Premier League

Everton-Manchester City Preview

Rafael Benitez will not use Everton's injury issues as an excuse when they travel to Manchester City, who have themselves been dealt a major blow heading into Sunday's match.

The Toffees have been without a number of key men in recent weeks, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure still a few weeks from a return to action.

Yerry Mina, Tom Davies and Andre Gomes are also injured, while Mason Holgate is suspended this weekend and Gylfi Sigurdsson is not being considered for selection.

Everton's injuries have coincided with a loss of form, having collected two points from the last 15 on offer, but Benitez is trying to remain positive.

"Sometimes you can manage the injuries but when you have metatarsal and knee, you just try to bring them back as soon as possible and safe," the Spaniard said.

"The team started really well and we have had some issues and hopefully the players coming back can give us a boost for the second part of the season.

"All the teams in the world need some results and confidence. The commitment and intensity is positive. We did it in some games. I still expect the team to get a result.

"We have to change, adapt and use our squad. You have to manage and get best from players available, like we did in the draw with Tottenham."

City cruised to a 2-0 win over Manchester United last time out to keep within touching distance of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

However, the reigning champions have been rocked by the news that Kevin De Bruyne will miss their next three games after testing positive for coronavirus.

That leaves Pep Guardiola with a void to fill, but the Catalan coach's main concern is De Bruyne's wellbeing.

"We found out two days ago, he is here," Guardiola said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "Forget about fitness and momentum, he is positive now he has to recover.

"We have to be careful as people are dying from Covid. He is vaccinated so hopefully he will be okay. There is no concern about rhythm; it's about the human being."

Manchester City - Gabriel Jesus

Jesus started both of Brazil's World Cup qualifiers but should be back available this weekend thanks to the extra day's rest. That is good news for City as the versatile forward has scored eight goals in eight league games against Everton, averaging a goal every 69 minutes - against no team does he perform better.

Everton - Richarlison

Everton have no such fears over Richarlison's fitness as the Brazilian was not called up by his national side this month, giving him two weeks to regain full fitness. The 24-year-old has two goals in seven league outings this term and could do with getting a run of starts under his belt between now and the end of the year.

- Man City have won their last seven Premier League matches against Everton, scoring 21 times and conceding only five.

- Everton have only lost eight or more consecutive Premier League matches against an opponent once previously, losing nine in a row against Manchester United between December 1999 and February 2004.

- Among teams who have never won the Premier League title themselves, Everton have won more Premier League matches against the reigning champions than anyone else (14). They also won their last such match, winning 2-0 at rivals Liverpool in February last season.

- Manchester City have lost four Premier League home games in 2021, including a 2-0 loss last time out against Crystal Palace. This is just one fewer home league defeats than they suffered in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined (five), while they last lost more in a calendar year at the Etihad in 2010 (five).

- Everton are winless in their last five Premier League games (D2 L3), with the Toffees last having a longer run without a win in the competition in January 2018 under Sam Allardyce (six).

Updated November 20, 2021