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Premier League Preview: Everton v Manchester City

1 May 2014 21:03

Manchester City will take a giant stride towards the Premier League title if they end their poor run at Everton on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini's side took over as favourites to be crowned champions of England, for the second time in three years, when they won 2-0 at Crystal Palace after Liverpool were beaten by Chelsea on Sunday.

Although City are third in the table, they are just three points behind Brendan Rodgers' league leaders and one adrift of Chelsea with a game in hand on the top two.

City also boast a superior goal difference to their rivals, a factor that could yet prove crucial as it did in their title triumph two seasons ago.

Pellegrini's men will fancy their chances of winning their final two matches at home to Aston Villa and West Ham, but can expect a stern test at Goodison Park.

Everton have only lost one home game against City since 1992 and also hold an impressive record in front of their own fans this season, losing just two league fixtures.

Roberto Martinez's side appear to have blown their chances of securing a UEFA Champions League spot, having fallen four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal following recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Southampton.

However, they can all but seal fifth spot by doing neighbours Liverpool a favour and inflicting a damaging defeat on City.

City's title hopes were dealt a major blow when they were beaten 3-2 at Anfield last month, but they return to Merseyside three weeks on with their destiny in their own hands.

And midfielder Fernandinho believes the momentum is with his side following last weekend's results.

"It (the title race) changed a lot," the Brazil international told City's official website. "We are back with a big chance of being champions again.

"We are not depending on other teams - it only depends on us, and that has changed a lot.

"It gives you energy as mentality is 70 per cent of your body, and a result like that changes everything – your mind, your motivation, everything.

"We have waited a long time for this moment, and the positivity of the whole group is now very high.

"I think we will get better and better until the last game, and then we must see what happens at the end of the season."

City could be boosted by the return of playmaker David Silva (ankle), but it remains to see whether Jesus Navas (ankle) and Matija Nastasic (knee) will play any part.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka is poised to make his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury and fellow centre-back Sylvain Distin could also feature after missing last weekend's defeat at Southampton due to a hamstring problem of his own.

Gareth Barry will miss out, though, as the midfielder is ineligible to face his parent club.

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Friday 19 December

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 16 +23 39
2 16 +19 36
3 16 +12 31
4 16 +8 28
5 16 +12 26
6 16 +9 26
7 16 -2 24
8 16 -4 23
9 16 +2 22
10 16 +3 21
11 16 -3 21
12 16 -3 19
13 16 -10 19
14 16 -5 17
15 16 -10 16
16 16 -5 15
17 16 -13 15
18 16 -13 14
19 16 -8 13
20 16 -12 10

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