Everton hosted the champions at Goodison Park today, and despite a poor run of form for Marco Silva’s men recently, the Blues made a strong impression. While the defense did allow open play and set piece goals, it wasn’t an all out Manchester City onslaught like we’ve seen so often when Guardiola’s team wins matches. Even the counterattacking offensive setup that Silva preferred was largely effective. On a day when City were down multiple first choice center backs, stretching out their defensive personnel was the right idea.
Unfortunately, Marco’s best laid plans were interrupted by an early head injury to surprise starter Theo Walcott. Theo took a cross directly off his face, and after an extended period on the pitch with medical staff tending to him, was transported to a local hospital for precautionary reasons.
Gabriel Jesus scored the opener off a stupendous ball by Kevin de Bruyne, and it was then that Everton started throwing counterpunches. Alex Iwobi, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Gylfi Sigurdsson were excellent all afternoon, and it was Iwobi who would eventually fight through a crowd to get Seamus Coleman the ball to Ederson’s left. The Irishman chipped him, and DCL followed the ball into a gaping net.
The second half saw a tight, back and forth affair until Riyad Mahrez snuck a free kick low past Jordan Pickford. There was essentially nothing the goalkeeper could have done, and it meant that Everton now had to chase the game.
Yerry Mina and Calvert-Lewin had multiple big chances to draw the match level, but Ederson was truly outstanding, and held out long enough for Raheem Sterling to ice it away late on.
Of all Everton’s recent losses, it’s fair to say that this was by far the best performance - and against clearly the best team. That’s progress, and if we can get Andre Gomes and Jean-Phillipe Gbamin back soon, who knows?