But what did the numbers tell us about the performance?
Return of the 5-3-2 hybrid
It wasn’t too much of a surprise to see Everton line-up in a similar 5-3-2 system that was used to claim a win at Anfield last month.
And, the plan largely worked. Everton limited City to very few chances throughout the game, allowing Guardiola’s side plenty of possession but suffocating their space when they approached the Everton area.
Blues have just 25.9% of possession
As expected, Man City dominated possession at Goodison Park. But Everton were more than happy to let them have the ball for the most part – after all, Everton aren’t a team that typically thrives when they’re expected to control a game.
When ever did get the ball, though, they tried to play quickly through the lines. In the first half this worked very well, although ultimately the Blues struggled to be as effective after the hour mark and looked increasingly leggy with few options on the bench to turn to.
Manchester City completed 322 passes to Everton’s 73 in the first half— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 20, 2021
Allan was the only Everton player that completed 10 passes #FACup
Everton had more shots in box in first half
Indeed, despite City’s domination of the ball in the first half, Everton actually had four shots from inside the box, while City summoned just one.
It was a good example of Everton’s gameplan and how well they executed. It didn’t work out in the end – but let’s not forget City are one of the best teams in the world.
21-year-old shows himself a capable deputy
Heading into the game, I was very sceptical about having young Joao Virginia in the Everton goal against a side such as City.
But the youngster put in a near dream performance, pulling off two absolutely fantastic fingertip saves. Unfortunately the second of those cannoned off the bar to enable City to take the lead, but Virginia was flawless from a shot stopping perspective.
He’s clearly still got areas to improve on (in particular with regards to his distribution and command of his six-yard box) but he’s undoubtedly got potential. Hopefully he can make strides on loan next year and put his nightmare loan move to Reading last year behind him.
Joao Virginia's stats against Manchester City:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) March 20, 2021
Touches - 41
Saves - 4
Shots from inside the box saved - 2
Punches - 1
Clearances - 2
Attempted long balls - 28
Successful long balls - 12
Long ball accuracy - 43%#EFC #EVEMCI
Just 2 players aged over 23 on the bench
In the end, Everton legs tired and while Manchester City were able to bring on Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Rodrigo from the bench, the only senior players on Everton’s bench were Tom Davies, Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi.
The other six players on Everton’s bench had a combined tally of one Premier League appearance between them. One of them was the Under-18 goalkeeper Žan Luk Leban who hasn’t even featured for the Under-23s yet.