The last game of this weekend sees title favourites, Manchester City host Everton.
Both sides have spent massive bucks over the summer with the Toffees bring in more players at lower prices. Could their spending help them land City into a sticky situation?
Man City are set to welcome back Iikay Gundogan from a eight month lay off with injury.
They are however still missing Fabian Delph and new signing, Benjamin Mendy. Both players are back in training but not expected to be fit enough till Saturday at earliest.
Everton boss, Ronald Koeman could hand his £45m signing, Gylfi Sigurdsson a debut, despite not being in top form fitness wise.
Exciting star, Sandro Ramirez could feature after missing Thursday’s match against Hajduk Split with a heel problem.
This is the first Monday Night Football of this season and there is an interesting stat between MNF and the season’s champions. As a result, could this be where the 2017-18 champions are effectively crowned?
So far this decade has seen seven of the eight opening MNF winners go on to become champions at end of that season with five of those clubs being a team in blue.
The only exception is 2012 when Everton beat Manchester United and it was the latter who ended up as champions. Either way, the team in blue has won each of the last five opening MNF games.
What makes this slightly different is that its the first MNF this decade to not be played on the opening weekend. Just how significant could that be in destabilising the trend?
City’s cards to lose
In terms of omens, Man City hold the cards as far as this fixture goes.
Under Pep Guardiola, the Citizens lost just one of their 22 home games last season. At the same time, Everton failed to beat a top six side on the road throughout the whole season.
City are also yet to lose an opening home match in the Premier League era placing further pressure onto the visitors, whose last away win came at Crystal Palace in January.
History for Rooney
Wayne Rooney netted the winner against Stoke last weekend and needs just one more goal to become only the second player to net 200 Premier League goals.
Alan Shearer is currently the only man to achieve that feat and coincidentally is also top for goals scored against the Sky Blues. Rooney sits just behind him on eight so expect to see the England captain causing problems here.
Realistically the win looks set to be Man City’s but the last time Everton played in the first MNF of a new season, they beat City’s local rivals – United by a goal to nil.
With it being a new season and the visitors pretty much a changed side from January’s 4-0 win at Goodison Park, we can see a much closer game. Contrasting home/away form for either side will count for nothing meaning that a draw is probably likely.
I however can see a open match with both teams scoring. City will however have that bit extra fitness to help avoid a sticky draw.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Jake predicts: Manchester City 2-0 Everton
Result: Manchester City 1-1 Everton