Everton went into this game without a prayer of a chance of grabbing any points, partly due to the lengthy injury list that doesn’t seem to offer any hope on a weekly basis, but mostly because of the imperious form that hosts Manchester City are in. The Blues record at the Etihad has been nothing short of abysmal in recent years since, well since City got a bunch of money and became good.
This game started and went pretty much as expected, the one surprise being that City did not score earlier. The last few times the Toffees have played Pep Guardiola’s side they have conceded within the first half and hour and the result has then been pretty much a given after that.
Luck seemed on the Blues side today though, with Ilkay Gundogan’s header going off the bar after Jordan Pickford had made a good save off Bernardo Silva and Cole Palmer (who?). At the half hour mark, Michael Keane looked to have given away a penalty lunging in on Raheem Sterling, and was very very lucky referee Stuart Attwell reviewed his decision on the VAR pitchside monitor and nullified his previous decision. The Blues’ fortune ran out just before the halftime whistle though, when Joao Cancelo’s brilliant cross (remember how we warned you that keeping Cancelo quiet was the key to this game?) was finished perfectly by Sterling to give the hosts the lead at the break.
The second half was more of the same really as Everton had no answers for City’s control, and no questions of their own to ask of the City defence where Ederson might as well as have taken a quick snooze. A half clearance by a midfield in disarray saw the ball fall to Rodri, and he absolutely hammered his shot into the far corner and there was no way Pickford (or anyone else really) was saving that, and it was 2-0 just ten minutes into the second stanza.
Soon after, Benitez made his first change, sending on Salomon Rondon and taking off Fabian Delph who did not have the best game against his former side. With a few minutes to go before the final whistle, Palmer’s shot was blocked and fell to Bernardo Silva to slot home and secure all three points, not that there was any doubt before that.
Benitez didn’t make any changes to the side that drew with Spurs a fortnight ago, because he had no changes to make. Everton’s squad is depressing.
Wait, it gets worse. Demarai Gray left the game injured, who knows how long he’ll be out. He walked off into the tunnel by himself, so not sure what that was all about.
Richarlison had six touches in the entire first half, and picked up a petulant yellow card too. Can’t blame him, the Blues had about 20% of possession and could barely string together two passes before losing the ball. But, this also means he misses the next game against Brentford.
Kudos to the Everton fans - home or away, rain or shine, whether the team is playing well or crap, they always show up and they always make some noise.