Everton have been without the services of Abdoulaye Doucore for more than a month, so fans would have been happy to see the industrious midfielder line up in a central three alongside Allan and new recruit Donny van de Beek on Saturday. The Frenchman showed no rust whatsoever and was certainly in marvellous shape, covering every blade of grass and still making lung-busting runs deep into the match. He added much-needed thrust in the middle of the park and took care of the ball well under pressure.
Abdoulaye Doucoure's stats vs Manchester City:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) February 26, 2022
Touches - 53
Successful passes - 27
Successful forward passes - 14
Successful attacking third passes - 10
Chances created - 1
Pass accuracy - 82%
Recoveries - 4
Successful tackles - 2
Clearances - 2
Shots blocked - 1#EFC #EVEMCI
Right Man in the Right Spot
Deployed in a midfield trio against Pep Guardiola’s team, Allan was free to showcase the qualities that have made him something of a fan favourite at Goodson Park. Not having to cover acres of space by himself, the Brazilian put in a tenacious all-action performance, breaking up attacks and carrying the ball forward well, in addition to showcasing a 91% passing accuracy. Used this way, the midfielder is a real asset.
Allan won more tackles (3) than any other player in the first-half of Everton vs Man City.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 26, 2022
No Rearguard Action
Whilst it is true that the Blues found themselves pushed back for long stretches of the second period, in the first they more than held their own, surprisingly enjoying the better chances and blunting the much-vaunted Manchester City attack. Considering few gave the home team any real chance, the standard of play in the opening 45 minutes was encouraging, as City are arguably the strongest club side in world football currently.
#EVEMC— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 26, 2022
HT Expected goals:
0.51 (Everton) - 0.16 (Man City)
1st time this season that Man City's xG is below their opponents at HT.
Man City's lowest xG at the end of the first half this season. pic.twitter.com/6328vWbri8
Leading the Line
With primary centre forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin missing again, through what appears a minor injury on this occasion, it was up to Richarlison to step in as Everton’s lone front man yesterday. The Brazilian has not always convinced in leading the line but, buoyed up by the enthusiastic Goodison Park faithful, he ticked all the boxes against City - as he had against Arsenal back in December - battling for everything, drawing fouls, relieving pressure and maintaining a threat to the visitor’s back line throughout.
Richarlison's stats against Manchester City:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) February 26, 2022
Touches - 38
Shots - 2
On target - 2
Successful passes - 8
Pass accuracy - 67%
Fouls won - 7
Recoveries - 4
Successful dribbles - 3
Aerial duels won - 3
Clearances - 2
Successful tackles - 1#EFC #EVEMCI
Not the Whole Story
The Toffees’ record against Manchester City now stands at ten consecutive losses, a poor return even accounting for the disparity in resources between the two clubs. In fact, Everton have only two wins in the last 21 meetings going back to 2013. On Saturday, however the Blues turned in their strongest recent performance against their north-west rivals and were unlucky to lose, conceding late on in bizarre fashion and being denied a stonewall penalty by a very poor VAR decision. Considering Everton have lost the last four matches against City by a combined 13-1, this was a marked improvement.