Everton vs Manchester City | Monday 28th December 2020, 20:00 | Amazon Prime
Both Everton and Manchester City will be looking build on Boxing Day victories in this top of the table clash at Goodison Park. Amidst a leg-sapping festive schedule, Monday evening’s fixture could be a game to many so don't expect fireworks on the run up to New Year.
In mid-December, Carlo Ancelotti was forced to go to a flat back four of four centre backs and since then Everton's PPDA (passes per defensive action) has sky rocketed. Prior to the tweak, they were averaging 10.77 PPDA (11th), since then it has doubled to 21.88 (1st.)
In a nutshell, they are not pressing which means their opposition now dominate possession and rack up the passes. Bet365's price of 5/6 for Ruben Dias to attempt 80.5 Passes takes appeal. He has averaged 83.1 passes in the Premier League this season, hitting this line in half of his appearances.
Carlo Ancelotti's new set-up has made his side very hard to beat. Since the switch vs Chelsea, Everton have conceded just one goal domestically and averaged an xGA of just 0.46 pG, Staggeringly only 21.4% of Man City's EPL games have seen Over 2.5 Goal this season – in fact, their 5-0 win over Burnley was the only game in their last 12 to see three or more goals.
Given the underlying data I was shocked to see Under 2.5 Goals at odds-against with most bookmakers. Personally, I have opted for Under 3.0 Goals at 1.88 on the Asian Goals Line with Bet365, this gives you the added security of a refund if the game features three goals. SBK's price of 20/1 for a 0-0 draw also takes appeal.
Only Mo Salah, Patrick Bamford and Harry Kane have a higher SpG average then De Buyne's 3.4 this season. The Belgian playmaker is averaging 0.98 SoT per 90 minutes and has registered at least one in 84% of his last six league appearances.
DCL tops Everton's charts for SpG (2.9) and has averaged 1.63 SoT per 90 minutes this season. He has registered six shots on target in his last five but since Ancelotti switched to a flat back four the goals have dried up, however, this should make him hungrier then ever to re-find his form.
My final selection for this fixture comes courtesy of my favourite market; Whoscored's Man of the Match. Betfair and Paddy Power offer are the only bookies to offer prices on this accolade and it is awarded to the player who has the greatest rating due to a cumulation of statistics. As a pose to MOTM markets, it is awarded on merit instead of opinion.
Calvert-Lewin is 30/1 to win WS MOTM vs Man City and for that reason alone I think it is a pick. The Englishman has found his feet this season and with eleven goals to his name he is the leagues joint-second highest scorer and has contributed to 42% of the Toffee's total goals.
In terms of Whoscored rating's, he has the second highest average rating for Everton (7.47), has won the award the joint most times (2) and he is in the EPL's best XI. It is also worth noting that only De Bruyne (7.48) has a better average rating for the season and even then it is only fractionally – literally one decimal point- better than DCL's.
Therefore, if Everton can get a result this bet has every chance.
Everton vs Manchester City – Ruben Dias Over 80.5 Passes (5/6 Bet365)
Everton vs Manchester City – Under 3.0 Asian Goals (9/10 Bet365)
Everton vs Manchester City – 0-0 Correct Score (20/1 SKB)
Everton vs Manchester City – Dominic Calvert-Lewin and KevinDe Bruyne 1 SoT Each (13/10 Betfair)
Everton vs Manchester City – Dominic Calvert-Lewin Whoscored MOTM (30/1 Betfair)