So far in the month of November, sixth-place Everton has underperformed, earning just one win while playing to three draws—two in their last two matches. Their only win this month came against a two-win Sunderland team that is 16th in the EPL.
Man City, though undefeated, fell behind United this week due, in part, to a 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Sunday—their fifth of the season.
Blues fans hope that Everton will be able to outlast their recent mediocrity. To do this Everton will have to overcome the injury suffered by Leighton Baines against Arsenal.
Already without Phil Neville, the pressure is on for an Everton squad that has scored ten fewer goals than Man City this season
Where: Etihad Stadium, East Manchester, England
When: Saturday, December 1, 10:00 a.m. EST
TV: Fox Soccer
Everton: Can Marouane Fellaini keep the Blues on track?
Marouane Fellaini has been dominant for Everton this year.
His seven EPL goals already surpass his total-goals-scored from each of his last two seasons and leads Everton in this category. He is also doing his part by spreading the ball around, leading the Blues in assists as well.
A hamstring injury to Leighton Baines will sideline the defender this weekend, but a pairing of Fellaini with forward Nikica Jelavic could be a bandage for Everton.
In 13 starts this year, Jelavic has five goals and an assist. Jelavic and Fellaini have also taken 84 shots between them this year.
The problem will be if Jelavic can play Saturday, having missed time this past week with an illness.
Should he miss time, manager David Moyes said he is confident with the play of Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert going forward.
City: Will Mario Balotelli be a difference-maker?
Mario Balotelli, the fiery, Italian-born forward, scored his first goal for Man City this week, much to Roberto Mancini’s relief.
After playing third-place Chelsea to a 0-0 tie this past week, Manager Mancini focused on his team’s recent inability to be opportunistic. In an interview with SkySports, Mancini suggested that his team was “soft” and that they “play very well but are missing a goal.”
Mancini’s frustration spawned the return of Balotelli into a starting role, resulting in a Balotelli score in the 69th minute of a 2-0 victory over Wigan.
City is the lone-remaining unbeaten team this year, yet still trails United in the standings as a result of their five draws on the season.
Still, they demonstrated an aptitude for scoring earlier this month, putting up five goals on a weak Aston Villa squad. They will have to replicate this against teams like Chelsea and Everton.
If Balotelli and Man City can make “the last pass or shot” as Mancini wants them to, it should spell victory while hosting Everton.
Prediction: Everton stutters in a 2-1 loss at Manchester City.