Poor Everton. Having edged ahead of Arsenal in the race for fourth place over the last fortnight, the Toffees now lie a point behind the Gunners – who are back into 9/50 to retain their place amongst the elite – after losing 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace.
But wait! Roberto Martinez’s 33/10 top-four tilt may not be over after all, as his team have a Man City outfit in wretched form to come at Goodison Park and, following their lucky draw at home to Sunderland, Manuel Pellegrini’s side’s place at the top table may not be as secure as first imagined.
City are just five points ahead of Everton and still have to face Martinez’s men at Goodison Park.
The Toffees are in much better form than the 2011/12 champions, who have failed to win eight of their 15 games since thumping Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane back in the last knockings of January.
Everton, on the other hand, were attempting to win their eighth Premier League game on the spin against Palace and their tenth in a row at home in all competitions.
There’s every reason to believe that Martinez will reignite the fire in his troops’ bellies ahead of matches against Manchester United, Southampton, City and Hull.
Before the clash with Everton, the blue half of Manchester must travel south to take on Crystal Palace, who currently sit third in the Premier League form table.
Tony Pulis’ side have won four and drawn one of their last six matches, with famous victories claimed against Chelsea and now the Toffees.
The Eagles are set to have a huge say in where the title ends up as City and Liverpool – the 8/15 favourites to top the table – are both due for Selhurst Park examinations.
Pellegrini’s men’s other matches – at home to West Brom, Aston Villa and West Ham – can no longer be automatically marked off as home wins, following the Etihad stalemate with Sunderland.
The assumption went that, after City had pocketed 42 points from 45 available at home prior to the 2-2 draw against Gus Poyet’s men, they would steamroll any remaining visitors this term.
Considering they couldn’t beat the rock-bottom Black Cats in front of their Poznan-performing faithful, all bets are now off regarding Man City’s top-four challenge.