Manchester City will host Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as they look to end their Premier League campaign on a high.
It has been another year full of silverware for Manchester City, winning the Premier League title at a canter and adding yet another Carabao Cup to the trophy cabinet. The one cup that has eluded Pep Guardiola at City is still a possibility though, with a Champions League Final against Chelsea on May 29 still to come. While Guardiola may be tempted to rest some key players to avoid late injury problems, the Catalan coach recently spoke of wanting his side to be as sharp as possible for the Porto final.
Guardiola’s wishes appear to have gone unnoticed within his squad though: they had to fight back to win 4-3 at Newcastle and lost 3-2 at Brighton having led 2-0. That means we could see a lineup close to resembling his Champions League Final XI when the Toffees visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to bring some stability, though there could be a few notable absentees.
Joao Cancelo is suspended after being sent off at Newcastle, while Ilkay Gundogan, Kyle Walker, and Raheem Sterling are doubts and will likely be afforded important recovery time. Sergio Aguero is also a doubt with a leg problem, but given his legendary status at the club as he prepares to leave this summer, it would take something serious to deny him a cameo from the bench at the very least.
Likely, Guardiola will once again opt for a striker-less formation with Bernardo Silva or Kevin De Bruyne in a false nine role, with the system switching between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-4.
Ederson will feature in goal for Man City after shipping in three goals versus the Seagulls in his last league outing. Ruben Dias could resume his center-back partnership with Nathan Ake as the defensive duo look to stop Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison from finding the back of the net throughout the game. Kyle Walker is a major doubt for this game while Joao Cancelo can be ruled out of this clash due to suspension.
Hence, John Stones might be asked to function as a makeshift right-back while Benjamin Mendy fills in on the other side as the left-back. Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and Fernandinho will operate as the central midfielders for Man City as they look to dominate the ball and orchestrate some decent opportunities in the opponent’s half. They will have to keep the ball moving quickly and find some holes in the Everton backline.
Raheem Sterling will get a chance to impress on the left-wing while Riyad Mahrez fills in on the other flank as the right-sided wide player. Ferran Torres will probably get the responsibility to lead the charge for the Mancunian giants up top.