Everton vs. Manchester City: 5 Key Battles to Watch
Struggling to make up a 12-point deficit on Manchester United, City will be equally intent on taking the win, knowing anything less would instantly quash their faint title hopes.
The Toffees boast an impressive record against their more wealthy adversaries, with eight wins and just a pair of defeats in the last 11 encounters.
Here's a look at five key battles that may prove decisive in Saturday's clash.
Jan Mucha vs. Manchester City's Forwards
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With Tim Howard likely to miss out, Everton will once again be forced to rely on their largely untried reserve-team goalkeeper; Jan Mucha.
Howard's injury has seen him miss Premier League minutes for the first time since 2007, and in the two games without him, his understudy has yet to show he has the attributes to succeed in top-flight football.
Mucha was rarely troubled against Reading, yet he still appeared reluctant to ever leave his line to divert crosses or command his area.
Against Wigan, while he was hardly the main culprit for Everton's dour showing, he committed himself too early for Callum McManaman's goal and should have contested the delivery for the opening strike.
All four of the goals he's conceded have come in two games where the Slovakian's hardly been tested at all; something that will almost certainly change on Saturday.
The prospect of Manchester City's illustrious forward line reeling off a barrage shots is hardly likely to install confidence among Evertonians, who will need the Slovakian to be an unlikely hero.
David Silva vs. Seamus Coleman
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In David Silva, Manchester City possess a player with the type of artistry and guile Everton crave, and he is one of the more likely men to dissect the Toffees' defence.
Moyes has always acknowledged his class, deploying first Jack Rodwell and then Phil Neville to man-mark the Spaniard in an away match a couple of years ago.
Silva most often drifts in from the left, looking to involve himself in some incisive, quick passing, meaning he should cross paths most often with Seamus Coleman.
While the Irishman can so often be a force in the final third, and will hope to capitalise on any space if Silva's slow to track back, he remains inconsistent in the final third, as was highlighted against Wigan.
Shaun Maloney gave him a torrid afternoon in his last game, and Silva will be keen to exploit any lingering insecurities to his advantage.
Leighton Baines vs. James Milner
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Leighton Baines remains Everton's most likely source of production, arriving late on the left to deliver high-quality deliveries into the box.
To counter this, it would make sense for Roberto Mancini to deploy the industrious James Milner on the right flank, to keep tabs on his England colleague and suppress his influence.
If Milner can do this, Everton will be greatly handicapped in the final third and will have to rely on set pieces as their main route to goal.
Having created 90 chances in 28 games this season, the most in the Premier League, Baines' overall creation has actually slowed of late, with just a single chance made in both of his previous games.
Milner has the credentials to keep Baines similarly quiet, and it should be an intriguing, competitive battle between these two England men.
Sylvain Distin vs. Carlos Tevez
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As a former employee of Manchester City, Sylvain Distin will be especially keen on producing his best form on Saturday, yet he may be tested more than in any other game this season.
Firstly, he's coming off one of his least convincing displays in months, against Wigan, where he was as disappointing as he's ever been for the Toffees. Secondly, he won't be paired with Phil Jagielka, who's been Everton's best defender this season, but with John Heitinga, who's continually struggled.
Combining those two aspects with the fact he's likely to face Carlos Tevez, one of the best strikers to have played the Toffees this season, the magnitude of his task becomes clearer.
Tevez is coming off a hat-trick against Barnsley in the FA Cup and has six goals in City's last four games, just one less than Nikica Jelavic has scored all season.
Without Jagielka's leadership, Everton must rely on Distin to put in a commanding display, keeping the back four organised while keeping a close eye on Tevez.
Marouane Fellaini vs. Yaya Toure
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UPDATE: Toure has been ruled out for Man City due to illness.
The final battle sees a clash between both side's most influential performers, Marouane Fellaini and Yaya Toure, who have the potential to single-handedly drag their side to victory.
Without being as consistent as last season, Toure's still been integral to so much of City's best work, and it will be interesting to see what role Mancini gives him against Everton.
Fellaini's imperious start to the season has stuttered in recent weeks, no more so than against Wigan, and Evertonians will be expecting a response from their Belgian international.
In the 1-1 draw earlier in the season, it was Fellaini who emerged on top, scoring the opening goal and generally being a nuisance to City throughout the game. Toure finished the match losing 78% of his ground duels and resorted to fouling the Belgian on a number of occasions.
If one of these two takes to the stage and excels on Saturday, it's likely to be pivotal to the eventual result.