Manchester City take on Everton on Saturday’s early kick-off in what is sure to be a cracker of a match. Both teams are currently under new management and have made somewhat mixed starts to the season. This game is the perfect opportunity for both of these teams to get an important victory and kick on from there.
Let’s take a look at 5 key battles within the game that will play an important role in shaping the outcome of the match:
1) Ross Barkley vs. Fernandinho
The 20-year old Englishman has been in fine form since the start of the season and only seems to be getting better. Given that he plays in a more advanced role for Everton, the task of marking him will fall to Fernandinho. The Brazilian, an expensive summer buy from Shakhtar Donetsk, hasn’t been at his best and has found life in the Premier League slightly hard to adjust to. However, he is a very good player and if he is at his very best, he will be able to do enough to ensure that Barkley doesn’t do too much damage.
The Battle of the Belgians. These players will have faced each other often enough during training while on international duty, so it will be very interesting to see the two of them go toe-to-toe. Kompany and Lukaku will know each others strengths and weaknesses very well and a lot will depend on whether or not the City defender is able to keep Lukaku in check.
3) Pablo Zabaleta vs. Leighton Baines
Both are arguably the two best wing-backs in England right about now. Both like to attack as often as possible and possess a massive work-rate, hence they are able to get up and down the pitch a lot. While Baines won’t be required to man-mark Zabaleta and vice versa, both will go up against one another at some point of time and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Given how much their respective teams rely on them, this battle might have a direct impact on the result of the match.
4) Alvaro Negredo vs. Phil Jagileka
The Spanish target man has quickly found his feet at the Etihad and is always a handful for any defender on his day. The unenviable task of keeping him quiet will fall to Phil Jagielka, who will be expected to mark the big man at all times. Aside from being good in the air, Negredo can also finish off chances quite well so it’s safe to say that Jagielka has his work cut out for him.
5) Yaya Toure vs. Leon Osman
While individually both are very different players, their job for their respective clubs is somewhat similar. Both are their clubs main midfield man, and a lot will depend on how well or badly they play. Toure has been on fire of late but Osman too is good at what he does. It’s safe to say this will be a very interesting battle.