Despite having a brilliant start to their 23/24 Premier League campaign, reigning champions Manchester City have hit a rough patch recently. Meanwhile, Everton began their league season abysmally and, as a result, still struggled.
Pep Guardiola’s elegant treble-winning Manchester City side were quite busy over the summer transfer window as they would indeed be looking to replicate last season’s exploits best or at least. Departures from the English and European champions include promising young English talent Cole Palmer to Chelsea and Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte to Saudi club sides Al-Ahli and Al-Nassr respectively. Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo secured a loan move to FC Barcelona with German midfield engine room Ilkay Gundongan also joining the Catalan side on a free transfer.
The Citizens acquired the services of new talents, bringing in Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea as a replacement for Gundongan, Matheus Nunes from Wolverhampton Wanderers, Josko Gvardiol from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, young and exciting Belgian winger Jeremy Doku from Stade Rennes.
Everton had some notable names exit the club over the summer with the likes of Moise Kean leaving for Serie A giants Juventus, Nigerian midfielder Alex Iwobi joining Fulham, and Demarai Gray crossing continents to join Al-Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia. Neal Maupay and Mason Holgate sealed loan moves away to Brentford and Southampton, respectively. At the same time, Tom Davies, Asmir Begovic, and Yerry Mina departed for Sheffield United, QPR, and Fiorentina respectively on free transfers.
The Toffees also added some new names to bolster their ranks, signing Beto from Italian club side Udinese Calcio, Chermiti from Sporting CP, Arnaut Danjuma on loan from Villarreal, and Ashley Young and Jack Harrison from Aston Villa and Leeds United respectively on free transfers.
Manchester City were touted as favorites to win the English Premier League this season. They justified that confidence early on in the season by winning their first six Premier League matches. The Citizens’ first stumble this season came against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in a 2-1 loss. City defender Ruben Dias scored an own goal early in the first half to put Wolves ahead before World Cup winner Julian Alvarez leveled matters in the 58th minute. Hwang Hee-chan eventually scored the winner for Wolves in the 66th minute. The Citizens went on to suffer back-to-back defeats after narrowly losing out to Arsenal at The Emirates, with Brazilian winger Gabriel Martinelli scoring the game’s only goal in the 86th minute.
Manchester City’s recent form has been below par, judging by their lofty standards. Pep Guardiola’s City have managed just one win in their last five Premier League matches and are winless in four consecutive Premier League games, recording three draws and one loss. These three draws have come against teams from the traditional top six in the Premier League. A 4-4 thriller against struggling big boys Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was followed by a 1-1 stalemate with Liverpool at the Etihad, and then another Etihad thriller saw the Citizens play out a 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Aston Villa are the latest team to benefit from Manchester City’s poor form after inflicting yet another 1-0 loss on the reigning champions at Villa Park.
Everton on the other hand, did not get the start they would have been hoping for, as they were only able to manage four wins and one draw while suffering six defeats in the opening ten Premier League matches. In this period, The Toffees fell short against the likes of Fulham, Aston Villa, who inflicted their heaviest loss of the season so far, Wolves, Arsenal, fellow strugglers Luton Town, and Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who managed a 2-2 draw away against Sheffield United at Elland Road and triumphed against Brentford, Bournemouth and West Ham United.
The Toffees’ recent form has been decent, given the kind of start to the season they have endured. Sean Dyche’s men have managed three wins in their five Premier League matches, losing one and drawing another. A 1-1 stalemate at Goodison Park with Brighton and Hove Albion was followed by a five-goal thriller against Crystal Palace with the Toffees coming out on top of that game with a 3-2 result. They were set back with a 3-0 defeat against Manchester United, but Everton bounced back with back-to-back victories against Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United, respectively. The latter being a very impressive 3-0 win against an extreme Newcastle United side.
At the time of writing, Manchester City sits in 4th place on the Premier League table with 30 points from fifteen games, four points off table toppers Arsenal, while Everton, after suffering a ten-point deduction for breach of financial fair play rules, is languishing in 17th place with 10 points from fifteen games. The Toffees, one point above Luton Town, sit in the relegation zone alongside Burnley and Sheffield United.
Manchester City will be looking to dominate this game, as is the case with virtually all the games they play in the build-up from the back, dominate the middle of the park, and cause problem after problem in the opponent’s defensive third. Everton will be looking to defend doggedly and catch Manchester City cold on the counterattack or from set-piece situations.
Head-to-head stats show that Manchester City and Everton have played 39 Premier League matches, with the Citizens winning 20 of those (scoring 59 goals) and the Toffees winning 12 (scoring 39 goals) and 7 draws.
The epic match at Etihad Stadium in Manchester kicks off on Saturday, 10th February 2024, at 3 PM UK time.
The magnificent 53,400-capacity stadium is the place to be for this clash between the champions and a side fighting for survival.
Getting tickets for the Manchester City vs Everton tickets could take a lot of work, given the standard of this game. Hence, you are advised to search ticket reselling sites should they be expectedly sold out on each club’s channels.
Manchester City adopted the positional style of play, looking to create numerical advantages in passing triangles or diamonds, hoping to progress through the thirds.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Gvardiol, Rodri, Akanji, Foden, Alvarez, Silva, Doku, Haaland
Everton adopt a more direct pattern of play, launching long balls forward from their goalkeeper into their center-forward and hoping to progress quickly into dangerous positions in the opposition box from such situations.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Tarkowski, Braithwaite, Mykolenko, Doucoure, Gueye, Young, Harrison, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin
Manchester City remains unbeaten at the Etihad so far this season. It has become more like a fortress for the reigning champions, so it will be arduous for Everton to get any sort of result from this game.
Manchester City 2-1 Everton