Manchester City: Martin Demichelis & Jack Rodwell - Out
Everton: Antolin Alcaraz & Steven Pienaar - Out; Kevin Mirallas - Doubful
Manchester City: None
Everton: Gareth Barry - Ineligible to play against City
Manchester City: LWDWL
This weekend's biggest match brings two teams that are complete antonyms of each other. Whereas Everton are steady Eddie's (a reflection of their form, not playing style), City are capable of destroying their opponents one week and then self-destructing the next.
Their defence has to take all the blame for this as their attack and midfield has been in superlative form so far. The main culprits for the woeful defensive performances fall squarely on Javi Garcia and Joe Hart. Whilst the former is firmly a back-up player and is unlikely to start today, Joe Hart is by all accounts City's number one and his form for the past two seasons has been dreadful.
As slide three shows Baines is even more creative than Barkley - despite playing in a traditionally defensive position he has managed to create 11 chances in 6 games for his team-mates, he is even a deft dribbler going past his opposition 7 times (a good number for a left back). Baines creativity is mainly down to the accuracy of his crossing and passing. As shown by slide four, Baines connects 1.8 crosses per game and is normally hub of all attacks started by Everton - as suggested by the average number of passes (50) he makes in a match. If City cannot stop him (and there is little to suggest they can) then it is very easy to imagine a cross coming in from the left, Lukaku knocking it down to Barkley who miss-kicks a volley, only for Hart to fumble it into the net (I should probably leave poor Hart alone now).
The reason why I suggest there is little to stop Baines from hurting City is down to the form of Navas. Navas' form although not bad (he's played decently actually) is not enough to trouble Baines. City need Navas to be at his pulsating best to pin back Baines and prevent him from marauding up to start up Everton's attacks. However as slide five denotes, Navas has shockingly only managed to dribble past his opponent once in 6 games. Therefore, whilst still remaining somewhat creative (10 key passes, 1.7 per game) and difficult to tackle (dispossesed 5 times, 0.8 per game) Baines will feel as though he has Navas's number today. Even if Navas does not start, his replacement (most likely to be Milner) would be a defensive move suggesting they would try to attack from the recently-fit-again Silva's flank.
Manchester City 3-1 Everton
*All statistics courtesy of WhoScored