A win at Eastlands on Monday night will see Manchester City lead the top flight at Christmas for the first time in 81 years.
With snow causing major disruptions to the Premier League fixtures, City will be the only top five team to play this weekend and three points against Everton will see them leapfrog Manchester United and Arsenal to take top spot.
City come into the game unbeaten in their last nine games despite struggling to score in Premier League games. Since the humiliation of the 3-0 defeat at home to Arsenal in October, Mancini’s side has scored have kept three clean sheets at Eastlands with goalless draws against Manchester United and Birmingham followed by a 1-0 against Bolton Wanderers just over a fortnight ago.
Everton are finding it tough this season and sit just two points above a relegation spot without a win in seven games. David Moyes team desperately need to get something from this match or face a bleak Christmas, but will take some encouragement from recent head-to-head form with City, having won on their last three visits.
The best odds for a City win are 4/5 with Betfred and Victor Chandler while Everton are a generally available at odds of 4/1. The draw odds are 13/5 with half a dozen bookmakers, with City struggling to score at home and Everton having drawn their last four away games in the Premier League, it could be a popular bet.
Mancini has said he will play Carlos Tevez in Monday’s game, despite the Argentinian striker’s controversial announcement that he wants to leave City and it remains to be seen if he will retain his captaincy. Tevez missed the 3-1 win against West Ham at Upton Park last weekend and was rested for the Europa League trip to Juventus in midweek, it will be hoped he can lift his spirits and get City back into scoring ways in front of home fans.
Fellow striker Mario Balotelli also missed the Juventus game and is expected to line up front with Tevez. The pair head the First Goalscorer betting, bwin stand out at 9/2 for Tevez to score first while Coral and Stan James have the best odds for Balotelli at 5/1.
Aleksandar Kolarov is eligible having served his ban for the sending off against Bolton but Nigel de Jong’s yellow card at West Ham means he will miss the game under the totting up procedure.
Moyes could be struggling for creative options in midfield, Steven Pienaar is doubtful with an ankle problem and Mikel Arteta will sit out the final game of his three match ban. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is expected to be called in to play wide on the right.
Tim Cahill remains the Everton dangerman and the attacking midfielder has eight goals already this season, scoring three in the last five games, he is generally available at 9/1 to open the scoring and 3/1 to score at anytime.
MAN CITY: Hart, Richards, Kompany, K Toure, Kolarov, Silva, Barry, Y Toure, Milner, Tevez, Balotelli.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov; Cahill; Saha