Everton's season looks done and dusted while City have everything to play for - Joe Dyer just can't oppose the Premier League favourites in this Saturday evening clash...
"The potential absentees really weaken Everton defensively and up against an opponent with everything to play for I have to side with the visiting side in some way."
Everton v Manchester City
Saturday May 2, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
After a barnstorming run that had the fans believing in a top four finish, defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace and then Southampton coupled with Arsenal's three-game winning streak mean the dream is as good as over. That will have undoubtedly taken some of the wind out of Everton's sails but fifth place is still in their hands and you can bet your bottom dollar manager Robeto Martinez will be talking a good game ahead of the Toffees' last home game of a fantastic season. And the fans will be in good voice too, as they show their appreciation to the side and the manager for what has been a fine campaign.
Worryingly, Martinez has injury problems at the back with Sylvain Distin unlikely to feature and Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka both doubtful, which could mean a reprisal of the Antolin Alcaraz-John Stones partnership. Meanwhile, Gareth Barry cannot feature against his parent club and Kevin Mirallas is definitely out. Those absences could prove key against a team that has scored 93 goals.
Seemingly written off in the title race - they were backed at a high of 10.09/1 in the Betfair market - City are now slight (1.910/11) favourites to win the Premier League following Livepool's slip at home to Chelsea last weekend. The equation is simple for Manuel Pellegrini's side - win the last three games and the title will surely be theirs thanks to a handy +58 goal difference that is eight better than Liverpool's.
Pellegrini will be missing David Silva and Jesus Navas but Pellegrini has all his other principal attackers available.
Match Odds/Over 2.5 Goals
City arrive at Goodison Park on the back of a two-game winning streak and are strongly favoured to make it three, trading at just 1.794/5 in the match odds. Everton, beaten just twice in the league this year, are the 5.04/1 outsiders with the draw a 4.1 shot.
Ordinarily, at those prices I'd be keen to get against City in some way - Everton's home record this year is right up there, taking maximum points from 13 games and drawing three while losing just twice.
They also boast a fantastic recent record against Saturday's opponents, Opta telling us that Everton have won nine of their last 13 Barclays Premier League meetings with City (D1 L3).
But the potential absentees really weaken Everton defensively and up against an opponent with everything to play for I have to side with the visiting side in some way.
Though Silva and Navas will be missed, City still have plenty of goalscorers in their potential lineup - Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Samir Nasri have 62 between them - and a second-string Everton backline could be opened up a few times.
Rather than take odds-on in the match odds I'm keen to play a bigger price with a back of City and overs - a double that can currently be backed at 2.3811/8, though I'd hope to get matched at around 2.56/4 in what is a slightly illiquid market at present.
To Score/First Goalscorer
Make no mistake, though the pool of talent at the Etihad is deep, Sergio Aguero is City's key man. When he's fit, he plays, and there are signs that the Argentine is returning to his destructive best. Aguero has featured four times since returning from injury, starting the last three and playing more than an hour in the last two, scoring against West Brom.
The 25-year-old scored heavily earlier this season, hitting the back of the net in eight consecutive games until injuring himself against Tottenham. In 32 appearances he has 27 goals. If City are to win - and that is my expectation - then Aguero will be to the fore. At 6.05/1 he is a decent first scorer bet.
This has been a fantastic season at Goodison Park but the feeling is that the main goal has been achieved while for City the big prize awaits. The visitors have so much more to play for and can land a vital win, powered by their Agentinian genius upfront.
Back City/Over 2.5 Goals double @ better than 2.56/4
Back Sergio Aguero to score first @ 6.05/1