Manchester City can crank up the pressure in the Premier League title race by moving ahead of leaders Liverpool on goal difference with victory at Everton on Wednesday – but will the defending champions seize their chance? City have actually lost three of their last five Premier League away matches and in the past they could have easily slipped up here. However, Everton are in a very bad place at the moment and City should capitalise. Pep Guardiola will be forced into changes when Manchester City travel to Everton on Wednesday given the quick turnaround between matches. Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and John Stones will hope to start after dropping to the bench in Sunday’s 3-1 win at home to Arsenal. Everton’s poor run of form continued at the weekend after being beaten 3-1 at home to Wolves. Marco Silva is under huge pressure following a run of just three wins in 12 in the Premier League. Manchester City have the opportunity to apply even more pressure on Liverpool in midweek. This match was originally scheduled for the end of the month but has been brought forward due to the fact Pep Guardiola’s side are in the Carabao Cup final.
In Spain the second El Clasico of the season is set for Wednesday as Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinals. Barcelona have named Lionel Messi in the squad to face Real Madrid in today’s semi-final first leg, but will “wait until the last moment” to decide if he plays. The Argentine returned to training on Tuesday after suffering a thigh injury in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Valencia. Madrid were in disarray after the last meeting between these two Spanish giants as Barca moved back to the top of the table, seven points clear of ninth placed Madrid. However, Los Blancos have moved up to third in the table – eight points behind Barcelona – having won their past four league games, and they are just two matches from a cup final. Whether it’s a sign of defiance or just tempting fate, manager Santiago Solari says he hopes Messi is fit for the first leg.