3 Key Battles That Could Decide Manchester City's Clash With Everton on Monday

Manchester City and Everton lock horns on Monday night knowing only a victory will do for either side even that this stage of the campaign. Each club could land a blow to their opponents' early season optimism by condemning them to defeat, but the encounter will be a tight affair given the array of talent on show. Which key battles will prove to be crucial to whichever outfit comes out on top though? Here's a trio of on the pitch skirmishes we expect to be integral to each side's chances of...

Sergio Aguero vs Michael Keane

Sergio Aguero's goalscoring ability needs no introduction - but the Argentine striker will not exactly be relishing another clash against the Toffees.

The 29-year-old has only ever notched three goals in 13 appearances against Everton, and he will come up against a formidable foe in the form of summer recruit Michael Keane.

The £30m acquisition from Burnley has begun life at Goodison as if he's been there his whole career, and has helped the Blues record four successive clean sheets from their four competitive outings already this term.

If Aguero harbours hopes of securing all three points for his team then he'll have to get the better of Keane et al.

Fernandinho vs Idrissa Gana Gueye

Fernandinho and Gueye will butt heads on Monday with the defensive midfield enforcers tasked with overturning possession for their respective sides.

The duo have become vital components of City's and Everton's engine rooms, and their relentless energy levels mean that they will contest every single ball for the entire 90 minutes.

Gueye will be the busier of the two as City are more likely to have the lion's share of the possession, but Fernandinho will also have to guard against the Blues' own ball keeping ability and counter attacks.

Whoever comes out on top in the middle of the park in winning loose balls, tackles and making interceptions will go a long way to securing victory for their team.

Ederson vs Wayne Rooney

The boyhood Blue marked his return to Everton with a fairytale goal in last Saturday's win over Stoke City, and Manchester United legend Rooney won't need any further motivation to bag a decisive strike against his former side's arch rivals.

Standing in his way will be summer buy Ederson, and the ex-Benfica goalkeeper will have to be alert to chalk up his second clean sheet in as many games for the Citizens.

Their 23-year-old looked a tad shaky at times on his debut for Pep Guardiola's men against Brighton last time out, and he will require all of his experience to keep Rooney, who has 11 goals in 29 games against them, at bay.

Doing so will help City on their way to a possible triumph. Failure, however, could hand Ronald Koeman's charges a victory of their own.

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