Free highlights and match report as Demarai Gray scores superb equaliser for Everton (64) to cancel out Erling Haaland's 21st Premier League goal of the season (24); City are seven points off leaders Arsenal, who beat Brighton 4-2 later on New Year's Eve
Sunday 1 January 2023 07:14, UK
Manchester City slipped seven points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal after Demarai Gray's stupendous finish earned Everton a battling 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Gray's bolt from the blue breathed life into Frank Lampard's side and simultaneously hampered City's title charge on the final day of 2022.
Erling Haaland made space for himself on 24 minutes to convert Riyad Mahrez's cross to make it an astonishing 21 Premier League goals in his first 15 appearances.
But Everton levelled with their first shot of the match in the second half as Gray regained his footing to cut inside Manuel Ajankji and find the far corner via the underside of Ederson's crossbar (64) with an unstoppable rocket.
"We showed a lot of personality and work ethic," Lampard said. "When you play a team of City's level, you understand what's coming. If you open up against them, they put you to bed so we had to have a certain style and the players kept to that and scored a goal. It's very hard but they did it.
"We had to not give them the space they wanted. I thought we were pretty good at that. We had some great blocks and defending too. When you stay in the game you have a bit of belief and you just need some moments. We got a special moment."
The result handed Arsenal the opportunity to move seven points clear of City when they faced Brighton later on New Year's Eve - which they duly took with a ninth win in their last 10 Premier League games courtesy of an entertaining 4-2 victory.
Everton stay in 16th, two points above the relegation zone after ending their four-game losing run in all competitions.
Man City: Ederson (6), Lewis (7), Stones (6), Akanji (6), Ake (6), De Bruyne (7), Rodri (7), Bernardo Silva (6), Mahrez (7), Grealish (6), Haaland (7).
Subs: Gundogan (n/a), Alvarez (n/a), Foden (n/a).
Everton: Pickford (8), Patterson (8), Godfrey (7), Coady (7), Tarkowski (9), Mykolenko (7), Iwobi (7), Gueye (8), Onana (7), Gray (8), Calvert-Lewin (7).
Subs: Doucoure (6), Maupay (5), Coleman (7), Davies (n/a).
Man of the match: James Tarkowski.
Lampard has come under pressure following the late home defeat to Wolves on Boxing Day, but this was a display brimming with fighting spirit that underscored the belief his players still have in his stewardship.
Lampard made four changes to his starting line-up with some of them enforced due to illness. Anthony Gordon and Yerry Mina couldn't shake off a bug but Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first start since early November was a welcome boost.
Lampard called on his side to show pride and personality in their performance - but it was City who broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. Rodri won the ball back off Alex Iwobi and after Nathan Ake fed Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne combined inside with Jack Grealish before Riyad Mahrez was found in space on the right.
The Algerian dummied inside Vitaliy Mykolenko before laying the ball back for Haaland to tuck home from close range despite Conor Coady's best efforts on the line.
By then, Mahrez had already been unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty when Idrissa Gueye nibbled at his feet inside the box but City came close to doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time.
John Stones lost Calvert-Lewin at a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick and thudded his header against the post. From the loose ball, Haaland caught Mykolenko with a late challenge which earned the Norwegian a booking despite Jordan Pickford leading the protests for stiffer punishment.
There was a six-minute delay early in the second period after a malfunctioning ear-piece in one of the assistant referees, but after the technical glitch, it was Everton who dealt an unlikely hammer blow. Rodri was slack in possession as Gueye fed Gray down the left. The returning winger used Mykolenko as a decoy to drift inside Akanji before unleashing an unerring strike beyond Ederson.
"Demarai's talent is there and that finish is in him," added Lampard. "We need to keep telling him to shoot from those areas. It was a special moment and sometimes you need that there. Demarai is a hugely talented player but I'd love for him to get a few more tap-ins."
It was only Gray's second Premier League goal of the season and first away from home since August 2021 against Brighton but he is a player capable of providing moments of brilliance, and this was a late Christmas gift to those embattled Everton supporters.
"As soon as it left my foot, I kind of knew," Gray said afterwards.
Frustration started to build for the hosts as Everton looked to play down the clock and Tom Davies replaced the impressive Gueye.
With seven minutes remaining, Pickford made a brilliant save to deny Mahrez's deflected effort. The danger was still not averted as Rodri's shot from a cutback was brilliantly blocked by James Tarkowski.
Eleven additional minutes were signalled - and in the final seconds of that allotted timeframe it was the unmarked Rodri who rose to inexplicably head Mahrez's cross wide as Everton held on for an unlikely point.
City have now failed to win back-to-back home league games for the first time since May 2021, when they lost against Leeds and Chelsea.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: "We played really well. We played good football in all departments. We won the second balls but we couldn't win.
"We've dropped five points at home in the last two games which is always tough to take. I would say they had eight at the back. Brentford played in the same shape but we couldn't control their long balls and their second balls. We allowed them one chance and it was a fantastic goal, you have to say 'congratulations' but in general what we did was really good.
"The body language of the players against Leeds was amazing and gave me confidence. I saw how they were on the pitch so I kept with most of them. Rico [Lewis] looks like he's the best in every game. He's so smart and helps the way we want to play the game, creating chances and controlling the game.
"The best Everton was for 10 minutes in the first half and then they scored a fantastic goal from a counter-attack. We needed to score the second goal."
Everton boss Frank Lampard: "The quality of the finish was top drawer. Demarai wants more of that and I do. It got us the point. You ride your luck a tiny bit of course. We deserved more last week after the result. Sometimes football pays you back in different ways.
"We have two home games in the league and we need to go and get some points but we have to fight for every bit of it. It's a big point for us.
"We stayed in the game and we got what we deserved. People are waiting for you so we had to defend ourselves with the performance. After the Wolves game, it was all negative, but with football you have to wait for your day to respond. We've not achieved anything yet but we have to take this result forward against Brighton."
|Bonus points||Mahrez (3), Gray (2), Haaland (1)|
Manchester City are back in action on Thursday, January 5, when they travel to Chelsea, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 8pm.
Meanwhile, Everton's next assignment is on Tuesday, January 3. They host Brighton at Goodison Park; kick-off 7.45pm.