Men's Team

City v Everton: Foden starts as Guardiola makes three changes

City v Everton: Foden starts as Guardiola makes three changes
Phil Foden has recovered from a knock sustained on international duty to start for Manchester City against Everton this afternoon.

There had been concerns a leg problem would rule the 21-year-old out of the Toffees’ visit to the Etihad Stadium, but he has declared himself fit and retains his place as Pep Guardiola makes three changes to the team that beat Manchester United a fortnight ago.

Cole Palmer is handed his first Premier League start as he comes into the side alongside Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte, who returns from suspension.

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They replace Ruben Dias, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne, who misses today's game whilst he self-isolates following a positive COVID-19 test, as does Jack Grealish, who is short of fitness after returning from the international break with an injury.

Dias and Jesus both drop to the bench, where 19-year-old James McAtee is named amongst the substitutes for his first involvement in a Premier League fixture.

Teams

CITY: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), Bernardo, Palmer, Foden, Sterling.

SUBS: Steffen, Carson, Dias, Ake, Jesus, Zichenko, Fernandinho, Mahrez, McAtee.

EVERTON: Pickford, Coleman (c), Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Delph, Townsend, Gray, Gordon, Richarlison.

SUBS:
Begovic, Kenny, Iwobi, Tosun, Gbamin, Branthwaite, Rondon, Simms, Onyango.

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Formation

The players selected suggest Guardiola is sticking with his favoured 4-3-3 formation and, as is often the case, the main question before kick-off is how the front three will line-up.

You would expect Foden or Sterling to start in the No.9 role, something both have done before, but we’ll have to wait until we’re under way to find out which of them leads the line today.

In defence, Kyle Walker will play at right-back, with Joao Cancelo on the opposite flank and Laporte and John Stones at the heart of the back four.

Rodrigo will adopt his usual anchorman role in midfield, with captain Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva just ahead of him, behind Foden, Sterling and Palmer, who makes his 10th senior appearance.

WATCH: City v Everton: Top 5 goals at the Etihad

Stats and facts

  • City have won seven Premier League matches in a row against Everton, scoring 21 goals and conceding only five.
  • We are unbeaten in 11 home fixtures against Everton in all competitions (W7, DW).
  • City have only lost one of the past 16 Premier League meetings between the sides, a 4-0 defeat at Goodison Park in January 2017 which remains Guardiola's heaviest top-flight defeat as a manager.
  • We have registered 221 sequences of 10 or more passes in the Premier League this season, the most of any club.
  • City have kept 19 clean sheets in the Premier League in 2021, our joint-most league shutouts in a single calendar year alongside 2019 and 2017.
  • Jesus averages a goal every 69 minutes against Everton in the Premier League.
  • Cancelo has been directly involved in seven goals in 17 games in all competitions this season (two goals, five assists), just one fewer than his total in 43 appearances in 2020-21 (three goals, five assists).
  • Everton could lose eight successive games against the same opponent for only the second time in the Premier League era. They suffered nine straight defeats versus Manchester United between December 1999 and February 2004.
  • Toffees’ boss Rafael Benitez has won just two of his nine away league fixtures as a manager versus City, with both victories coming with Liverpool.
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