and then four successive league fixtures against Spurs, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Watford soon to come, Everton will need to find their form quickly if they are to resurrect what they can from a disappointing season, though success on Saturday is unlikely.
While Spurs supporters and football neutrals will have been enthralled by last weekend’s five-goal thriller at the Etihad Stadium, Man City fans were tearing their hair out after witnessing Harry Kane produce a magnificent performance against the team who were so desperate to sign him last summer.
A stoppage-time penalty kick converted by Riyad Mahrez appeared to have rescued a point for the Citizens, but Kane managed to head home a dramatic 95th-minute winner to secure all three points for the visitors and end City’s 15-game unbeaten league run.
Pep Guardiola has insisted all season that the title race is not over yet and now the battle for this year’s Premier League crown is the tightest it has been for months, with Liverpool now nipping at City heels in second place, sitting only three points behind the summit following their emphatic 6-0 win over Leeds in midweek.
Since suffering a heavy 4-0 loss in his first ever trip to Goodison Park, Guardiola has seen his City side win each of their last five away games against Everton in all competitions. The Citizens currently boast a 12-game unbeaten league run on the road, winning 10 times and drawing twice since their opening-day defeat at Spurs, and have only conceded eight goals during this period.
City will be confident of bouncing back with a victory on Saturday, as they aim to head into three successive fixtures in three different competitions – against Peterborough United (FA Cup), Manchester United (Premier League) and Sporting Lisbon (Champions League) – on a positive note.