Tactical Breakdown: How can Rafa Benitez’s Everton halt Manchester City’s Winning Machine?

Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /
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Everton (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

Everton enjoyed a strong start but the early season upstart faded away

It’s been a bumpy road for Everton fans this season, a high-flying start that saw the Toffees give fans the same optimism they had at the start of the 20/21 season was crushed in even earlier fashion as a combination of injury, poor form and even poorer results meant that Rafa Benitez’s men slip into the bottom half of the Premier League, where they currently sit 11th in the table.

On the other hand, Manchester City have continued to show they are one of the best sides in world football. The Cityzens currently sit in third, but if they can beat the Toffees then they will climb back to the second spot, behind Chelsea.

Pep Guardiola’s side have only lost two games this season, the first game of their campaign against Spurs and a shock 2-0 defeat to Patrick Vieira’s overachieving Crystal Palace side. Guardiola will be desperate to win this game to keep his grasp on the Premier League, but a victory for Benitez’s Toffees side isn’t out of the question.

Everton have shown the heart necessary to battle against a team with more quality this season, the previous game against Spurs being an example, where the Toffees were a questionable penalty decision away from snatching three points from under Antonio Conte’s nose.

The only problem is the side don’t seem to consistently show this heart, with some players seemingly switching off when the game gets too tough for them, but it isn’t impossible to coach this out of players, or even offer players who will work the opportunity to play. Everton are not expected to win this game, but just like Tom Davies in early 2017, players will be handed a prime opportunity to prove themselves to Rafa Benitez in this game.