Everton 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City returned to the summit of the Premier League after an absence of almost two months, thanks to a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park.
Aymeric Laporte struck in first half injury time, and then super-sub Gabriel Jesus added a second at the death, to grab all three points for the Sky Blues as they took over from Liverpool at the top.
Everton boss Marco Silva has been coming under increasing pressure following six defeats in nine games, and he made five changes to the team which lost to Wolves at the weekend. In a bold move he left out experienced and key players Seamus Coleman and Gylfi Sigurdsson, and they started on the bench along with striker Richarlison.
But in the end City won more comfortably than the score-line suggests as the Toffees rarely came close to breaching the visitors’ defence.
Highlights of the game
Pep Guardiola made just two changes and one of his incomers, Leroy Sane, had the first shot on goal, firing just wide from a third minute corner. And as City turned up the pressure they twice came very close to going ahead in the first 20 minutes. First Aymeric Laporte found himself unmarked at a corner and headed wide with the goal at his mercy; and then Ilkay Gundogan smashed the ball against the bar after meeting a low cross from David Silva.
Everton began to get in the game and lifted the Goodison crowd with some nice passing which resulted in a corner, but City cleared comfortably. The recalled Bernard was lively on the left and the Toffees were beginning to settle after a shaky opening 20 minutes. But City continued to probe and Andre Gomez had a worrying moment when he clipped David Silva on the edge of the penalty area, but referee Craig Pawson was unmoved. The home fans thought they’d made it to half time but not so.
Idrissa Gueye has been sulking rather since Everton blocked his move to PSG in January, and he took it out on Fernandinho, upending the City midfielder some 25 yards out. And when David Silva whipped in a ferocious cross Aymeric got the vital touch to divert it into the net.
Defender Aymeric Laporte celebrates his first half injury time goal after missing a sitter in the opening minutes
That changed the half time team talks but the pattern of play continued and Everton keeper Jordan Pickford needed two chances to hold on to a fierce Sane shot. Sergio Aguero scored his tenth Premier League hat-trick at the weekend, and he’s now just one short of Alan Shearer’s league record. The prolific striker is rarely out of the Premier League 2019 news, and he almost wrote some more when he was inches wide with a spectacular overhead kick.
With a quarter of the game left, Marco Silva brought Sigurdsson on to try to stretch the City defence but for all Everton’s endeavour the closest encounters came at the other end. After a quick break Silva teed up Raheem Sterling and his shot hit Tom Davies and flew over the bar.
Richarlison made a late appearance for the Toffees and caused a scare in the City box, seizing on a sloppy ball from Kyle Walker and fizzing a wicked ball across the goal but Ederson came out to clear.
And it was two big name City substitutes who sealed the points on 97 minutes, Kevin De Bruyne slid a ball through for Jesus and the young Brazilian beat Pickford at the second attempt.
Gabriel Jesus off the bench to score a 97th minute goal and seals the points
After Liverpool had failed to beat West Ham on Monday the Premier League 2019 betting markets swung back in Manchester City’s favour, and they are now clear favourites to win the title.
The Sky Blues completed the double over Everton for the first time since 2014, when they won the title under Manuel Pellegrini. But the Toffees have now lost four of their last five home games, and have conceded more goals from set pieces than any other team in the league…12.
Well, that all means City are back at the top of the Premier League since early December, but that could all change again pretty soon of course. Keep up with the us predictions as we approach the season climax. Mine is that City will go on to win the title.
The Sky Blues can really assert their position as favourites to retain the title, with a win over fourth placed Chelsea on Sunday. Maurizio Sarri has been having a difficult time motivating his players recently…but then he does keep criticising them!
After seven defeats in ten, Vicarage Road would not be Marco Silva’s choice for his next game, but Everton must take on a dangerous Watford side which sits in eighth, a place above the Toffees.
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