After a successful Premier League debut against Brighton, Manchester City play their first match at the Etihad this season when they welcome Everton for a big Monday night game.
These two teams will definitely finish in the Top 7 this season, and even though Everton don’t look strong enough to win the Premier League, the Toffees can definitely challenge for a Champions League place. Ronald Koeman is a great manager, the transfer window was busy and successful, and the team has huge threats all over the pitch.
Pep Guardiola suffered the worst loss of his managerial career at Goodison Park last January, and he’s certainly not exactly looking forward to facing Everton again. But this will be a very good test for Pep’s men, especially the new signings, and we should expect a great game.
Let’s take a look at how the two teams are likely to line up on Monday:
The Blues will probably be unchanged from the team that beat Brighton last Saturday. Guardiola seems to favor the 3-1-4-2 (or 5-3-2 without the ball) as his default formation for the start of the season, and with no midweek matches in August he’ll likely stick with the same setup for the next few matches.
In terms of personnel, there’s very little doubt too. Without a fourth center-back in the team, John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi will start at the back, with Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in the center of midfield with Kyle Walker at right wing-back; up front, Sergio Agüero and Gabriel will lead the attack.
The only real question is who starts at left wing-back: Danilo was the choice against Brighton and is a more solid defensive option, but since City will play at home the job might go to Leroy Sané, who offers pace and runs in behind that could hurt Everton’s backline.
Pep could bring us a surprise, especially against another smart tactician like Koeman, but given the success of the new formation Guardiola will probably keep things as they are.
Predicted XI: Éderson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, Silva, Danilo; Agüero, G.Jesus
Bitter and Blue XI: Éderson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, Silva, Danilo; Agüero, G.Jesus
Ronald Koeman loves to come up with some different lineups for the big matches, and we’ll probably see a few changes on Monday. New signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is available to play but will probably be on the bench ready to come on in the second half.
In terms of the starting lineup, Jordan Pickford will be in goal, with Michael Keane and Ashley Williams in front of him; Cuco Martina and Leighton Baines will be the full-backs, with a dynamic midfield three of Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies looking to stop David Silva and De Bruyne’s creativity.
The attack will be filled with new signings: Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaasen will likely start as two number 10s be looking to provide chances for Sandro Ramírez, although Kevin Mirallas is also in contention to start.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies; Rooney, Klaassen; Sandro
Man City: Éderson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, Silva, Sané; Agüero, G.Jesus
Everton: Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies; Rooney, Calvert-Lewin