By Amir Mir
Paul Merson has backed Manchester City to beat Everton 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at the Etihad stadium.
Sky Sports pundit Merson believes the Toffees have gone “off the boil” in recent weeks, and he doesn’t expect Pep Guardiola’s side to record back-to-back defeats.
City had their 100 per cent record to the start of the season ended by Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham prior to the international break when they were beaten 2-0 at White Hart Lane.
Now, former Arsenal midfielder Merson has given Everton manager Ronald Koeman an insight into how to beat City’s style of play in what will be a tough away fixture for the Merseyside club.
“Everton have gone off the boil a little bit recently and I don’t see how they can match Tottenham’s tempo when they beat Man City,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column. “They need to press high and make sure Claudio Bravo can’t pass it out.
“You let him kick it long because they have Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and David Silva, and none of them are over 5ft 8in.
“Teams are catching on to this because it forces City to take even more chances at the back, which gives you opportunities. But can Everton play that way for 90 minutes? I don’t think so.
“City always have a go and Everton will create chances, so it should be high scoring.”
Despite the defeat against Spurs, the Manchester club still top the Premier League table with 18 points, but are closely followed by Tottenham and Arsenal who are on 17 and 16 points respectively.
Koeman’s side have lost two and drawn one of their last three encounters in all competitions, including a 2-0 defeat to Championship outfit Norwich in the EFL Cup.
Nonetheless, they travel to the Etihad stadium in fifth place with 14 points and only five goals conceded in the league all season.
In other Everton team news, the Toffees have received a big boost as this senior trio have been declared fit for the Manchester City clash.