Everton v Manchester City preview: Pep Guardiola's close on title
Last Updated: 31/03/18 5:41pm
Manchester City will be looking to move a step closer to the Premier League title when they travel to Everton on Saturday.
If Pep Guardiola's side win this weekend then they can wrap up the title when they face rivals Manchester United on April 7, live on Sky Sports, although they are winless in their last four Premier League matches against Everton.
The Toffees are also looking for a third consecutive win and manager Sam Allardyce said: "We've got to master our game plan throughout the 90 minutes to get a result against the team that's riding high.
"It's a big challenge for us and I think one we should really look forward to on the basis that we've just come off the back of back-to-back wins. We've got a good home record.
"There's a few players missing that we'd maybe liked a bit fit, but the ones who have been out on the pitch have been doing the business recently. So go and do your very best and see if that's good enough on the day."
Man City are 16 points clear at the top of the table and their crowning as champions seems inevitable, but Guardiola insists his players will be fully focused on Everton, regardless of whether the two Champions League legs against Liverpool are now the real priority.
"I'm not going to deny (there are thoughts about Liverpool), but, believe me, I am preparing for Everton like it's the most important game we have to play," he said.
"My decisions (are made) to beat Everton, not thinking about Liverpool. That would be a big mistake from my side."
Everton youngsters Mason Holgate (ankle) and Tom Davies (neck) will miss out through injury, while Idrissa Gueye (hamstring) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (knee) are expected to miss at least the next fortnight.
John Stones will miss Saturday's trip to his former club after suffering a head injury on international duty. He has recovered from the blow that forced him off during England's friendly against Italy, but must sit out due to concussion protocols.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero (knee) is now close to fitness but City may rest him with next week's Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool in mind. Benjamin Mendy (knee) also remains on the sidelines.
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.
The Toffees haven't won three consecutive Premier League games since January 2017.
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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).
Everton's 4-0 win in this fixture last season is Pep Guardiola's heaviest league defeat as a manager and one of just three occasions in his managerial career he has lost by four goals.
Wayne Rooney has scored nine Premier League goals against Man City - only Alan Shearer (11) has scored more against the Citizens.
This is the perfect game for Sam Allardyce. He'll go and set up to make them very hard to beat, but I still don't see how you can stop Man City. Everton won't have to chase the game, they can go and sit and play on the counter-attack but every time I've seen them do it away from home at Tottenham or Arsenal and played defensively, they've got ripped apart in the end. I'd be shocked if Everton got anything out of this game.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2 (11/2 with Sky Bet)