City could make Everton pay for their setback last week and Raheem Sterling and Joao Cancelo could be among the goals if that happens, says Jamie Pacheco…
Now or never for Everton
No team is too good to go down. Those are the words that Frank Lampard will be telling his players as the threat of relegation increasingly becomes a reality.
They’re now just two points off 18th placed Burnley after the Clarets secured a priceless win over Tottenham on Wednesday night.
Tottenham, by the way, are capable of poor performances these days, but also the occasional brilliant one. As witnessed in their excellent 3-2 win over Manchester City at the Etihad.
They’re Everton’s next league opponents after City and no points from their next two games could well see the Toffees actually in the relegation zone by the time they face Wolves on March 13.
Tom Davies, Yerry Mina and Demarai Gray are all out injured but that doesn’t explain their current poor form because they have plenty of other options in the squad.
Whether they can get Dominic Calvert-Lewin back in shape and doing his thing after a lengthy injury will be key as to how the rest of their season goes. So far, he’s looked off the pace and is yet to score or assist in his last four league games.
Bad day at the office now in the past
Well, they’re human after all.
After looking untouchable for the past few weeks, they lost to an excellent Tottenham side on the day.
Perfectionist Pep Guardiola won’t have liked what he saw but for the rest of us, it made the Premier League title race interesting again.
Still, they’re hot favourites to win the Premier League and the Champions League, as well.
Every side is allowed one bad day at the office and that was City’s so don’t expect it to be the start of a collapse where it all falls apart at the seams.
Guardiola will however have to make do without two important attacking players. Aside from the off-field disciplinary problems Jack Grealish has been guilty of, he’s also injured. As is Gabriel Jesus.
It’s one of those. 1.321/3 looks too short at first glance. It’s 6.25/1 the draw and a huge 12.011/1 on the Everton win.
Why might City be too short?
Everton are at home and are playing a City side who have just had their wings clipped last time out and with two injuries in attack, may be fielding some tired legs in the form of Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Kevin de Bruyne.
Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
Another is that City had a minor slip and should have little trouble disposing of an Everton side they have beaten the last four times they’ve played them in the league at Goodison Park.
And they are after all, 41 points off better than them in the league.
But if I had to play this market, it would be a lay of City I’d be looking at, after all. Everton do have the players to upset a hot favourite and they’re due a big performance.
But there are better options away from this market.
It’s not hard to make a case for over 2.5 goals. It would have paid out in 53% of City’s away games and 63% of Everton’s home matches this season.
It would also have been a winner in four of City’s last matches in all competitions and in six of Everton’s last eight.
With Guardiola’s men capable of racking up three or more by themselves against just about anyone and Everton poor at the back all season, you could come up with about six or seven plausible scorelines in this match that would see the over 2.5 goals barrier being broken. But 1.584/7 is as good as you’re going to get on ‘overs’ here.
3-1 City is 11.521/2 and an entertaining 2-2 draw is 25.024/1. You never know.
Raheem Sterling looks a good price for first goalscorer after being boosted from 5.04/1 to 6.05/1.
He looks like he’s back to his best in terms of energy, fitness, movement and confidence and has enjoyed playing as the false number nine when called upon. He drew a blank against Spurs and was subbed but before that he was scoring away at Sporting Lisbon and that was on the back of a hat-trick away at Norwich.
That’s a decent price about an in-form man leading the line (at best) or playing as part of a front three (at worst) in a side full of goals.
And I can’t resist being with Joao Cancelo, either. Quite how he only has the one league goal for the season (he has a further two in Europe) is a mystery because few players seem to get themselves into better scoring positions more often than him, and he’s meant to be a full-back.
But Cancelo being in and around the box irrespective of where the attack is coming from is no coincidence; it’s very much part of the City gameplan. He could easily have had two last time out and sooner or later he will come good. Let’s hope it’s on Saturday, at 11/2.
Shall we round things off with a Bet Builder? Let’s.
Riyad Mahrez (evens) is also in good form and has been deadly from the penalty spot of late.
Combining him with a Kevin de Bruyne assist ( 6/5) and over 2.5 goals in the game (1/2) comes to 4.57/2.