On Saturday, Everton welcome Manchester City to Goodison Park in their 7th league game of the season. Following the massively disappointing back-to-back league defeats to Bournemouth and Sheffield United, Everton face an uphill task in trying to gain points against the Premier League Champions. Make sure to check out Toffee TV for more match previews and Everton news:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26byUqHqxac&t=1741s

Last weekend against Sheffield United saw Everton suffer an awful 2-0 loss at home, with the absent creativity and movement leading to another disappointing result. Yet again, Everton struggled to break down the low-block of the defensive opposition, and relied on crosses in to the box in order to create opportunities. On the ball centrally, Everton were far too slow, with no imagination, tempo nor drive from the midfield. When in possession, the players off the ball, there was nowhere near enough movement, with Everton players not creating angles for others nor making runs.

Despite the recent league defeats, Everton were victorious on Tuesday against Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup. Three changes to the starting line-up were made, with Sidibe, Davies, and Calvert-Lewin starting, as well as Iwobi playing centrally. The dynamism of Iwobi and Davies, along with the creativity of Sidibe really paid off for Marco Silva’s side. Following Calvert-Lewin’s early brace, Everton managed to hold out for a much-welcome 2-0 win.

However, Everton face a far more difficult challenge this weekend against Man City. City are currently in second place in the league, with 4 wins, 1 draw, and 1 very unexpected defeat to Norwich. After their 8-0 demolition of Watford, they’re currently averaging scoring 4 goals per game in the league. Because of this, it’s likely that Silva will favour a defensive setup with the possibility of Delph and Schneiderlin both starting again. This wasn’t the right combination for the Sheffield United game, but would be more suitable for Saturday.

City’s offensive play and controlling possession may suit Everton more than previous opponents style of play. Silva’s side struggle to break down heavily defensive sides, but the space available for Everton to counter-attack in to, may be a benefit.

Everton have mixed results in the last five occurrences of this fixture (at home in the league against City), with Everton losing 2-0 last season, 3-1 the year before, winning 4-0 in the 2016/17 season, losing 2-0 the year before, and drawing 1-1 in the 2014/15 season.

How should Everton line up?

Score prediction: Everton 0-2 Man City

The pace and trickery of Raheem Sterling will be a worry against either the struggling Seamus Coleman or the inexperienced Djibril Sidibe. Everton will have to stay switched on defensively, and use the pace of Iwobi and Richarlison to attack the space left by City’s attacking full-backs. The physicality of Calvert-Lewin may also be useful against the likely centre-back partnership of Otamendi and Fernandinho. It’s probable that Everton will lose but don’t be surprised if the performance is better than expected, and the score-line smaller than anticipated.

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BILLY MINSHALL