Manchester City v Everton: Toffees to shoot for Europe

Andy Schooler is expecting shots from a key duo on Sunday when Europe-chasing Everton head to Premier League champions Manchester City...

After this strangest of seasons, champions Manchester City will get their hands on the Premier League trophy on Sunday.

The fact they will do so in front of their own fans for the one and only time in the campaign is both welcome but also somewhat ironic.

The lack of supporters has produced a season featuring more wins for the away teams than those at home.

Everton chasing Europe

Everton have been one of the beneficiaries of the trend for away success - they've won no fewer than 11 league games on the road, their tally of 37 points away from home being just one lower than the total City have managed at the Etihad Stadium. Let's just not talk about their home form.

Everton head into this game knowing another away victory could see them into Europe. A win for Carlo Ancelotti's men coupled with Spurs failing to beat Leicester would be enough. Even a draw would do if Spurs lost and Arsenal failed to win.

They will have to do so without the injured James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman but at least the motivation is there.

Everton will also be pleased that there's nothing on the line here for City.

What will City's approach be?

I say nothing. The match actually comes six days before arguably the biggest match in the club's history - the Champions League final with Chelsea.

It's therefore hard to know what their approach to this contest will be.

We know Joao Cancelo won't play due to suspension but everyone else is available to Pep Guardiola, who must now choose who to rest, if anyone.

Tuesday's 3-2 defeat at Brighton has certainly thrown a spanner in the works, particularly the manner of it.

Cancelo's 10th-minute red card forced them to work much harder than Guardiola would have wanted. It could have an influence on the manager's selection here.

Regardless of who Guardiola picks, he'll want a result.

City have lost three of their last six in the league - and three of their last four at home - and won't want to be heading into next week's final on the back of two defeats.

There's clearly been a late-season dip in the league - perhaps understandably as focus moved towards other goals - and that will give Everton heart.

As well as conceding three at Brighton, they also let in three at Newcastle, while last time out at home they were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea.

Value in visitors and low goals

In the match betting, there's therefore an argument to suggest Everton offer some value at 7.8. City are 1.45 with the draw a 5.4 shot.


However, I'd definitely want to see the City team before getting involved here - they could easily shorten if they go full strength, Sergio Aguero left to come off the bench for his farewell appearance at the Etihad. For the record, he's 2.0 in the anytime scorer market.

In terms of goals, Everton games have been pretty dull of late - 11 of their last 14 in the league have gone under the 2.5 mark.

Somewhat surprisingly, a majority of City's games this season have also gone under 2.5 so again there could be a spot of value in backing under 2.5 goals at 2.36.

Everton duo look good for shots

However, I prefer a bet here which focuses on what we do know - and that's that Everton will almost certainly need to offer an attacking threat at some stage as they chase European qualification.

Yes, a 0-0 draw may be good enough but it's also highly unlikely. They really need to win this game and given City's goalscoring record - they are the top scorers once again this season - they may well need more than one goal.

I'd therefore expect them to at least muster plenty of shots and when it comes to Everton efforts at goal, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are the go-to men.

The pair have dominated Everton's shot-taking this season, even more so in recent times which have often seen them play together in a front two, rather than a three with Richarlison in a wider position.

Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison have both managed 2+ shots in eight of the last nine games they've started together.

Unless Everton manage to get ahead early and then try to see the game out - a highly-dangerous tactic against City - they will need shots here so I'm surprised to see almost 17/10 offered about that bet landing again.

Yes, City's defence is a strong one - they give up an average of only 7.5 shots per game - but with the Everton duo having racked up 41% of their side's shots this season, the bet still makes appeal given their situation ahead of this contest.

Opta fact

Man City striker Gabriel Jesus has scored seven Premier League goals against Everton, more than he has versus any other opponent in the competition. The Brazilian has netted a brace in his last two against the Toffees at the Etihad Stadium.

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