English Premier League

Manchester City v Everton: Back Citizens to cover the handicap

Pep Guardiola - Man City
Man City have claimed seven successive victories

Manchester City meet Everton at The Etihad in Saturday's early Premier League encounter. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is backing the Blues to avoid defeat.

Manchester City 1.211/5 can temporarily go top of the Premier League table on Saturday should the Citizens take top honours in their home fixture against Everton. Pep Guardiola's group come into the clash hot on the heels of a seventh successive win since claiming the Club World Cup, with Phil Foden's hat-trick inspiring a 3-1 victory at Brentford on Monday.

After falling behind to a breakaway Bees goal in the 21st minute, it took a heroic performance from Brentford keeper Mark Flekken to keep the defending champions at bay until Foden struck in first-half stoppage time. The in-form City forward's goal gave the Citizens the added momentum they needed as they eventually ran out comfortable winners.

Overall, it was an ominous City performance as Guardiola's group begin to click into gear ahead of the title race run-in, whilst the match on Monday also saw world-class duo Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne start a game together for the first time since the opening night of the season back in August. The hosts now have a full squad available for Saturday.

Everton 17.0016/1 claimed a well-earned late point against Tottenham in an enjoyable 2-2 draw at Goodison Park last weekend with Toffees supporters hoping Jarrad Branthwaite's last-gasp equaliser may provide the inspiration to kick-start their campaign.

Sean Dyche's men have won just once in their last 10 across all competitions and sit inside the drop-zone.

Dyche was pleased with his side's efforts post-match, saying: "There are so many good things and so much character in the team. It shows even when we're stretched, young lads coming off the bench, there are good signs about what we are trying to achieve here amid all the adversity and all the noise." However, Dyche will serve a touchline ban on Saturday.

Everton are hoping to have a few more numbers back for the trip to The Etihad - Arnaut Danjuma and Andre Gomes look likely to miss out but Ben Godfrey, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Amadou Onana could be back in the fold to bolster the Toffees defensive and midfield options.

City well-capable of covering the handicap

Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League matches against Everton (W11-D2-L0), since January 2017. The Citizens have also suffered a solitary home reverse in 35 EPL outings at The Etihad (W29-D5-L1), highlighting their dominance. Pep Guardiola's group have also posted W49-D5-L2 since 2018/19 when welcoming bottom-half teams here.

A huge 73% of those Man City fixtures against the lesser Premier League lights have seen the hosts triumph by a margin of two goals or more and Everton arrive at The Etihad having already returned W1-D0-L4 away at top-half teams this term, with three of those league losses incurred by at least two strikes. A similar outcome could be in the offing on Saturday.

I'm therefore happy to attack the Man City -1.5 & -2.0 Asian Handicap option at 1.784/5. This wager will see us profit should the Citizens win the match by two goals or more with a full-stakes pay-out earned if City run out victorious by three goals or more.

Everton were well beaten 3-1 in the reverse encounter in late December and City have gotten stronger since.

Back Man City -1.5 & -2.0 Asian Handicap @ 1.784/5

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Mark's 2023/24 Profit/Loss

Staked: 56 pts

Returned: 67.64 pts

P/L: +11.64 pts

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.