The Cityzens take on Everton in their first home game of the season on Monday.
Both Blues have spent a lot during this transfer market, and Everton are looking for a finish amongst the top 6 if not a Europa League place this season.
Manchester City beat Brighton and Hove Albion by two goals to nil, with Sergio Aguero getting on the score sheet. City dominated possession (stats attribute a staggering 80% to them) and were calm on the ball. They controlled the midfield, creating occasional chances, before Aguero finally broke the deadlock.
Everton edged past Stoke in their previous game, with returning boyhood hero Wayne Rooney heading the ball into the net from six yards away off a Calvert-Lewin cross.
Everton and Manchester City have played each other 182 times in the past, with each taking away 68 a-piece. Everton though, are now on a three game unbeaten run against the Blues, with their latest 4-0 victory being the worst Guardiola has ever faced.
Wayne Rooney is also one away from his 200th Premier League goal.
Both teams play the 3-1-4-2 system, which found Chelsea success during last season. City have the upper hand, with the above being Pep’s favourite formation and the te
am looking dangerously good deploying the Guardiolian philosophy.
With most positions cancelling out each other, the wing-backs are going to play a crucial role in the manner in which the game is going to turn out. City will look to exploit the width with pacey Kyle Walker whipping in crosses, whereas a more experienced Leighton Baines takes the role for Everton.
Walker looks at home after his impressive debut for City. On the left, Benjamin Mendy might get a go ahead of Danilo, who looked a bit rusty on the pitch.
While City’s went big on defenders, Everton spent money on all positions on the pitch. Jordan Pickford gave us proof as to why he commanded a €25m move from Sunderland. Michael Keane had an excellent game against Stoke, cutting out though balls into the center and using his height and strength to dominate the air.
Davy Klassen played his part in Everton’s victory, but failed to produce a spark. With Schneiderlin to support the defence, the Dutchman can be the difference should he retain his composure on the ball and pick out the right pass.
Gueye will play an integral part of Everton’s defence if they are to have any chance at winning the game. Pitted against Kevin De Bryne, he will have to come out on top. De Bryne bagged the most assists last season (18) and most of City’s play goes through the Belgian. Although the Belgian did not open his assists, there is no reason for him to get his tally underway Monday night.
Manchester City’s midfield is easily one of the best in the Premier League. Players such as David Silva and Kevin De Bryne can control the pace of the game and dictate City’s moves as they attack. Fernandinho sits right infront of the back three, charging in at the attacker. He is an excellent reader of the ball, and the Brazilian makes vital interceptions during the course of the game.
Everton have a lot of talent on the attacking front, and with enough strikers, Koemann will have a tough time choosing his starting eleven. The signing of Iceland international Gylfi Siggurdson gives him options up ahead, while want away James Barkley might be left out of the squad.
During the previous season, Aguero looked like his time was up at the Etihad, with Pep benching him for most important games and playing Jesus ahead. Despite that, he managed to bag 33 goals, proving to be one of the deadliest strikers in European football.
He ended up being the key player last match as well, opening the scoring at the Amex stadium. Everton would have to keep a close eye on him and not give him too many chances, for he would definitely put one away, if not many.
On the other hand, the former United captain would like to make it two goals in two games for the Toffees. Played deeper right behind the striker Sandro Ramirez, Rooney can influence play right from midfield and create chances for the Spaniard, occasionally popping one in himself.
Both teams have match winners in “Kun’ and Rooney, and their influence on the game may swing the result one way or another.
Having said that, Manchester City are favourites going into this game, playing in their home ground. They simply enjoy superior quality in almost all positions on the field. If Pep’s tactics fall into place, City might as well decimate Everton during their first away game of the season.
Predicted Score line: Manchester City 3-1 Everton