Manchester City vs Everton: Five Key Battles

David Silva2

Everton head to City as the defending champions are clicking into gear, especially at the Eithad. Mancini may well shuffle his pack, but there are several key men you would expect to be on show against Moyes' side.

Here's a rundown of what might be the key battles on Saturday...

David Silva vs Darron Gibson

Silva is showing glimpses of his best form in a City shirt once again, with a run in the side bringing the brilliant Spaniard back up to speed. Gibson has recently returned from injury, and started the midweek match against Arsenal. Assuming Moyes' sticks with the former Manchester United man in midfield, a large part of his day will be spent trying to track and keep hold of Silva. If he lets the Spaniard get too much space in front of the defence, City will create plenty of chances.

Maicon vs Steven Pienaar

Maicon has started two of City's last three games, with his attacking breaks down the right flank giving them another option going forward. If Mancini chooses to go with the Brazilian again, he will have plenty of defensive work to carry out as well. Even with Pienaar looking out of sorts in recent games, his combination with Baines (if the left back is fit for the weekend) always carries a threat, and Maicon can't afford to give away too much space at the back. With that in mind there's a chance Mancini may plump for Zabaleta, but I'd expect to see Maicon in the starting eleven at the weekend.

Carlos Tevez vs Sylvain Distin

Tevez started on the bench in both of City's last two games, and there is a chance he'll be left there on Saturday as well, but it's more likely he was being given a rest and will come back into the team for the Everton match. The Argentinian has been in good form this season, keeping his head down in a welcome manner after last year's histrionics. Distin and the Everton defence will have plenty to think about with the mobility of City's attack, and Tevez is a key part of that. Keeping Tevez in check without allowing enough space for the rest of City's frontline is a nigh on impossible task, how Distin and the rest of the defence attempt it will be crucial to the outcome of the game.

Gareth Barry vs Marouane Fellaini

Barry has been consistent selection for City in recent games, and it is likely the Englishman who will be tasked with monitoring Fellaini's breaks from midfield. There's no understating the importance of the Belgian to Everton's cause, with Fellaini directly involved with almost every goal they've scored in recent matches. If Fellaini is kept quiet, then Everton will struggle to score on Saturday.

Matija Nastasic vs Nikica Jelavic

Nastasic has become an integral part of City's defence in the past couple of months, and has looked impressive in tandem with Kompany as City have tightened up. In contrast, Jelavic is in his worst form since joining Everton, and his lack of goals is a real worry for Moyes' side, who are almost completely reliant on Fellaini as a result. If Jelavic can't get on top of the defence early, then City could be set for a fourth clean sheet in a row.

images: © Lets Bike It, © letsbikeit

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch