Can the Toffees get something in this Premier League clash?
The Premier League title race is on. Liverpool’s slip-up at West Ham United means a Manchester City win at Everton will see the Ciyzens go top of the pile for the first time since 4th December.
The Toffees haven’t been in great nick of late. But Pep Guardiola’s men don’t always fare well on Merseyside. Here’s three ways Marco Silva’s men can outrun their 9/1 odds and put the Goodison cat among the City pigeons.
Capitalise on how City concede goals
City’s defence is hard to breach. They boast the Premier League’s second-best defensive record and have kept six clean sheets in nine matches in all competitions since the turn of the year.
When they do concede, it tends to follow a familiar pattern. Laurent Koscielny’s goal at the weekend came from a corner. Salomon Rondon’s equaliser for Newcastle United a week ago was a result of a ball pumped into the box.
Look further back and Roberto Firmino, Marc Albrighton and Ricardo Pereira have all scored against the Sky Blues since Boxing Day. The trio’s goals all originated from phase one or two of a set-piece, corner or aerial threat. Try something basic like putting it in the mixer and City’s more cultured approach isn’t as effective at dealing with it.
Use width and pack the midfield
Everton have enough players to be able to capitalise on Guardiola’s flagrancy when it comes to defending width. Bernard and Ademola Lookman developed a solid understanding in the Toffees’ victory over AFC Bournemouth last month. They’re the men to turn to out wide here.
The Toffees also boast plenty of ability at full-back. Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines and Lucas Digne are all brilliant crossers of the ball and will need to be at their best if the hosts want to utilise any set-pieces they may have.
Prioritising width on the wings and at full-back will require Silva to be much tighter in midfield. That may mean sacrificing some of his attacking principles and dropping Gylfi Sigurdsson. Going toe-to-toe with City over who can play the best football is admirable, but ultimately unadvisable. Being tight and disciplined in a flat midfield three with wingers on either side is the way to go.
One goal in eight Premier League matches for Richarlison is hardly scintillating form. The Brazilian also has a habit of going missing against the big sides. Strong and physical works against City – see Rondon for Newcastle – but the Toffees can’t afford to be carrying passengers here.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the obvious solution. Not only does the youngster have the height required to trouble City at 6ft 2in, he also has the energy and movement needed to go it alone in an isolated forward role. Cenk Tosun does not.
It’s also worth bearing in mind Calvert-Lewin has netted against City, Arsenal and Chelsea in his fledgling career, including at the Etihad Stadium earlier this year. The 21-year-old is 7/2 to Score Anytime or 12/1 to Score First.
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