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The Opposition View: Everton vs Manchester City | Blues try to dent City confidence

Everton and Arsenal supporters are united on this Sunday morning - three points for the Toffees would be a major coup for both

Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League
DECEMBER 31: Alex Iwobi of Everton battles for possession with Nathan Ake of Manchester City during the Premier League match
Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

What a win. The thrashing of Brighton last week gave great confidence to the Blues, and to so many Everton faithful - but the job of staying in the Premier League is not yet completed. Many believe that four more points out of the remaining three matches will suffice to capture safety, but one can never be too sure; three points against one of the best football teams in all the world would be not only a message of intent, but it would serve as the best CV builder Sean Dyche could hope for.

To take down two top teams after the run that Everton has been through since the departure of the dear Italian Don Carlo Ancelotti would be some sort of magic. A spell, whatever; it would be special, and perhaps even more special than that night on Merseyside last season when the fates aligned and transpired to see a massive deficit erased and put to bed by that Dominic Calvert-Lewin header.

The Toffees will need him - and everyone else - to play an even better match than against Brighton, for Erling Haaland is no joke, and if he doesn’t get to you, his mates surely will.

Prior to Sunday’s match, we spoke to Saul Garcia, City fan and writer for their dedicated SB Nation page, Bitter and Blue:

RBM: Firstly, Manchester City have looked simply stunning, and barring a collapse, look to have secured another Premier League trophy, with the Champions League and FA Cup also still very much in play; what are the feelings around supporters and the club right now?

It’s a little surreal, City have done a domestic treble, but it does not carry the weight a treble like this would. Given England has only ever seen one, I know City fans really want it, but are rightfully cautious. Supporters are unusually giddy about the prospect.

RBM: This has been an unexpectedly close race between City and Arsenal; if you all do pull it off, what will have been the difference? Is it as easy as saying depth, or can the living, breathing goal machine take credit too?

It’s Haaland; the guy is a machine doing stuff no one in England has since Dixie Dean. It will be him who has put City here as the team is formed out nearly all the way.

RBM: What is more important to fans and the club at this point? Which of the two major remaining trophies I should clarify of course?

It really is both, and as Pep Guardiola makes sure to tell you and many other elite managers worldwide, it’s always the league title then everything else. UCL is important of course, but there is a bit more there in terms of luck and bounces that just is not present in league play. Sample size and what have you. Supporters are mixed, but doing a three-peat in the league is special and wanted by all of the fans.

RBM: Rumors suggest that there will be want-aways as there usually are, but who will stay, who will leave, and who will come in to replace the departed and make regards into surplus performers?

The transfer market will be interesting, Pep will want a couple of key pieces in as rumors swirl with Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. Jude Bellingham and Alexis Mac All-star are at the top of that list and I do think one of them will come. The other will be a one-for-one as Riyad Mahrez could exit and another pacy winger would arrive.

RBM: The remaining matches are not simple at all, but can City keep focus and overcome those who wish to stop them in their tracks and give Arsenal new life?

I do think they can and have before; the good thing is they are technically allowed one slip as a draw anywhere while winning the rest still puts City top. With that knowledge, it is hard to see City dropping the title.

RBM: How do you expect City to set up on Saturday? How will City choose to control this match and look to handle Everton, and who is a particular player that the Toffees should watch out for?

I do not expect the wholesale changes many have suggested. 3-4 changes are likely and City fans know Pep Guardiola is not a huge rotation guy so it should prove interesting. My guess for the lineup is Ortega-Stones-Laporte-Akanji-Gomez-Phillips-Bernardo Silva-Gundogan-Foden-Alvarez-Mahrez. City will use pace and creativity in midfield to win this one. Alvarez is one to look out for as he is a near-locked-in starter for this particular match.

RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday’s match?

Tough match; City win 1-0.

Our thanks to Saul for his time.