Dominic Calvert-Lewin sustained a minor groin injury in training on Thursday and Frank Lampard decided not to risk the striker today. Instead, the manager inserted the fit-again Abdoulaye Doucoure into a 4-3-3 that was otherwise unchanged from last weekend.
Everton did well conserving their energy in the first half, ceding City’s defensive third but closing their opponents down as soon as they approached the half line. The Blues did very well limiting City’s touches in the Everton half, and for the most part kept them shooting from distance.
City really started ramping up the pressure at about the hour mark as Everton’s players tired especially on the Toffees’ right. Jordan Pickford and his defence stood strong though, repelling attack after attack even as they got compressed into their own defensive third as the clock ticked on.
Donny van de Beek and Anthony Gordon came off late on after putting in solid performances, with Lampard looking to lock down the draw at least with Dele Alli and Demarai Gray.
However, tired legs ended making the decisive play with less than ten minutes to play as Seamus Coleman was beaten on the right, the low cross from Bernard Silva pinging off Mason Holgate and then miscued by Michael Keane to fall perfectly for Phil Foden to tuck home.
Everton were unfortunate to not get a nailed-on penalty as Richarlison was supposedly offside, though we never saw the VAR angles with the lines on the pitch - you decide from this -
Any chance we can get a picture with lines on the field? If this is the best angle how could it be determined to be clearly offside? https://t.co/E6Ad9BTMv0— Royal Blue Mykolenko (@RBMersey) February 26, 2022
Anwar El Ghazi came on for Alex Iwobi but the Blues had nothing left in the tank to grab a late equalizer and fell to yet another defeat. This might have felt like a moral victory, but those get you no points unfortunately at a time when Everton need those the most.
Jonjoe Kenny is showing enough for Everton to extend his contract, though ironically it’s been his performances as left back that have really caught the eye this season.
Allan bounced back very well from his horror show last week with a pitbull-like performance in the middle. He’s showing how valuable he could really be if Everton sign a #6 to shield the defence and let the Brazilian rampage forward.
Staying in the middle, that midfield of Abdoulaye Doucoure - Allan - Donny van de Beek is just about top six level isn’t it? It’s the defence that really needs the help this summer.