Manchester City appear to have come through the international break unscathed and should be at close to full strength ahead of Saturday’s game at Everton – and indeed their crucial run of games over the next fortnight.
City’s game at Goodison Park kicks off a hectic period containing a Manchester derby sandwiched between two Champions League games with Liverpool.
Should City beat Everton they will be able to clinch the title by beating Manchester United next weekend, and it seems Pep Guardiola will have plenty of players to choose from.
MAN CITY INJURIES
Sergio Aguero missed Argentina’s two international friendlies as he recovers from a knee injury but he is hoping to be fit enough to feature against Everton.
Fabian Delph has not played since February 19 and is doubtful for Saturday’s game. Delph sustained a knee injury against Liverpool in January, returned for the Champions League last-16 clash in Basel and the FA Cup game at Wigan, but was sent off at the DW Stadium, banned for three matches and then, having served his suspension, picked up another muscle injury, which has kept him out for the last six weeks.
David Silva was granted compassionate leave by Spain over the international break but that was always planned, and as it stands he will be available for City’s decisive run of matches.
Benjamin Mendy is back in training following his knee injury but he is not in contention to make a first-team return just yet.
MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS
City do not have any suspensions but Ashley Williams is banned for Everton.
MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Guardiola may elect to start Gabriel Jesus up front in a bid to give Aguero as much time to recover as is necessary. The Argentine has upped his performances considerably over recent weeks and is likely to be a key man against Liverpool and United. Jesus started City’s last game in Aguero’s injury enforced absence, and he also scored for Brazil against Germany in midweek.
Should Delph not feature at left-back Danilo could be selected ahead of Oleksandar Zinchenko.
Vincent Kompany was substitued at half-time of Belgium’s game against Saudi Arabia but it the decision is not believed to have been taken as a result of any injury. Should the captain be fit, he is likely to partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back following his fine form for City in recent matches.
EVERTON TEAM NEWS
The Toffees have a number of injuries to contend with, as well as Williams’ suspension.
Gylfi Sigurdsson could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, while James McCarthy is out with a broken leg.
Mason Holgate left the England U21 camp last week to undergo minor surgery on an ankle injury, and Eliaquim Mangala is both injured and ineligible, given he is on loan from City.
Idrissa Gueye will be assessed before the game, having struggled with a muscle injury recently. Tom Davies sustained a head injury on March 17 but is thought to be ready to return.
OPTA MATCH FACTS
- Everton have won six of their last nine home games against Man City in all competitions (D1 L2), winning 4-0 last season under Ronald Koeman.
- Man City are winless in their last four Premier League matches against the Toffees (D3 L1), last going five league games without a win against them in December 1989 (a run of eight).
- The Toffees haven’t won three consecutive Premier League games since January 2017.
- Everton have only won three of their 38 Premier League games against sides starting the day top of the table (D8 L27), with two of those sides going on to win the title anyway (Chelsea in 2009-10 and Man City in 2011-12).
- Man City could become only the third team to beat all other teams in a single Premier League season, after Chelsea in 2005-06 and Manchester United in 2010-11.
- Pep Guardiola is currently on 49 Premier League wins from his 68 games in the competition. If he wins here, he’ll be the second quickest manager to reach 50 wins in the Premier League, after Jose Mourinho (63 games).
- Guardiola has faced Everton more often without winning than any other opponent as a manager (three games).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
Kick off is 17:30 GMT (12:00 ET) on Saturday March 31, and will be shown on BT Sport in the United Kingdom. It will be shown on NBC in the United States, and on various channels around the world.