The best English teams have left the Champions League prematurely and the only ones who still keep the flag high are Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham, in Europa League. Manchester United and their city rivals continue to fight for the Premier league title, but the runner ups are in danger of seeing their dreams crushed this afternoon. With the leaders heading towards what appears to be an easy victory at home over Reading, Manchester City needs to win away at Everton if they are to keep their theoretical chances alive.
The hosts are in no mood of offering Manchester City the three points they desperately need on a silver platter, and have an extraordinary record to boost their morale. Everton has lost at home just once this season and in almost 80 fixtures against the Blues, they’ve earned a point in more than three quarters. One thing that might be used as an argument for those anticipating an away victory is the absence of Tim Howard. He is yet to shake off a back problem and it is very likely to be replaced by Jan Mucha.
It wouldn’t be the first time when the second goalkeeper would step up, and if we take a look at recent results it won’t be a tragedy either. More concerning is the fact that Phil Jagielka remains sidelined, although it comes as a relief that John Heitinga is fit to play and will replace him. Tony Hibbert is the only long-term absentees but Everton achieved remarkable results even in his absence. Except for the shocking 0-3 FA cup defeat to Wigan, the hosts had an excellent month and they stay within striking distance to the European cups.
On the other side we have a team under a lot of pressure despite the fact that their Champions League spot is not endangered by Tottenham. For a team that enjoys a huge budget, it comes as no surprise that the expectations are equally high and so far Manchester City has disappointed. Very few remember the championship won last year in the last round, and both fans and owners are angry with the players for their current Champions League performance.
Hard-pressed to win the championship again and double uo that performance by lifting the FA cup as well, the visitors will need to press forward from the first minute. In the first half of the season when the two teams met in Manchester, the hosts barely scrapped a point thanks to a late goal by Tevez.
Now they will face a motivated team anxious to erase the unpleasant memory caused by their unexpected meltdown in the midweek cup game. To make things even worse, it appears like both Tevez and Aguero will miss this afternoon, which will further complicate matters upfront. An unbiased and informative preview for this match is available at http://www1.skysports.com/football/live/match/261853/preview.
The seem to bookmakers remain oblivious of the fact that Manchester City won very few games in Liverpool even over the last couple of years since the capital influx began. Laying the visitors or playing a bet on the hosts not to lose is the better choice, especially with the odds inching closer to evens. There are no reasons to worry about placing a late bet because with most punters probably backing the visitors, the odds will rise if they will move at all.