Manchester City will look to keep the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League when they welcome an ailing Everton to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
City signed off before the international break in the most satisfying style, with a comfortable 0-2 Manchester derby victory against rivals United at Old Trafford.
It was a sweet victory on enemy territory for the blue side of the city, with United unable to lay a glove on Pep Guardiola’s team who turned in an expert display.
It was a display that was much needed – not just because of derby day bragging rights – but because of a surprise defeat to Crystal Palace in the previous game.
City’s slip up will have come as good news to Chelsea and Liverpool as all three sides gun for the Premier League crown – but the balance was soon restored with City’s title rivals both dropping points in their respective games before the international break.
As such, the current gap between Manchester City in second and Chelsea at the summit is just 3 points heading in to the weekend, with Thomas Tuchel’s side on the road at Leicester.
Guardiola meanwhile faces an Everton side at the Etihad who have been lacking of late, with the Toffees winless in the top flight in almost two months.
Their last affair was a goalless draw with Antonio Conte’s Tottenham, but that result did little to dispel the disappointment from convincing losses to Watford and Wolves in recent weeks.
With this game against City followed by clashes with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea before Christmas, Everton will be keen to return to winning ways as quickly as possible.
That will be a difficult ask against a City team who have conceded just 6 goals all season – 10 fewer than the Toffees, who have a dead level goal difference after 11 games.
Only league leaders Chelsea have a better defensive record than Manchester City this term and Everton’s chances of breaching that back line are further hampered by the continued absence of key striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Calvert-Lewin is one of a number of missing players that manager Rafael Benitez will need to contend with as Abdoulaye Doucoure, Tom Davies and Andre Gomes all remain sidelined.
Mason Holgate will also be missing due to suspension after being sent off against Spurs last time out, whilst Yerry Mina is nearing a return to the side but is also doubtful.
Manchester City meanwhile will see Aymeric Laporte return to the fold from suspension, but Spain teammate Ferran Torres continueS to be missing due to a fractured foot.
Jack Grealish has been suffering with a knock of late which caused him to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s latest England camp – the playmaker will be assessed ahead of any potential involvement against Everton this weekend.
Manchester City v Everton kicks off at 2pm on Sunday 21st November.