Manchester City can lay down an early marker in the Premier League with a win over Everton on Monday night.
Improving on last season’s results in equivalent fixtures will be one of Pep Guardiola’s main priorities as he looks to follow up on a trophyless debut season in England with a more successful second year, and one of the best examples of points dropped was City’s home draw against Everton a year ago.
It was a match completely dominated by the home side and saw Maarten Stekelenburg save two penalties, yet still City had to come from behind after Romelu Lukaku put the visitors ahead on 64 minutes. Nolito proved to be the hero that day, equalising in the 74th minute, but after 27 shots on goal, it was a frustrating afternoon for Pep’s men.
There is still an element of wastefulness in City’s attacking play, as we saw against Brighton, with Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus missing big chances before Kun finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute.
Everton should provide an even tougher threat, so taking our chances will be crucial to improving on last year’s home draw. Everton have been reinforced by the arrival of club record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, one of several new acquisitions in an expensive summer for the Toffees. Another is a man who almost joined City some years ago, Wayne Rooney, one of the most detested figures in recent times among the City fan base.
Monday’s visitors also began their competitive fixtures earlier than City by entering the Europa League qualifiers in July, beating Ružomberok of Slovakia on the same day City walloped Real Madrid in a friendly over in the US.
Everton want to go one better than the Europa League this season by finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League, and beating Manchester City away would be a huge scalp for them so early in the season.
888sport rate City’s chances and have them as heavy favourites at 8/25, with Everton a fairly generous 17/2 to pull off an upset. A repeat of last year’s outcome is 9/2.
So, can City right one of last season’s wrongs and overcome an Everton side that has been overhauled this summer by Ronald Koeman? It’d be an early step towards improving on last year’s campaign, but the Toffees have lofty ambitions of their own. A win in our first home game of the season would also give the fans hope for a great season ahead.