Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Everton

1 Comment
  • Evenly split all-time in top flight: 61W-40D-61L
  • City swept last season’s series
  • Everton last won at Etihad in Dec. 2010

WATCH LIVE ON NBC AT 12:30PM ET SATURDAY AND ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

The “festive season” of Premier League matches seems to include a load of litmus tests this year. From Southampton/Arsenal to Tottenham/Everton, we’ve already seen a handful of teams put their form to the test in attempts to assert themselves as championship-contenders.

This weekend is no different, though Manchester City’s quest to catch Chelsea has seen improving odds while Saturday’s opponents are in an awful spot.

Each time the Toffees seem to pull themselves together, there’s a drop-off. Crush Burnley? Consecutive draws against Swans and Sunderland. Take care of hot West Ham? Lose to Spurs and draw Hull.

[ MORE: Premier League weekend preview | Newcastle hosts Chelsea ]

Now comes City, takers of 10 of 12 points and looking better seemingly every week. Can Everton get the job done at the Etihad Stadium, or just assure themselves that the middle of the table is far more realistic than the top?

What they’re saying

Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta on the task at hand – “Everton use their full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines to great effect. They get forward often and can either provide great crosses or are capable of scoring themselves so that is an area we will have to defend well on Saturday. Having said that, they have threats all over the pitch and plenty of experience with players like Samuel Eto’o, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka as well.”

Everton boss Roberto Martinez on Sergio Aguero – “”Sergio is a phenomenal talent and is one of those players who can single-handedly win you the game.  We’ll have to be very, very aware of that on Saturday because I think City are now playing the best football of this campaign. They have a real good feeling about themselves since their win against Bayern Munich. You saw a real change in the confidence of their group and since that day, they have played with a real flair and swagger.”

Prediction

With Ross Barkley back, this could come down to three H’s: Howard, Hart and home field. While Everton has the goalkeeper to achieve their mission for three points, the Etihad is a tricky place to play and could be the X factor. Man City, 2-1.