MANCHESTER CITY end this weekend’s Premier League action with a home clash against Everton.
Both sides have spent big in the transfer market this summer, with City splashing out upwards of £200million on the likes of Bernard Mendy, Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Bernardo Silva.
Everton, meanwhile, have also been busy. They paid £45million to bring in Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and he followed the likes of Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen, Cuco Martina, Sandro Ramirez, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane in arriving at Goodison Park.
The two clubs meet on Monday at the Etihad live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League.
The game kicks off at 8pm and our friends at Football Whispers have identified where the match could be won or lost.
Key battle: Kevin de Bruyne vs Idrissa Gueye
Kevin de Bruyne was the highest assist provider in the top flight last season with 18. Previously no Manchester City player had registered more than 15 in a single Premier League campaign, and that was David Silva in the 2011/12 season.
The Belgian didn’t tee up a goal on the opening weekend but it would be no surprise to see him get this season’s tally underway on Monday night. Much of City’s play will go through de Bruyne, and it will be key for Everton to close him down.
Luckily for Koeman’s side, they have one of the best defensive midfielders in the division in Idrissa Gueye. He made more tackles (5) than anyone else on the pitch against Stoke City last weekend.
But he isn’t just there for his defensive output, he also had the most touches (92) of any player in the match too.
Potential match winners: Aguero and Rooney
The 2016/17 season may not have been the easiest for Sergio Aguero, with Pep Guardiola benching him for key games and his future appearing in doubt after the arrival of Gabriel Jesus.
Yet, despite that, he still managed 33 goals in all competitions, proving himself to still be one of the most deadly strikers in European football.
And he got the crucial goal to break the deadlock in City’s 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion last week, where he started alongside Jesus.Everton won’t want to give the Argentine too many chances as he will put one, if not more, away.
Rooney is back at Goodison Park and is back scoring for his boyhood side.
There has been talk that Rooney was past it after falling out of favour at Manchester United and being left out of Gareth Southgate’s England plans. But Koeman believes he can prove his critics wrong at Everton.
He said after the Stoke game: “Wayne showed he is still one of the best in his position. He was very comfortable on the ball and made good decisions on the ball and scored a great goal.”
The former United captain would love to score a goal against City and make it two goals in two games for the Toffees.
Both teams set up with a back three in their first game of the season, and that’s how you would expect it to stay.
City lined-up in a 3-1-4-2 formation against Brighton and the side look even more like a team in the mould of the Catalan coach’s philosophies, which is bound to scare their rivals.
Everton played a 3-4-2-1 against Stoke with Rooney and Davy Klaassen playing off Sandro Ramirez, it’s a system they’re likely to replicate at the Etihad.
The wing-back battle could be crucial. Whichever team manages to force their opponents onto the back foot are likely to have the attacking upper hand.
How the teams are likely to be set up
Summer signing Benjamin Mendy is a doubt for the home side, so expect Danilo to continue at left wing-back.
Fabian Delph and Ilkay Gundogan have returned to training and the German got some action in a friendly against Girona in midweek. Guardiola will have to make a decision as to whether they are match fit for Premier League action.
Man City likely line-up
Kompany Stones Otamendi
Walker De Bruyne Silva Danilo
Seamus Coleman (broken leg), Yannick Bolasie (knee) and Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) are all out with long-term injuries for Everton, while James McCarthy (hamstring) is also likely to miss the game.
Wantaway Ross Barkley probably wouldn’t have played but he also has a hamstring injury. After a disrupted pre-season with Swansea, it would be a surprise if new arrival Sigurdsson is match fit.
EVERTON LIKELY LINE-UP
Keane Williams Jagielka
Martina Schneiderin Gueye Baines
Key stats heading into the game
Everton and Manchester City have faced off 182 times previously, with both teams having won 68 matches.
The Toffees haven’t lost in their last three league games against City, winning their last meeting 4-0 at Goodison Park back in January.
Rooney is one goal away from his 200th Premier League goal.
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