Everton 1-3 Man City: First-half masterclass puts City within one win of title
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 01/04/18 7:52pm
Champions elect Man City are within one win of the Premier League title after a fine first-half blitz gave them a 3-1 win at Everton on Saturday.
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If City beat rivals Manchester United on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, they will be crowned champions for the third time in seven years.
City took the lead after just four minutes through Leroy Sane's fine volley, before Gabriel Jesus nodded in the second (13) for his first Premier League goal since November as the leaders cut through Everton with ease.
Everton: Pickford (5), Coleman (5), Keane (6), Jagielka (5), Baines (5), Bolasie (5), Schneiderlin (5), Rooney (4), Walcott (5), Tosun (5), Calvert-Lewin (5)
Subs: Davies (4), Baningime (NA), Niasse (NA)
Man City: Ederson (6), Kompany (7), Laporte (7), Otamendi (7), Walker (8), Fernandinho (7), De Bruyne (8), D Silva (9), Sane (8), Sterling (8), Jesus (8)
Subs: B Silva (6), Gundogan (NA), Danilo (NA)
Man of the match: David Silva
Raheem Sterling made it 3-0 with a low finish eight yards (37), but Yannick Bolasie pulled one back for Everton with a low effort from long range off both posts (63).
The result leaves Everton in ninth, eight points off the top six but having played two games more than sixth-place Arsenal.
Despite not playing for 19 days, City ran riot in the first half, taking the lead through Sane's superb far-post volley from David Silva's lifted cross.
Everton should have equalised as Bolasie headed over from close range, but just seconds later it was 2-0 as Jesus headed past Jordan Pickford from six yards after Kevin De Bruyne's deft, lifted cross from the right.
Man City made only one change from their last game, a 2-0 win at Stoke; Zinechenko was named on the bench, with Laporte coming into defence. Everton went with an attacking side; Gueye missed out and Davies was on the bench, meaning Calvert-Lewin and Schneiderlin replaced them.
Leighton Baines then curled a free-kick inches wide, before Kyle Walker dragged a fine opportunity past the post, but City made amends with eight minutes of the half remaining as Sterling finished low at the far post from Silva's centre after another lightning counter attack.
Everton defended better in the second half, but they were nearly four behind as Pickford did well to readjust and turn over Fernandinho's deflected long-range effort.
The hosts pulled a goal back midway through the half as Bolasie's low, 20-yard shot went through the legs of Walker, striking both posts before crossing the line.
Cenk Tosun then headed a good chance wide from a Baines corner, while at the other end Fernandinho hit a beauty from 30 yards inches wide of the upright.
The win means Pep Guardiola's first title at City, and his seventh in his last nine seasons in management, could be confirmed next weekend.
Sam Allardyce: "You are 2-0 down so early on and then you try to go to get back in the game because you panic a little bit and we opened ourselves up too much and conceded a third from the counter-attack. At 2-0 we became disheveled and lost doing things as a team together. We put that right in the second half."
Pep Guardiola: "We are closer than ever. We have one game to win. If we are not able to win, we have six more chances. We are so, so close and so happy with the performance. I understand the people are talking about United now but all the decisions I am going to take is thinking about Liverpool - the game before United and after United. That is what it is."
- Guardiola is now the second quickest manager to reach 50 Premier League wins in the competition's history, doing so in just 69 matches. Only Jose Mourinho (63 games) reached 50 wins faster.
- Indeed, his City side are the 10th team to have beaten every other top-flight club within the same season, and the first since Manchester United in 2010/11.
- Manchester City's final possession figure of 82.13 per cent is the highest by an away side in a single Premier League game since we have this data available (2003/04).
- Manchester City are just the third club to have three players (De Bruyne, Sane and Silva) reach double figures for assists in a single Premier League season, after Liverpool (1995/96) and Arsenal (2004/05).
- Since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, De Bruyne has provided 42 assists in the Premier League, more than any other player in the top five European leagues.
England World Cup watch
Kyle Walker was at his blistering best at Goodison Park, continuing his impressive form from the international break, but this time played on the right flank rather than in the central defensive trio. His team-mate Raheem Sterling also starred, scoring City's third goal.
For Everton, Jordan Pickford's struggled with his distribution on his right foot, and though Michael Keane was kept busy, he put in a decent performance in Everton's defence. Theo Walcott showed glimpses of quality, but ultimately failed to get into the game, while Tom Davies featured for just over half an hour.
Man of the match - David Silva
Any one of four City players could have picked up the gong on Saturday evening, but Silva's continued form shows no sign of slowing down. He was majestic again at Goodison Park, setting up the first and third goals, and making more key passes (five) than any other player.
Make no mistake, there's a real case for calling Silva City's best-ever player, and one of the greatest imports the Premier League has ever seen.
Before the visit of United on Saturday, City go to Anfield in their Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool on Wednesday evening. Everton host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, live on Sky Sports Premier League.