That said, it was a very mixed performance, with Silva experimenting throughout and the Blues ending very positively.
But what do the numbers show us?
City controlled the game with 67% possession
Okay, we had our chances and ended the game brightly, but for the first time this season, there was a gulf in class between Everton and our opponents.
Although results haven’t gone our way, the Blues went toe-to-toe with Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool. The same can’t be said at the Etihad. This was a game City controlled – as they always do – with 67% possession.
But it was the first half they truly controlled, having 71% of the ball and taking nine shots to Everton’s two.
xG map for Manchester City - Everton— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 15, 2018
so... uh... city aren't back just quite yet maybe pic.twitter.com/5JOKnfnCyW
Shaky Back Three
Mina completed just 68.4% of first half passes
Marco Silva surprised a few by opting to play three centre-backs for this game, and it was an understandable decision.
Unfortunately, it didn’t come off, with Yerry Mina looking especially uncomfortable.
The issue wasn’t so much defensively, but instead a possession issue, with the three monster centre-backs seeming unsure where to play the ball.
At half-time, Yerry Mina had a pitiful pass success rate of 68.4%, while Zouma (76.9%) and Keane (80%) fared little better. To put these figures into perspective, all three of these excellent central defenders have significantly better average rates this season (Zouma 87.9%, Mina 85.9% and Keane 81.7%).
When Everton switched to a back four just before the hour mark, the Blues improved significantly, as did their defensive passing.
Despite having three excellent centre-halves on our books, I don’t expect to be seeing this experiment again for a while.
Impressive Walcott Cameo
Winger completed more dribbles than in last three starts combined
I’ve been on Theo Walcott’s case for a few months now, but he put in a sterling performance from the bench against City and could have scored.
In just over half an hour on the pitch, Walcott completed more dribbles (two) than in his last three matches combined. He also matched number of defensive contributions (one), accurate crosses (one) and key passes (one) over the same period, while also completing an excellent 90% of his passes.
This was a performance much more reminiscent of those produced by Walcott when he first joined less than a year ago.
Coleman’s Struggles Continue
Full-back completed just 57.1% of passes
Seamus Coleman has still yet to consistently find the top form he exhibited prior to his awful leg break, and the full-back was brought off with over half an hour to go at the Etihad after completing just 57.1% of his passes.
It was interesting to see Kurt Zouma move to right-back in his place – and perform well. Whether Silva sees Zouma in this role going forward only time will tell. Competition for places can only help Seamus, though.
Calvert-Lewin’s Aerial Prowess
Youngster won five headers at City – second highest on the pitch
I find it hard to predict the career path of Calvert-Lewin. On the one hand, he possesses outstanding physical and athletic attributes, plus a great attitude; but on the other, his touch and finishing can really let him down.
One area that DCL is undoubtedly thriving is in the air. As well as his excellent headed goal, the England under-21 international also won five aerial duels – four more than any other player in royal blue.
Indeed, his goal against City was his fifth goal of the season – four of which have been scored using his head.
Even more impressively, Calvert-Lewin has scored averaged a goal ever 95.5 minutes for Everton this season. Opportunity beckons.