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Ailing Everton set to face High-Flying Manchester City

Manchester City could be Premier League leaders by the end of Monday, should the match against lowly Everton go their way.

The Blues, who are undefeated in their last seven league matches, could end up being the only team to benefit from the severe weather conditions which saw seven top-flight games postponed across England, including the battle between Chelsea and Manchester United. A win would see them leap two places into 1st, albeit after two games more than local rivals United.

For this to happen however, they have to prove recent history wrong. Everton have a fantastic record against City having won five of the last six meetings between the clubs, including winning their last three trips to the City of Manchester Stadium. Current odds of 4/1 for an Everton win seems to lean more towards the league positions of the two clubs, especially the odds for a 1-0 Toffees win – 12/1.

Sadly for the Merseyside club, they haven’t picked up a win since the end of October, when they beat Stoke by one goal to nil. A victory in this game will have to come without Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and John Heitinga who are all sidelined with injuries, along with midfielder Mikel Arteta who is suspended.

The season so far for Everton hasn’t been full of goals, and a new striker will be top of David Moyes’ shopping trip in the post-Christmas sales; they are currently relying heavily on the strike-rate of Tim Cahill, who has eight league goals so far this term. He is priced at 3/1 to score at anytime during the match; a stark contrast to strike partner Jermaine Beckford who is a higher priced 6/1, highlighting his below-par career so far at his new club.

Goals aren’t a major worry for Blues boss Roberto Mancini, however happy strikers are. Despite handing in a written transfer request last week, Carlos Tevez is expected to start for City, although his future still remains unclear at this stage. He is expected to partner Mario Balotelli is the City attack, who has also come under media scrutiny this week. The Italian striker, who has received three yellow cards and one red in eight games for his new club, was booked for dissent against West Ham, and was immediately substituted in favour of Adam Johnson.

Should City’s striker woes cause more headaches for Mancini, a price of 10/3 for an Everton clean sheet could be a good outside wager, especially as neither Tevez or Balotelli have scored against Everton. Some online bookmakers also have Balotelli at 22/1 to be sent off during the match.

Mancini will be relieved in his squad depth for this game, having rested a few players for their midweek draw against Juventus; Nigel de Jong is the only absentee, as he is serving a one-match ban. Midweek starters Shay Given, Jo, Patrick Vieira, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge, Dedryck Boyata and James Milner are all expected to be dropped to the bench.

Bet Highlight

A draw at half time that concludes in an Everton win is 10/1.

Premier League 09/10:

Manchester City 0-2 Everton
Everton 2–0 Manchester City

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