Manchester City take the short trip along the M62 to face Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday with both teams desperate for points for very different reasons. While three points for City will edge the blues even closer to a third successive title, Everton will move away from the relegation zone with a victory.
The blues have had the upper hand on the Toffees in recent years, but with Everton fighting for their Premier League survival, Sunday’s match will be a huge test of City’s credentials. Here, we take an in-depth look at the Toffees’ form, key players and the man tasked with keeping the Mersey Blues in the top flight.
Everton pulled off a stunning 5-1 win at Brighton in midweek to dent the Seagull’s chances of qualifying for Europe. The Toffees were 3-0 up by half-time as manager Sean Dyche got his tactics spot-on.
However, that was only Everton’s fourth win in 18 games since a dismal start to the year, a run that has seen them lose 10 and draw five. At home, Everton have the third-worst record in the Premier League, winning five and losing nine. They have scored just 15 goals at home this season, the joint-worst alongside Southampton and conceded 24.
At home in 2023, Everton have scored 8 and conceded 14. They have failed to score only once during that run, which was a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa and haven’t scored more than one goal at home since beating Crystal Palace 3-0 in October, which is the only time this season they have scored more than once at home.
Dwight McNeil is Everton’s top scorer with seven goals this season. The Rochdale-born former Burnley winger has had 26 shots on target from 36 matches and averages a goal every 338 minutes. He has a shot accuracy of 58% and a conversion rate of 27%. McNeil scored a brace during the 5-1 win over Brighton, so that should rule him out of the scoring on Sunday.
Former Leicester star Demarai Gray has six goals from 33 matches and, with 39, he has attempted the most shots in the Everton side. However, his goal conversion rate is just 15%, which is low from 33 games, but not as low as Alex Iwobi. The former Arsenal star has played 38 matches for the Toffees this season, has had the second-highest number of shots in the team (28), but has only converted two of those, giving him a goal conversion rate of just 7%. Since it’s City he’s facing at the weekend, are we looking at a hat trick for the Nigerian star?
Despite Iwobi’s lack of goals, the midfielder has been Everton’s main supplier. Iwobi has created 58 chances for his teammates, the highest throughout the side, with eight of those being converted. He has attempted 1410 passes, the second highest in the side with 1116 being successful. From 38 matches, he has a pass accuracy of 79%.
McNeil is also doing more than his fair share to keep the Toffees in the Premier League. He has created 40 chances, three of which have been converted. One consistent name in the Everton side is Conor Coady and, if he plays, City will have to be wary of him. The England defender, currently on a season-long loan from Wolves, has created three chances, one of which has been converted and, with 85%, has the highest pass accuracy of the Everton side.
However, the defender could be trouble in front of goal too. He’s had four shots, scored two goals and has a shot accuracy of 100%. His last goal was an FA Cup consolation in the third round against the Stretford Rangers, while his last Premier League goal was a 2-1 victory at Southampton on 1st October. He’s certainly one for Ederson to look out for.
Who’s the Boss?
Former Burnley boss Sean Dyche is the man tasked with saving Everton’s top-flight status. Dyche spent ten years at Turf Moor before leaving the Clarets last season. He joined Everton In January after Frank Lampard was sacked and has overseen 15 matches with the Toffees. His current record is won four, lost six and drawn five, giving him a win ratio of 27%.