Manchester City, fresh from their FIFA Club World Cup win, is gearing up to face Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park. Despite their recent global success, City has slipped behind Arsenal, Liverpool, and Aston Villa in the league standings since their return from Saudi Arabia.
Under Pep Guardiola, City clinched the Club World Cup title by defeating Urawa Red Diamonds 3-0 in the semis and securing a 4-0 victory against Fluminense in the final. Julián Álvarez and Phil Foden scored for City, marking Guardiola’s fourth win in this tournament across his managerial stints with different clubs.
The Club World Cup offered a break from City’s inconsistent league form, having won only one of their last six Premier League matches (D4 L1). Despite a narrow win against Luton Town, they’ve struggled against top-tier opponents like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, culminating in a recent loss to Aston Villa. This form slump is the team’s worst since 2016.
Their draw against Crystal Palace, where Michael Olise’s late penalty salvaged a point for Palace, was part of this challenging spell. Jack Grealish’s three goals in as many league games have been a positive highlight for City amidst their struggles.
Erling Haaland’s absence due to injury during this period has affected City’s attacking prowess. His return, along with other sidelined players like Jérémy Doku and Kevin De Bruyne, remains uncertain, adding to Guardiola’s concerns. Additionally, there are fitness worries about Rodri after an injury in the Fluminense game.
Tottenham’s recent win pushed them ahead of City in the league standings. Everton, on the other hand, saw their four-game winning streak halted by Tottenham, leaving them still above the relegation zone despite a 10-point deduction.
Everton’s lineup might see the return of key players like Abdoulaye Doucouré, Ashley Young, and Seamus Coleman, providing a potential boost. However, they face a dilemma upfront with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal drought, possibly prompting Dyche to consider other options like Beto, who scored against Newcastle earlier in the month.
Everton, under Dyche’s recent guidance, appeared to improve, but their track record against Man City in the Premier League hasn’t been promising. They’ve won only one of their last 20 games against City and haven’t won in their last 12 encounters. City has also had a strong record in away games against Everton, winning their last six matches and showing better performance compared to their previous visits.
City dominated their last fixture against Everton, winning 3-0, with Dyche struggling against Guardiola, losing 12 out of 13 Premier League encounters. However, Dyche has a history of occasional success against reigning champions, winning four out of 15 games, including victories against big teams like Man City, Leicester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
Guardiola’s team tends to pick up momentum in the new year but has been showing defensive vulnerabilities in recent matches, conceding in their last seven Premier League games. Everton, on the other hand, has shown strength at home, winning their last two games at Goodison Park and having a good record when Doucouré, if fit, has scored. He’s been instrumental in Everton’s victories at home this season.