Sunday 15th January 2017 – 13.30 – Sky Sports 1 HD

We are in store for a great Super Sunday being billed as Manchester vs Liverpool as Everton take on Man City and Manchester United host Liverpool.

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The lunchtime kick off sees 4th place take on 7th, in a game Everton will feel they have a great chance of picking up points. Everton are unbeaten in their last 3 league games wining 2 and drawing 1, an upturn in their form was needed following a very poor November. Man City have lost 3 in their last 7 games, the same amount as they had lost in their previous 24 games.

With that being said, Everton don’t have a great record against Man City in recent years, currently winless in their last 7 meetings in the league.

A huge miss for Everton will be Idrissa Gueye who is away representing Senegal at AFCON 2017. Gueye has made the most tackles in the Premier League this season and would have been invaluable against a team like Man City with boast such a talented midfield. Gueye has also completed the most passes this season for Everton and has the highest pass completion percentage of any Everton player. It could be a baptism of fire therefore for Morgan Schneiderlin, who will be set to make his debut and what a game to impress in.

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One player who Everton will look to in order to take points off City will be hitman Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku is a fantastic asset Ronald Koeman has at his disposal and when on form can be unplayable. Since Lukaku’s debut for Everton in September 2013, only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane have scored more goals in the Premier League. Lukaku is great at seizing on defensive frailties and will find the weak link in a defence and exploit it. In fact 3 of Everton’s last 5 goals against Manchester City in the League have been scored by Lukaku.

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For Man City, they know the top 4 race is as competitive as it’s been all season and the cracks in the cool demeanour of Pep Guardiola were for all to see, with his grumpy and unwarranted abrupt post-match interview following the tight victory against Burnley in City’s last league game. This is something that could rub off on the players as the walls start to close in the top 4. Going into this game, City could start in 5th place with Arsenal expected to pick up 3 points away at Swansea on Saturday.

A great 5-0 win against West Ham in the FA Cup last week however, could kick start a swagger to City’s play, similar to that at the start of the season.

City have a wealth of talent in their squad many of which are capable of winning a game with an individual piece of brilliance. Keven De Bruyne has been in great form this season, and has the most assists of any Man City player and has also created the most chances. Raheem Sterling has been much improved, directly involved in 9 of the 41 goals Man City have scored in the league so far this season. This is one more than he achieved in the whole of his first season at City, a sign of the progress he’s made.

More importantly for Man City however, is the returning Sergio Aguero who hasn’t yet had a run in the team since returning from his 4 match ban.  Aguero did however score in the last Premier League match against Burnley and again in the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham in the FA cup so he will probably see a return to the starting line up in the league. He such an important player for City, and has been ever since he joined back in 2011. In that time he has had a hand in 139 goals in 164 Premier League appearances for Manchester City.

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This match will be fantastic for the neutral as Everton look to build on recent good league form with the aim to drive a bit of space between them and West Brom who are hot on their tails, and for Man City, the way they cope with the possibility of being outside of the top 4 will all add to the interest of this game.

By Michael Thatcher

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