Match was over in the first five minutes
As soon as Leroy Sane smashed a volley into the net in the fourth minute, it was clear that this was going to be a long day for Everton. In many cases the opposing team can score early in the match, but it still feels close. This was not one of those matches as Manchester City had an unrelenting grip on the tempo of the game right from the opening whistle.
If it hadn’t been Everton at the receiving end of City’s fury, this would have been an amazing game to watch. The decisiveness and skill with which Pep Guardiola’s team play is nothing short of impressive. At no point in this match did Everton have an answer for the lightning quick pace at which City play. On one of City’s goals I counted 13 seconds from Everton turning the ball over in the offensive third to the ball sliding past Jordan Pickford. If it wasn’t so depressing it would have been amazing.
Everton had no options to counter City
There was no line up that Everton had at their disposal this season or in recent seasons that would have been able to effectively counter how City played today. In most losses there are missing players or fumbled tactical decisions that can be highlighted as the reason for a loss. As the game wore on, I struggled to find anything that Sam Allardyce could have done tactically or personnel-wise that would have made this game any less of a mess.
Had Everton played a more aggressive, pressing style they would have been torn apart by City’s blistering attack. If they sat back and looked to counter, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne would have happily sat back and passed the ball around until Everton’s defense inevitably broke down. And no addition of an Idrissa Gueye, Tom Davies, Oumar Niasse or Nikola Vlasic in the starting line up would have made much of a difference either. Everton were simply outclassed on every level and would have lost this game no matter what.
Toffees have a long way to go
It seems like every time this team takes a step forward, they take two steps back immediately after. In the time since David Moyes left and the possibilities of the top six became more likely, this team has teased us time and time again. New managers with big plans, bigger ambitions and finally ownership with a bigger wallet. They all lead us to believe that this team is on the cusp of competing with the big boys, but it seems as though it couldn’t be further away.
No amount of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s and Yannick Bolasie’s change the fact that Everton’s best players are a tier below the top six’s best players. Making an all-star team out of the bottom ten teams’ best players isn’t going to make this squad perennial contenders. Even with a seemingly endless stream of promising youth players coming up through the ranks, this Everton team just feels stuck.
There are countless debates to be had about what exactly needs to happen to get Everton out of their endless mediocrity. Whatever the solution is, it needs to be different than what has been happening recently. Otherwise Everton can look forward to endless 7th place finishes with the occasional early Europa League exit.