The first of three remaining objectives in Manchester City’s title mission sees Manuel Pellegrini’s side travel to Goodison Park on Saturday, where victory over Everton will see them take a giant step closer to the Premier League crown.
With home matches against Aston Villa and West Ham to come following their trip to Merseyside, Manchester City will be red-hot favourites to lift the league trophy on May 11 if they can find a way past the Toffees.
However, Everton’s home form against their surrounding sides at the top of the table has been formidable this season, and City will need to be at their best to take all three points away from Roberto Martinez’s Champions League-hunting side.
Venue: Goodison Park
Date: Saturday, May 3
Time: 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports 1/Fox Sports 2
Everton Not Looking to Spoil Liverpool’s Chances
If Manchester City fail to come away from Goodison Park with a victory on Saturday, this dramatic title race will take yet another twist and fall back into the hands of Everton’s bitter rivals, Liverpool.
However, Toffees manager Martinez has reinforced that his side aren’t looking to do favours for any teams this weekend, as BBC Sport reported:
Helping other teams is not the way we do things. We focus on trying to win for ourselves. It is going to be a phenomenal test and we want to finish really strong at home. I always felt the relationship between the two clubs [Everton and Liverpool] in the city has had incredible chapters and this would be another fascinating chapter. There is no doubt of our integrity—we want to win every game we go into. We are looking at ourselves because these are precious points. We can't afford not to give everything we have.
Everton are four points behind fourth-place Arsenal heading into their remaining two fixtures, knowing that a defeat to Manchester City will see their chances of Champions League qualification slip away.
Victory or a draw, though, and Liverpool will once again be in the driving seat for the title, which would undoubtedly leave Everton fans with a bitter taste to endure.
Following the Reds’ 2-0 loss at home to Chelsea that saw them loosen their grip on the Premier League trophy, Everton players showed just how little support they had for their neighbours via Twitter:
Mourinho master class ✌️— Ross Barkley (@RBarkley20) April 27, 2014
Get innnnnnnn!!!!!!— R.Lukaku Bolingoli (@RomeluLukaku9) April 27, 2014
It’d be unthinkable to see Everton simply lying down to gift Manchester City the title advantage, but who do you think their fans would rather see lift the Premier League trophy?
Luckily for Liverpool fans, Everton happen to have one of the most professional managers in the business at the helm, who strives for nothing more than victories every time his side take to the field.
With City’s star men Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero returning to full fitness, though, another Martinez masterstroke is certainly needed or the title could well be heading to the Etihad.
City are no strangers to winning titles in the dying embers of a season, but anything other than a victory at Goodison Park would see one dramatically slip from their grasp. The drama goes on…
Key Stats and Prediction
Everton have lost just two of their last 27 Premier League matches at Goodison Park heading into Saturday's clash.
The Toffees haven’t lost a single league clash against the current top eight at home this season, winning six and drawing two.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have failed to record an away victory against other members of the top four in the current campaign, losing two and drawing one.
Pellegrini’s side have lost just two of their last 24 Premier League matches, falling to Liverpool and Chelsea.
When the teams met in the reverse fixture back in October, City came from 1-0 down to win 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Romelu Lukaku put the Toffees in the lead, only for strikes form Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero before a Tim Howard own goal gave the hosts all three points.
Everton have won their last four home matches against Manchester City in all competitions, with City’s last win at Goodison coming back in April 2009.
Martinez’s side have scored at least two goals in eight of the last nine home matches in the Premier League, while City have scored two or more goals in eight of their last 10 away games.
The fact that Goodison Park has been somewhat of a fortress for Everton this season will work in their favour, but as the final day of the 2011/12 season showed us, there’s no outfit more dangerous than a title-chasing Manchester City, who, with the help of their big names, are looking like they'll emerge victorious.
Everton 1-3 Manchester City