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It seems remarkable that these two teams haven’t met in the FA Cup for 40 years, but then rival fans will point out that Manchester City only seem to face pub teams and primary schools whenever a cup draw is made.
And if City supporters are looking for an omen ahead of this match, the last two times that these clubs have clashed in this competition their side has gone on to reach the final.
Not that you have to cling to mumbo jumbo like omens when your team has won 24 of their last 25 matches in all competitions, with one of the victories a routine stroll at Goodison Park last month. In that match, Pep Guardiola’s side scored three times while Everton only had three shots. Is there any hope here at all for the Toffees?
Saturday 17:30: Everton v Man City
BT Sport 1
It’s hard to make a serious case for Everton, particularly with their record at home being as ropey as it is. They have only won five of their 14 matches at Goodison in the Premier League this season, and just one of the last seven there inside 90 minutes in all competitions.
And that says nothing for their wretched record against the champions-elect. City have won the last six meetings by an aggregate score of 16-5, and have only lost one of their previous 15 against Everton in the league.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will have to cling to memories of a League Cup semi-final first leg win in 2016, and an emphatic 4-0 victory in January 2017 as the rocks in the stormy seas of their recent history with City. But as the visitors don’t even have any players absent through injury to hinder them, they should brush Everton aside and progress into the last four.
The odds naturally reflect that this is the most likely outcome, so to give our Bet Builder a small shot in the arm, take the handicap option. Five of the last six meetings – including the last four straight on Merseyside – have seen the Citizens win by two goals, and it’s hard to see this one being any different.
It won’t be surprising to see the visitors set the ball rolling early in this match either. City have only failed to net in the first half of five of their 14 matches on the road in the 2020/21 Premier League, with their 16 away goals the most any club has mustered before the interval this season.
Everton have been very accommodating hosts this term too. Only Marcelo Bielsa’s banter boys at Elland Road have kept fewer first half clean sheets on their own patch than the Toffees have, which goes a long way towards explaining why their home record leaves so much to be desired. Bank on City netting in the first half on Saturday, just as they have on their last four visits to Goodison Park.
But that isn’t to say that Carlo Ancelotti’s side can’t make a decent fist of it and get on the score sheet at some point. They’ve only failed to score in four of their home league matches this season, and it has occurred more frequently against teams in the bottom half of the table rather than the front runners for some reason.
Since the beginning of 2019/20, the Blues have hosted one of the traditional big six sides 11 times in the league and only failed to score twice, with both instances occurring last season. Pep should field his reserve goalie Zack Steffen for this one, which makes it only more likely that both teams will score (sorry, Zack).
Gabriel Jesus may have failed to score in the recent meeting between these teams, but he did set up a goal for Bernardo Silva and he has an excellent record against Everton. The Brazilian had netted in his five previous appearances against the Toffees prior to that last clash, and with seven goals scored in total they represent his favourite opponent from across his career.
Jesus is on a nice run of form too, with eight goals in his last 10 starts for the Citizens. As that run includes the previous two rounds of the FA Cup, what more reason do you need to back him to score first here?
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