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The Opposition View: Everton at Manchester City | Surging champs exude confidence

Getting anything at the Etihad remains a herculean task

Everton FC v Manchester City - Premier League
DECEMBER 27: Jack Grealish of Manchester City and Nathan Patterson of Everton during the Premier League match
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Coming off of a last-minute stunner of a draw against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton will be looking to take at least a point from another top-table side - but this one is always a bit more difficult than all the others.

Manchester City is a juggernaut once again, and getting a healthy Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne is bad news for every side across England and Europe - not simply the Toffees. But it is, after all, the Blues who play the Citizens next, and so it is Everton who are now pressed to solve one of the most difficult equations in all of football.

Luckily, Sean Dyche knows how to take points from Pep and company, and this side has the ability to challenge Manchester City with physical football, tight organization, counterattacking when circumstances allow, and proper finishing; whether we get all of those tenants together, however, only time will tell.

And who will win in this match in Manchester? In the final analysis, we will have to watch to find out.

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

RBM: Straight off, City have been in brilliant form as per usual; what are the feelings like around the training ground, the supporters, and side in general?

SG: Yes, it seems an annual tradition now: rip off several straight to start the Spring. Around the club, everyone is buzzing; rightfully so, as the club finally has everyone healthy and is in a fabulous run of results. Supporters, most of them, are keen that this City can get a title or two, and with the players we have, why not dream of it all?

RBM: With Manchester in prime position to overtake Liverpool on points this week, tell us about how the team has persevered without KDB and Haaland for large swaths of the season?

SG: It’s been down to resilience by Pep Guardiola and his players. Contrary to popular belief, City have a very thin squad, and Pep has experimented with Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden, who, along with Bernardo Silva, have performed admirably well in big spots and sometimes not at their customary positions. Add a return to form for Ruben Dias, and City has successfully navigated the injuries of two key players.

Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

RBM: What has the return of Kevin De Bruyne meant to this side, and what does he provide that is lacking during his absences?

SG: It means so much, given he is the soul of the side. His being out there translates a calmness to the rest of the squad, and they will no doubt be up for continuing this stream of wins.

RBM: What are the team’s expectations across all their remaining competitions going forward?

SG: Win it all. City is City, after all, and the expectations are sky high, with Pep Guardiola leading them, of course, so it will be about playing every game like the last and ensuring enough strength to fight for the remaining three titles.

RBM: How do you expect City to set up this Saturday, and who do you think could cause Everton the most problems?

SG: I expect a similar lineup to midweek that includes a hungry Erling Haaland, who is back after over a month on the shelf. This could be where he gets his return goal.
Lineup: Ederson: Gvardiol, Ake, Dias, Walker: Rodri, KDB, Foden: Bernardo, Haaland and Alvarez.

RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for this Premier League showdown?

SG: At home, I fancy a City win with everyone being healthy. 3-1 Manchester City

Our thanks to Saul for his time.