The closing game of this extended weekend of Premier League action takes us to The Etihad as Manchester City play host to Everton. Both teams got off to a winning start on the Saturday before last but one of the two 100% records that are still in tact will be lost by 10pm this evening.
This particular encounter will pit two former Barcelona teammates together as Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman will duke it out on the touchline. The two managers played together in the 1992 European Cup Final and it was the latter who scored the winning goal to Wembley to earn the Catalan giants a first ever success at this level.
This Pep Guardiola will be looking to lead City to their first Champions League success but in addition to that the Spaniard would undoubtedly love to lift a first English league title since taking charge of the Manchester outfit last summer.
Their opening week exploits saw them travel to the South Coast as they faced Premier League debutants Brighton. Chris Hughton’s men gave something of a rugged resistance but they were eventually broken down by a dominant City side.
The lineup saw both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus start upfront as we were given a pre cursor as to what the team will look like this season. The fact that City operated with wing backs is not great news for the likes of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling who mainly operate as wide forwards.
But with Guardiola’s penchant for tactical experimentation there is no reason why the two named players will still not feature heavily this season and more importantly it just goes to show just how much depth the City squad will have this season.
Everton perhaps do not have the same level of depth but their first eleven does look impressive after a raft of summer spending. That outlay was increased late last week when Gylfi Sigurdsson was finally signed from Swansea for 45m.
He is set to feature in some part of the game tonight even though he lacks full match fitness after not featuring for Swansea in their opening game of the season and missing out on a handful of pre-season action also, because of that I would expect him to start on the bench.
Wayne Rooney was the hero of the hour last Saturday for Everton as he got his second stint at the club of to a dream start, it was first half injury time when the record England goalscorer broke the deadlock and ultimately earned all three points over Stoke.
That was his return to Merseyside and tonight he makes a return to Manchester, albeit this time he will be taking on old foes. He will look to help Everton continue their recent supremacy over City, last season they drew here at The Etihad 1-1 while handsomely beating them in the return by 4-0.
The 1-1 scoreline does not perhaps tell the full story due to the fact that City missed two penalties that day but Everton still gave a solid account of themselves. Tonight though will be the measure of just how good this new look team really is.
I think City will be in for a test but they will certainly go into this game as favourites and I just think the fact that they have so much more firepower at their disposal both in the starting eleven and off the bench means that they will come with all three points. Home win for me.