Wayne Rooney made it two in two and became only the second player to reach 200 Premier League goals as he secured a point for Everton this evening.
Ronald Koeman approached the game defensively going with 5 at the back and without a recognised winger. A smart tactic when playing away to a free flowing attacking Manchester City side.
The first half started slowly and it was Everton who had the first sighter with Dominic Calvert-Lewin trying a speculative shot from range. City kept possession brilliantly and were looking to work their way towards an opportunity. They had a free kick and a couple of corners in the opening quarter of an hour but failed to create any significant openings as Everton’s rear guard looked comfortable.
Everton’s first real chance came via a Pickford bullet pass downfield to DCL, he held the ball up well as he did all night and laid off Tom Davies, who should have done better than drag his shot wide. The Toffees broke away again shortly after and won a corner, but it came to nothing. That was the Blues’ last chance before taking the lead as City had a couple of big chances to score.
Centre back Nicolas Otamendi found himself in shooting range and drilled a shot at Pickford who could only push it out towards the Argentine danger man Sergio Aguero. He dinked a goal bound shot over the Everton keeper but Phil Jagielka managed to steer the ball over the bar. Less than a minute later the home side struck the Everton woodwork.
Roles were reversed as Aguero turned provider for David Silva, playing a sumptuous ball into the Spaniard, who took a touch and blasted his shot off the post. It was a big let off for The Toffees and a missed chance that would prove costly to City as around 30 seconds later Everton snatched the lead.
Leroy Sane played a slack back pass towards City captain Vincent Kompany which was intercepted by the energetic DCL. The youngster approached the box and found Holgate in space, he checked back and slid the ball towards Rooney who side footed home for his 9th league goal against Man City and his 200th in the Premier League. It was against the run of play but it was a goal of high quality nonetheless.
As half time approached Everton were handed a huge favour courtesy of Kyle Walker, making his home debut for the Citizens. The wing back lunged in on Leighton Baines to earn a caution and just two minutes later he was deemed to have intentionally made contact with DCL and received a second yellow and an early bath in City’s new multi-million pound bathroom.
It was a top class performance from Everton in the first period as they kept City at bay for the most part and broke away dangerously when they could. The second period began in similar vein as City’s efforts met the Everton defence like water on rock. The centre back trio of Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams proving difficult to break down for the home side. City’s only real chance of the second period’s opening 20 minutes was a free kick on the edge of the box however Kevin De Bruyne slammed his attempt into the wall.
Everton brought on Gylfi Sigurdsson for his first appearance on the hour mark, with Davy Klaassen also entering the fray, in a strange swap for centre back Williams. The Everton defence was coping well until this point and the departure of Williams seemed to unsettle the Blues rear guard. DCL was beginning to get isolated up front as Rooney tired and Everton’s counter attacks began to become less and less threatening as the minutes dragged on. Bernardo Silva came on to replace Leroy Sane for his Etihad debut and was involved immediately as David Silva cushioned an Aguero cross into his namesakes path, but he failed to properly connect with his strike.
City were beginning to force clear cut openings and it felt like a matter of time before they found a leveller, if you’d missed the first half it would have been hard to believe it was City who were a man down. Sterling wasted a phenomenal opportunity, after Aguero had beautifully laid the ball off for him from a De Bruyne through ball. The England winger had Pickfords’ goal at his mercy but failed to test the Everton stopper as he blazed his chance over. A few minutes later and Pickford would be forced into a save. Sterling made a nuisance of himself on the right hand side and allowed fellow substitute Danilo to venture forward. The right back escaped Jagielka’s attentions as Sterling slipped him in and he looked certain to score, but once again Pickford was Everton’s hero and kept the Blues in front.
Pickford’s efforts would be fruitless however as the inevitable City equaliser came with eight minutes remaining. Danilo managed to curl a ball into the box which should have been easily dealt with by Mason Holgate, however the England under 21 internationals headed clearance was tame and fell right to the boot of Sterling who slammed home a first time volley to secure a deserved point for the home side.
It was a disappointing blow for an Everton side that had worked extremely hard on the evening, however sitting back and absorbing pressure is always going to allow the opposition chances.
The game would end all square but not before Schneiderlin received a second yellow and followed Walker down the tunnel. Replays showed that he had won the ball but it was a silly challenge to make on a caution. After being a goal and a man up it would be easy to be unhappy with the end result but it's a result before kick off any Evertonian would be happy with and the lads showed tremendous fight in one of the tougher away games they'll play this season.