5 Things to Look for – Manchester City vs. Everton

WATFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Josep Guardiola, Manager of ManchesterCity gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road on May 21, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
WATFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Josep Guardiola, Manager of ManchesterCity gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road on May 21, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /
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Manchester City plays their first home match of the 2017/18 season next Monday against Everton. The last time the two clubs faced off City were the victims of a 4-0 drubbing at hands of the Toffees. The Etihad is sure to be booming as the Citizens look for revenge against Ronald Koeman’s side. Here are five things to look for during the match,

1. 3-5-2 vs. 3-4-3 vs. 4-3-3

A hot topic amongst City fans and football pundits recently have been which formation suits Guardiola’s side the best. It will be interesting to see which approach the City manager will take against a newly revamped Everton side that now features the likes of Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 3-5-2 system spells disaster for Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. Neither are stellar wingbacks and clearly, Pep prefers the pair of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up top over the young speedsters. If Pep decides to go with a 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3 then that means either Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus will be relegated to the bench which will give Guardiola the same selection headache he suffered last season.

2. Fortress: Etihad

The Etihad Stadium used to be a fortress under the tutelage of Roberto Mancini and briefly during Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure. Last season, Manchester City failed to put teams away at home and matches often ended in disappointing score draws. The first step in returning the Etihad Stadium to its former glory is to get a commanding win against Everton. City fans will recall that last season’s match against Everton at home was the start of a run of bad form for the Sky Blues. Pep Guardiola surely remembers this and will have definitely reminded his players of the missed chances and penalties that cost City the three points last year.  Both the players and the fans need to be up for it if the Etihad is to become a cauldron of fear once again for away teams.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 14: Ilkay Gundogan (C) of Manchester City receives medical treatment before being substituted due to an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Watford at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 14: Ilkay Gundogan (C) of Manchester City receives medical treatment before being substituted due to an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Watford at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

3. Gundogan’s Return

Ilkay Gundogan returned to the first team in City’s recent friendly against Girona. The idea seems to be to slowly ease the German back by giving him brief cameo appearances in matches. One thing to look out for, should he feature in the match, is where Guardiola plays ‘Silky Ilkay’. If he plays as a holding midfielder that could spell trouble for either Yaya Toure or Fernandinho as there is only one holding midfielder required in Pep’s system. The likely scenario is that Gundogan will play in one of the ‘free 8’ roles that Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have thrived in.

Related Story: Manchester predicted XI vs. Everton

4. Rotation 

Manchester City have an abundance of midfielders and while it is important to have a backup option on the bench for Pep, it will be important for Pep to keep his squad happy and the only way for that to happen is to play the players. Perhaps, Pep will rotate Sterling and Bernardo Silva, Sane with Gabriel Jesus. Whatever, Pep does he must juggle between squad happiness and winning matches.

5. The Rise of Everton

Everton in the transfer window has spent big buying Wayne Rooney, Jordan Pickford and Gylfi Sigurdsson, however, they have also lost lethal forward Romelu Lukakau to Manchester United. It is no wonder that people say that the Premier League has a top 7 instead of the usual top 3 or 4 in other leagues such as Spain and Bayern. It will certainly make the Premier League more entertaining for neutrals but for Manchester City fans it means winning the Premier League will be just that little bit harder.  Should Everton come out of the Ethiad victorious then people will know another English powerhouse is emerging, however, should they lose Manchester City will stamp their credentials as title favourites.