Manchester City will look to take a major stride towards the Premier League title when they face Everton on Saturday (12:30pm ET on CNBC and streaming via Live Extra).
Manuel Pellegrini’s side enters the match three points adrift of league leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand and an 8 goal advantage to their name. That means anything but a win will do for the Citizens, who enter the match undefeated in their last three, having drawn 2-2 with Sunderland and beaten West Brom 3-1 and Crystal Palace 2-0.
Still an outside shot to finish in the Top 4, Everton have aspirations of their own. That target became a long shot last weekend when a lackluster performance against Southampton resulted in a 2-0 loss givien Arsenal the definitive upper hand to finish fourth. But if the Gunners succumb to two draws in their final two matches, two wins by Everton would see the Toffees take the prize.
Gareth Barry is ineligible to play under the loan rules and injuries are expected to play a major part in the match. City will have David Silva available after recovering from a knee injury meaning only Jesus Navas (knee) and Matija Nastasic (knee) will be out. For Everton, Phil Jagielka is slated to return from his eight week absence due to a hamstring injury while Leighton Baines (knee) and Sylvain Distin (hamstring) could also feature. Kevin Mirallas (groin), Steven Pienaar (knee), Lacina Traore (hamstring), Bryan Oviedo (broken leg), Arouna Kone (knee) and Darron Gibson (knee) are all out.
What They’re Saying
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “As a professional group and a team we represent Everton. That means we represent every single player that has played for Everton in the past and our work for the last 10 months. You wouldn’t come in now and not give your all to finish as good as you can.”
Manchester City Manuel Pellegrini: “We like to have the pressure to be one of the teams who can win the title. At the moment the motivation is very high, now it is important that the performance also must be high.”
Something special has been going down in Merseyside this season and I don’t expect it will end without a bang. Look for Everton to get a result.