Title-chasing Manchester City are back in action as they travel to Everton on Wednesday.
Here, Football Paradise looks at some talking points ahead of the game.
City have chance to go top
With leaders Liverpool drawing their last two matches, City are back on the tails of the Premier League leaders. Victory in this rearranged fixture at Goodison Park will take the champions back to the top of the table. The advantage would only be goal difference and City would have played a game more, but it would nevertheless make a statement at a time when Liverpool are wobbling.
City not in best of form
It should not be overlooked that City’s own recent form has been patchy. Sunday’s victory over Arsenal may have been convincing but the Gunners were underwhelming and it is only a week since City lost poorly at Newcastle. Viewing City’s Premier League games in isolation, they have lost four of their last 10. That is not the form of the juggernaut that clocked up 100 points last season.
Scheduling and City’s Goodison woes
This game was originally scheduled to be played on February 23 but was brought forward due to City’s involvement in the Carabao Cup final. There have been suggestions neither club were happy with the new date. It has certainly made it a testing week for City, with another tough clash against Chelsea at the weekend. City have largely had the measure of Everton in recent times, putting behind them what was a poor record during Roberto Mancini’s spell as manager, but Pep Guardiola will not want reminding of his visit to Goodison in January 2017. City were thrashed 4-0 on that occasion – a low point of Guardiola’s reign.
Pressure on Marco Silva
Everton’s form has plummeted after their promising start under new manager Marco Silva, with the Portuguese boss accepting questions may now be being asked of his position. The team were booed off after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Wolves, their eighth defeat in their last 14 games in all competitions. Silva is being criticised for his team’s lack of structure and direction, and their inability to defend set-pieces – a problem which also blighted the same manager at Hull and Watford – has been highlighted. A heavy defeat would increase the pressure.
Everton fan dilemma
It would not come into the players’ thinking, but a number of Everton fans might actually be prepared to overlook a bad result in this fixture if it helped deny rivals Liverpool the title. When this is thrown into the mix along with the Silva situation, it could make for an odd atmosphere.