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 Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray will need to be influential

Things get a little easier from here, you have the two extremely hard-working wingers in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend providing service to the superb, technically gifted Richarlison, who could get his season rolling with a big performance at the Etihad.

Everton’s main goal-scoring opportunities will come on the counter-attack, this is something the squad are already used to so it shouldn’t be too difficult for them, but it’s defensively where Toffees fans are probably worrying. Everton have been woeful from the back, especially when it comes to conceding from set-pieces, where the lack of communication has cost them way too many times already at this point in the season.

Yerry Mina continues to have little injuries, Michael Keane has had some decent performances but his lapses in concentration have cost him multiple times this season, and Everton’s best player last season Ben Godfrey is still struggling with the effects of COVID-19. Mason Holgate hasn’t been given too much of a chance this season, but after his red-card against Spurs, Benitez will have to go with Keane and Godfrey as likely starters and Jarrad Branthwaite on the bench.

To sum this up, Everton need to play very direct, they need to break forward with pace and catch the City defence off-guard if they want to score goals. They also need to continue with their pressing system while trying to keep Cancelo on the outside, stuffing his chances on making those inside runs that punish so many teams, this could force mistakes out of City that Everton can capitalise on.

A win for Everton isn’t very likely at all, they haven’t beaten Manchester City since that 4-0 win in January 2017, being beaten seven times in the league since then, but Benitez wants to bring stability to a typically unstable club, and one of the best ways he can do that is by taking points off Manchester City to end Everton’s poor run of form.

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