There was a time when Everton used to enjoy their trips down the East Lancs Road.
A few months after the petrodollars flooded into what was then the City of Manchester Stadium, a striker-less side managed by David Moyes (whatever happened to him?) won 1-0 thanks to a Tim Cahill goal.
The Toffees would taste victory on their next two visits too but they’ve been winless at the Etihad since, a run currently bookended by a 5-0 thrashing on the final day of last season.
Toffees on sticky run
Throw in games at Goodison too and Everton have lost their last eight against Man City, conceding at least twice in every game.
Put frankly, this is a fixture which will fill their fans with dread – maybe the players too.
Everton, out at 19.018/1 to win the game, have taken just two points from the last 15 available and they’ve won just once since September 13 – and that came at home to a Norwich side which already looks doomed to relegation.
Encouraging early-season signs were washed away as soon as Dominic Calvert-Lewin got injured and they’ve really struggled since with his supposed stand-in Salomon Rondon not looking up to the job, so much so that he has been dropped to the bench for the last two games.
At least the last of those brought a much-needed point against Tottenham but this game will be at a whole different level and it’s hard to believe their shaky defence – which will be missing the still-injured Yerry Mina and the suspended Mason Holgate – will be able to stand up to City’s fervent attack.
City hot favourites
Pep Guardiola’s men, 1.21/5 for victory, are sure to dominate the ball – they lead the possession table while Everton sit a lowly 17th. In last season’s three games between the sides, City had at least 68% of the ball in all of them.
Barring a rather odd 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, City have been free-scoring on home soil so far this season, netting at least four goals in five of their seven games in all competitions.
A repeat here is certainly worthy of consideration at 9/4.
It definitely makes more appeal than the goal lines with over 2.5 its usual short self in a City game, just 1.511/2 this week.
So, let’s look at other potential angles.
City HT/FT is a slightly-bigger 1.664/6 and it makes sense statistically.
City have conceded just one first-half goal and Everton have scored only four before the break so there looks ample chance that the hosts do get in front before half time. They rarely let a lead slip.
However, such odds don’t make much appeal as a single, more part of a Bet Builder.
Best angle on City
The 5/4 about City winning both halves is possibly more attractive.
They’ve managed to do this three times in their current eight-match winning run against Everton, although they have landed the bet in only three of 11 Premier League games so far this season.
Preference therefore goes to the 9/4 dangled about City scoring four or more.
In the player markets – always good for those looking for chunky-odds Bet Builders – Gabriel Jesus’ goalscoring record against the Toffees is worth noting.
Jesus has eight goals in eight league appearances against them, averaging a goal every 69 minutes. The Brazilian is 11/10 to score at any time here.
City’s stars are understandably pretty short in the shots markets but maybe a couple of the Everton defenders are worth noting here.
Centre-back Michael Keane is odds-against for 1+ shot, something he’s managed in nine of 11 league games so far in 2021/22. Likely to see little of the ball, they will surely look to make the most of Keane from any set plays.
Meanwhile, Ben Godfrey is up at 9/5 in the same market. He’s had nine shots in his last six games, having at least one in four of those. However, the majority of those have come in matches he’s played at full-back – Godfrey is likely to be in the middle again here.
Cancelo too big to star again
Instead, I’ll head to the man-of-the-match market for what looks a value selection.
Firstly, it’s important to realise that this will be settled based on the WhoScored rating but that’s just fine for the selection – namely Joao Cancelo.
The in-form Portuguese has landed this prize in City’s last two games (against Man Utd and Club Brugge), across which he has landed four assists. He now has five for the season, plus two goals, factors which carry plenty of rating weight.
Nominally a full-back, Cancelo pops up in all sorts of areas and that’s reflected by the fact that he’s City’s leading shot-taker this season in the league – he has 26, putting him well above second-placed Gabriel Jesus (20).
On the defensive side, he leads the way for interceptions and it is these sort of figures which all plug into his WhoScored rating.
Across the season as a whole, Cancelo’s ranking of 7.35 is third in City’s squad behind Ilkay Gundogan (7.41) and Bernardo Silva (7.38), yet he has no fewer than 12 team-mates ahead of him in the market.
They include favourite Kevin de Bruyne, who has been ruled out having contracted COVID-19.
A price of 11/1 looks too big and should be backed.
Everton are winless in their last five Premier League games (D2 L3), with the Toffees last having a longer run without a win in the competition in January 2018 under Sam Allardyce (6).