It is much better to be in a situation like Man City, who are rumored to have plotted a massive bid to sign Lionel Messi, rather than in a situation like Liverpool who’s most influential player is on the verge of leaving the club. In other words, everything is looking good for Pep Guardiola’s side, unless their opponents Everton spoil the party tonight.
Could Everton put a game plan to win a point at Etihad?
The Toffees record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to make his debut at the Etihad stadium, but even without him Everton are good enough to hold Manchester City to a draw or even to win their first away fixture for the season.
No one should be surprised if the Toffees manage to make a draw on their visit to Manchester this season. They have done that on two previous occasions. The Ronald Koeman’s side knows how to play against the Sky Blues. Lukaku, Mirallas, Davies and Lookman scored 4 goals pass City last season at Goodison Park. Despite being without Lukaku, Everton are a much better side now, compared to last season.
Manchester City started the season with new wing backs and a new goalkeeper. This is both an opportunity for them to improve their defensive record and a chance for their opponents to win some points against City in the start of the season, when the newcomers are still adapting to the new environment.
Manchester City still have a work to do?
Three days after the start of the season and their 0:2 away win against Brighton, Pep Guardiola traveled with Man City to Catalonia to play a friendly game against the newly promoted Girona FC. The Sky Blues lost this friendly fixture by 1:0. Girona scored the only goal in the game in the 14th minute, after a cross from the left flank, which found the City’s defence unprepared.
Unlike Man City, who have missed four or five opportunities to score a goal, Girona had just one more chance to find the net.
A good news for Pep Guardiola’s team is that Ilkay Gundogan was in the squad for the Girona friendly and is close to return after 8 months out through injury. The new signing Benjamin Mendy would be also available soon as he trained with the team last week. However, both are not available for the City’s home game against Everton.
Meanwhile, Man City fans should have a major confidence boost as the club is linked with a move for Lionel Messi. City have been trying to lure Messi to move to Etihad for some time. It is believed that now the club is in talks with his representatives, discussing both opportunities – to submit a bid that unlocks his release clause this August or to sign him on a free transfer next summer.
What to expect from tonight’s Man City vs Everton game?
In their visit to Falmer Stadium last week Manchester City had 70% ball possession and got 90% of their passes completed, which are impressive stats, even against a newly promoted side. In their home game against the Toffees it should be no different, in terms of ball possession. It is much more interesting, whether Everton would be able to disrupt the Man City’s passing and close the spaces for their strikers.
If they succeed, the Toffees would create a lot of issues for the Sky Blues, as they are team which is good in playing in counter attack. Wayne Rooney is capable of both distributing the ball to the flanks, shooting and scoring goals for Everton, and Man City players are well aware of the threat he possesses for them.
According to Vincent Kompany “the way Ronney recognizes he needs to get in the box – not many players could. We can all play the pass he played, even head it like he did but that timing sets him apart“. His team mate Fernandinho added “We will have to be close to Ronney and not give him any chance to think or to create any chance on goal. It’s always tough to play against a team like Everton, no matter whether it is home or away”.
If Gylfi Sigurdsson plays against Man City, we’d expect him to link up with Ronney very well, to improve the Everton’s passing and to create some chances for Toffees’ strikers.
“If we get a clean sheet on Monday I don’t know if it would be a miracle!”
However, Ronald Koeman and his Everton should worry much more than Manchester City as they need to find a way to prevent the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva from scoring. Koeman who is a close friend of Guardiola was very sympathetic to his former Barcelona team-mate’s during his first season in charge of Man City. Now he says “If we get a clean sheet on Monday I don’t know if it would be a miracle”.
Koeman has also said that Everton know that they are strong defensively but also thinks that “the key to getting a good result is also what we’re doing when we have the ball”.
It is a battle between one of the best offensive teams and a one of the defensively most organized sides in the Premier League.