Manchester City vs. Everton: Full Preview and Line-up Prediction for Citizens

Phil KeidelContributor IIMay 2, 2014

CIty have experienced plenty of indigestion at Goodison Park.
CIty have experienced plenty of indigestion at Goodison Park.Jon Super/Associated Press

All I wanted from Chelsea at Anfield was a draw.

With Liverpool something like a 1/5 favorite on before that kick-off, my reasoning was that for the remainder of Manchester City's season to be even interesting the Reds had to drop points.

At the time, that was my overriding wish. Not that City would win the league—that there would be a reason to watch their final three matches beyond seeing whether Jack Rodwell and Stevan Jovetic could run for 90 minutes without their limbs flying off their torsos or bursting into flames.

In the time-honored way that football is strange, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho took his weakened side and dominated Liverpool. Then Mourinho took his A-team back home to Stamford Bridge and got blown right on out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.

Exactly what everyone thought would happen, just in reverse.

So we have the Special One to thank for the intrigue that City's final three matches might deliver.

Greed being the predictable force it is, however, my "oh please just make it interesting" sentiment has been forgotten like so many "I'll get the next round" promises and "it's not the money" lies.

City only need three more wins to deliver a second Premier League title to the blue half of Manchester. Suddenly, the fact that City are still in with a chance is no longer enough for me.

Fair or not, Pellegrini is going to be judged on how his side performs at Everton.
Fair or not, Pellegrini is going to be judged on how his side performs at Everton.Jon Super/Associated Press

They have to win this.

City have to win this to make up for carelessly urinating away their FA Cup run.

City need to take the Premier League crown to wash away the sins of being dominated in the Champions League by a Barcelona side whose best days are long behind them.

City must win the league because they will probably never have a chance like this again. Liverpool are not battle-tested. Chelsea's attentions were on the Champions League for too long. Manchester United are a shambles. The trophy is just sitting there waiting for some side to prove they want to win it.

Above all, City need to snatch up this trophy to quiet the soft voices that mutter how manager Manuel Pellegrini is best suited to overachieving with smaller clubs, and that he invariably folds when all the money is in the middle of the table.

Of course, all of these things were just as true before Chelsea beat Liverpool and reopened the door for City. But there was no point in dwelling on any of it when Liverpool were almost surely going to win the league.

The Reds might still win it; if they do, the recriminations for City will only be sharper and harder.

Gifted this chance to win three matches and save their season, then, City keeping it interesting is no longer enough.

They just have to win this.

City's predicted XI against Everton: Joe Hart; Aleksandar Kolarov, Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta; Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, David Silva; Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko.