Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
Everton 0-2 Manchester City: Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus send City top
Report and highlights as Pep Guardiola's side earn victory
Last Updated: 07/02/19 8:37am
Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after late goals in either half from Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus secured a 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday night.
Laporte made up for planting an early header wide by rising to nod David Silva's free-kick beyond Jordan Pickford from eight yards with the last kick of the first half at Goodison Park.
Everton were much improved from their woeful home defeat to Wolves at the weekend but lacked the guile to unlock the City defence and continued to look vulnerable from set pieces, with Leroy Sane also going close from a corner in the first half, while in open play Ilkay Gundogan struck the bar from close range.
Everton: Pickford (6), Kenny (7), Zouma (7), Keane (6), Digne (7), Gueye (6), Davies (7), Gomes (5), Walcott (5), Calvert-Lewin (6), Bernard (6).
Subs: Sigurdsson (5), Richarlison (6), Tosun (5).
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (5), Stones (6), Otamendi (7), Laporte (7), Gundogan (8), Fernandinho (6), David Silva (7), Bernardo Silva (7), Aguero (5), Leroy Sane (5).
Subs: Sterling (7), Jesus (7), De Bruyne (n/a).
Man of the match: Ilkay Gundogan
After half-time, the visitors controlled possession and always looked the more dangerous, with substitute Gabriel Jesus wrapping up victory in the seventh minute of added time from a perfect slide-rule Kevin De Bruyne pass.
Having trailed by 10 points barely a month ago, the result allowed Manchester City to take advantage of Liverpool dropping four points in two games to go top of the table on goal difference. Jurgen Klopp side's do have a game in hand, but it is away at the Premier League's in-form side Manchester United on February 24, live on Sky Sports.
After Sane had fired wide from the edge of the box when a corner was half-cleared three minutes in, City looked like they were feeling the pressure of the chance to go top and Everton gave as good as they got in the opening stages.
What City lacked in fluid play, down in part to Everton's compact 4-5-1 out of possession, they did make up for in chances and should have made the most of the hosts' woeful record from dead balls when Laporte headed Gundogan's excellent corner to the back post wide when unmarked.
Everton had already conceded a league-high 11 games from set-pieces but City came even closer with their next attack from open play, as David Silva's cutback was turned onto the woodwork by Gundogan, who was no more than eight yards out.
For the most part, the hosts frustrated their visitors while sacrificing their own attacking intent, and looked like they would be vindicated by going in level at the break - only for David Silva to deliver a perfect free-kick into the middle in the dying seconds of the half and Laporte made no mistake in firing the ball home.
Marco Silva made five changes to the Everton side beaten by Wolves on Saturday, leaving Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson on the bench.
There were no such wholesale changes for Manchester City, who brought in Leroy Sane and John Stones for Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.
Gueye finally gave Ederson something to do after half-time, returning a half-cleared corner goalwards minutes after the break, but the Brazilian goalkeeper was equal to it and saved comfortably.
At the other end, Pickford was nearly caught out twice - first when caught in no-man's land when his punch landed for Sergio Aguero to volley acrobatically inches wide, before a deflected Raheem Sterling shot dropped no more than a foot over his bar with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
Everton continued to move the ball well but still struggled to find inroads while Manchester City looked comfortable to see out a 1-0, only to be handed a glorious chance to seal the points in the last minute of seven added on at full-time.
Substitutes De Bruyne and Jesus linked up as the Brazilian timed his run behind the Everton defence to perfection and was fed by a fine through-ball. His first effort was saved by Pickford but only ballooned back up into his path, and he nodded over a despairing Kurt Zouma and into the far corner.
- Everton have conceded more goals from set pieces than any other Premier League team in all competitions this season (19).
- Manchester City have scored with their first shot on target in 15 Premier League games this season - six more than any other team.
- All four of Aymeric Laporte's goals in all competitions for Manchester City this season have been headers from set pieces in away matches.
- Everton are yet to win a Premier League match when conceding first this season (P12 W0 D2 L10).
- Marco Silva has now lost five Premier League games against Manchester City - two more than he has against any other opponent.
- Everton made five line-up changes for this match - their most between Premier League matches under manager Marco Silva.
- Manchester City have won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions (L1), scoring 39 goals and conceding just five.
Marco Silva: Everything was different from Wolves. This has to be our image as a team, you have to be consistent in some things and it's an obligation for us - aggressiveness, desire to win, and that's what we need every time.
We needed to be more aggressive [from the free-kick]. They did the fake move and we moved a little bit, but after that the ball in the air, it was a good delivery and header, but we have to at least challenge the ball which we didn't.
Pep Guardiola: It's good, sleeping being top of the table, it's much better, but Liverpool have one game extra at Old Trafford. I don't think too much about it really, we have an incredible test next Sunday, the cup and Champions League starts again.
I don't think much about being first or second - but we could have done one month 10 points behind, four or five days ago we could have been seven and now we're top. It's a lesson not to give up, many things are going to happen
Man of the match - Ilkay Gundogan
On a night where silky football was largely lacking, Gundogan did his best to get City up to the speed of their usual zip, creating several chances and going close to opening the scoring but for the crossbar early on.
His deliveries were also excellent all night, including the first-half corner which should have been headed in by Laporte.
Everton visit Marco Silva's former club Watford on Saturday at 3pm, while Manchester City host Chelsea a day later live on Renault Super Sunday from 3.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League.