Manchester City welcome Everton to the Etihad Stadium as they look to bounce back after a setback in their last couple of matches where they drew against Celtic and lost against Tottenham Hotspur thus bringing their dreamlike run to a screeching halt.
In a similar manner, Everton have also suffered minor setbacks in their last two games, suffering a shock 1-0 reverse against Bournemouth before a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace. Before the 1st and the 5th placed teams take the pitch to fight it out over the 90 minutes we take a look at three key battles between the players which will have a bearing on the final outcome of the match.
ROMELU LUKAKU VS JOHN STONES
The big Belgian will in all likeliness be available to face City tomorrow and like in previous encounters between the two, he will be a crucial factor if Everton are to nick points off the home team.
The battle will not be restricted to Stones attempting to deny Lukaku goal scoring opportunities but the manner in which the Everton striker closes down Stones and the other City defenders as they try to play out of the back will play an important part in the outcome. Koeman would have noticed the obvious areas where City found it difficult to get into their rhythm and we can expect the Toffees to defend from the front.
SERGIO AGUERO VS ASHLEY WILLIAMS
The Argentine has been in sublime form this season which has been a slight surprise given his toils for his national team. But City fans will not be complaining a bit with this Jekyll and Hyde personality of their star striker.
Aguero has already scored 11 goals for his club this season and more will be expected of him tomorrow. But he will be faced with Ashley Williams. The defender’s robust approach has the potential to knock the striker of his comfort zone and the tussle between the two will be interesting to watch.
FERNANDINHO VS ROSS BARKLEY
The English prodigy hasn’t yet been able to fulfil his potential but his sporadic displays over the seasons have nonetheless contributed to a fair share of important points for the Toffees.
He has traditionally been good against City and will look for another sparkling performance on Saturday. He will spend most of the time on the pitch in and around City’s most consistent player this season, Fernandinho, and both the midfielders will be looking to nullify the other’s threat. The Brazilian is an important part of City’s build-up play and if Barkley can execute his role, then City will be in for another difficult afternoon.