David Silva will return from injury to aid Manchester City’s attempt to end their poor recent run at Goodison Park and stay on course to lift the Premier League title.
Liverpool’s defeat against Chelsea last weekend has given City a surprising fresh chance to claim their second championship in three years. Three points behind Liverpool but with a game in hand and an eight-goal advantage in goal difference, City will likely be champions if they win their three remaining matches.
Those fixtures, though, begin with one which has provided City with a particularly tough challenge in recent years. City have won just once at Goodison Park in the last 22 years, and have lost on their last four visits. It comes as a significant boost then that Silva has shrugged off an ankle injury that has kept him out for close to two weeks.
“David is a very important player, so for him to be in the squad list is very important for us,” manager Manuel Pellegrini said, according to Manchester City’s official website.
Silva’s availability will present Pellegrini with a selection dilemma. The Spaniard enjoyed his best spell of the season when Sergio Aguero was out injured and Silva was given the freedom to roam in behind a lone striker. Aguero is now fit and in form, making his selection automatic. Although Edin Dzeko has scored five goals in his last seven appearances, the Bosnian striker may miss out if Silva is deemed fit enough to start.
They are options with which Everton Martinez is likely pretty envious right now. Everton suffered a costly defeat last time out to Southampton when they were missing central defensive duo Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, as well as Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar through injury.
There is some better news, with Martinez is confident that Jagielka will be involved after a 11-match absence and Distin also returning to training late this week. Distin remains a doubt, however, and with Jagielka having been missing for so long, his ability to play 90 minutes is surely in question. Adding to Everton’s problems on Sunday will be the fact that Gareth Barry, so key to their fine season, will be unable to play against his parent club.
Given that Everton now lie four points behind Arsenal in the battle for fourth place with only two matches remaining, some have suggested that they would have one eye on the fact that a win over City, while doing themselves few favors, would greatly aid the title chances of their local rivals, Liverpool. But Martinez scoffed at such an idea and insisted that his side will be going all out to get a victory in their final home match of the campaign.
“I don’t think there is any doubt over the integrity of our football club towards the league and the competition,” he said, according to Everton’s official website. “We are a football club that wants to win every single game we go into. Helping other teams is not the way we do our work. We are only focused on winning for ourselves and setting high standards in every game we go into. “We have been outstanding at home when you look at the results against similar teams like Arsenal and Manchester United, and now we have to carry on at that sort of level. For us it is important that we can give a proper send-off for our fans in the last home game of the season and we want to give a performance to remember.”
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League clash will kick off at 12.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by CNBC, with a live stream available via NBC Sports Live Extra.