In the case of Everton, a strong start to the season had pundits and fans talking about another gatecrashing of the top four places. But after exiting the FA Cup in embarrassing fashion to Wigan last weekend, which eliminated their likeliest hopes for a first trophy in recent years, Everton are now, for the first time this season, below Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the league table.
As for Manchester City, last year’s title winners are still cruising in second place, five points ahead of nearest challenger Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand. But City are also 12 points behind rivals Manchester United in one of the strangest and least dramatic title races in many a season.
So from any neutral’s perspective, these would otherwise be classed as successful seasons for both clubs. But from their own point of view, perhaps “underachieving” could be considered their most apt description, which makes Saturday’s match an interesting one to watch.
Now here are five individual battles that we’re looking forward to watching at Goodison Park. Enjoy and let us know your best picks.