After last Saturday’s win against Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester City host Everton on Monday night in what will be the Blues’ first home fixture of the season.
City played three at the back at the Amex Stadium and it looks likely that Pep Guardiola will once again use the tactic when Ronald Koeman’s team come to visit.
The Toffees will be looking to replicate last season, in which they took four points from a possible six against City, though their draw at the Etihad was undoubtedly lucky.
City missed a whole host of chances, including two penalties, but could only muster a 1-1 draw thanks to Nolito’s equaliser. On another day, City could have won that game by four or five goals to nil. The tactics used? Three at the back. Another reason why I expect Guardiola to leave his system unchanged for Monday night’s fixture.
Kyle Walker missed City’s friendly against Girona for personal reasons. Guardiola later explained that the true reason was because his wife was heavily pregnant so ‘he stayed here for the beautiful moment.’ City fans will be delighted to hear that he is now once again available for selection.
Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling were both named on the bench against Brighton and I expect more of the same if Guardiola does indeed choose to stick with three at the back. Both played the full ninety minutes against Girona.
Ilkay Gündogan made his long-awaited return from injury as a substitute against Girona on Tuesday, but Guardiola said that he is unlikely to be risked against Everton.
Benjamin Mendy has been building quite the reputation with his off-the-pitch antics, but Blues hoping to see him play will have to wait a little bit longer. He’s almost ready, but not 100%, according to Pep.
So with all that in mind, I’m going for an unchanged team.
I’m not sure Pep has ever actually done that during his time in Manchester, but for me, the team picks itself with the exceptions of Sterling and Sané. As much as I want them to play, I can’t see any room for them in this system from the start. Bernardo Silva will also be hoping for a start, but I expect Pep to stick with David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in the middle.
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