Thursday, May 24, 2018

Manchester City 1 – 1 Everton: Sterling Saves Manchester City From An Embarrasing Loss At Etihad Stadium

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Football, just like life, is fair in the end. Or at least that is what Manchester City fans can say after their side clinched a 1-1 draw against Everton at Etihad Stadium in the game that closed the Matchweek 2 in the English Premier League.

City dominated the entire match, but had to wait until the final minutes to secure a much-deserved draw. Wayne Rooney scored the first goal for Everton, but Raheem Sterling equalised nearing the end of the second half. City probably deserved better luck considering the chances they created, but their lack of ideas prevented them from getting a better result.

Manchester City Failed To Capitalise Their Chances

Manchester City were the more positive right from the start. Pep Guardiola’s men started moving the ball around thanks to David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, but they lacked clarity in the final meters. Everton quickly adopted a counter-attacking stance, and they did a good job to frustrate City’s creative line. Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye limited the spaces for Silva and De Bruyne, and The Toffees chose to establish a man-to-man defensive strategy, perhaps waiting for Rooney to create something out of nothing in the final third.

As such, City controlled the pace of the game but did not create many clear scoring opportunities. One of their best chances came in the 26th minute. Nicolas Otamendi tested Jordan Pickford with a long-range effort but the goalkeeper responded well. Sergio Agüero pounced on the rebound, but Everton defence cleared it off the line to save the danger.

It wouldn’t be City’s lone chance in the first half, though. Shortly after that play, Aguero charged into the box and got into a decent shooting position. However, he could not generate enough space to muster a shot and the sequence came to nothing. And in the 34th minute, Aguero found Silva inside the box but the Spaniard smashed his close-range attempt to the post.

Out Of Nowhere, Rooney Puts Everton Ahead

It seemed Everton were not going to hold on until the half-time break, but The Toffees had something to say. And who else but Rooney would put City fans into tears? In what was Everton’s lone attacking sequence in the entire first half, the former Manchester United starlet defeated Ederson with absolute ease.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin won the byline on the left, and his pass surprisingly found Rooney all alone in between the six-yard box and the penalty spot. Rooney simply had to lash it out past Ederson, and Everton gained the lead out of nowhere in the 35th minute. It was Rooney’s 200th Premier League goal, further making him one of the most prolific strikers the league has ever seen.

City did not give up, however, and continued to create chances. Gabriel Jesus had a half-volley from inside the box, but Pickford was magnificent – again – to deny the Citizens. As if that was not enough, Kyle Walker was sent off in the 44th minute. Walker got booked twice in a three-minute span, and we can be sure Guardiola is not going to be pleased with those antics. The loss of the former Tottenham full-back ended putting even more pressure on City for the second 45 minutes.

The first half ended with a 1-0 lead for Everton. It was a surprising advantage based on how the game happened. However, it was also a fair punishment for City since they failed to capitalise their scoring opportunities.

City’s Lack Of Ideas Became Alarming

Knowing they had to turn things around in the second half, Pep Guardiola sent Sterling into the pitch replacing Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward was largely ineffectual, while Sterling was supposed to give the team some much-needed width in the final third. But even though City continued to control the possession with relative ease, Everton did a good job to contain them. Aside from a free kick from De Bruyne and a few crosses into the box, City failed to threaten Pickford’s goal.

Everton changed their tactic with the entrances of Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, while City countered with Danilo replacing John Stones and Bernardo Silva taking the place of Leroy Sane. The Portuguese made an immediate impact with a volley from the edge of the box, but his effort went wide.

City’s Pressing Ultimately Broke Everton’s Stout Defence

Sterling tested the keeper with a long-range effort in the 72nd minute, but his effort went wide. The former Liverpool starlet had another chance in the 74th, but his shot inside the box went over the bar from a tight angle. Danilo also sneaked into the box in the 77th minute and tested Pickford, but the goalkeeper was magnificent to deny the Brazilian’s attempt.

Rooney had one more chance for Everton in the 79th minute, but Ederson saved it easily. Even though he is not as consistent as he was in his glory days, the former United forward was at the helm of every single dangerous play Everton created. The Toffees sat back and decided to protect the result, but City ultimately found a late equaliser. Following a cross into the box and an aerial pass, Sterling found himself with acres of space nearing the penalty spot. The winger did not waste time and smashed a volley into an impossible angle for Pickford, making it 1-1 with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.

Everton Closed The Game Out, But City Deserved Better

Schneiderlin left the game after receiving a second yellow card in the 88th minute, and that sealed the deal. City could not find the winning-goal even though they never stopped fighting for it. And Everton decided to close things out. After all, getting a point out of this match wasn’t a bad outcome considering how everything happened.

After the draw, both sides have four points and sit two behind Manchester United at the top of the standings. City will play next week against Bournemouth away, while Everton will visit Chelsea in another thrilling encounter for Ronald Koeman’s men.

Match Report

Manchester City: Ederson; Otamendi, Stones (Danilo 65′), Kompany; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, David Silva, Sane (Bernardo Silva 69′); Aguero, Gabriel Jesus (Sterling, 46′)

Everton: Pickford; Keane, Williams (Klaassen 61′), Jagielka; Holgate, Davies (Sigurdsson 61′), Gueye, Schneiderlin, Baines; Rooney (Besic 90′); Calvert-Lewin

Goals: Rooney (0-1, 35′), Sterling (1-1, 83′)

Yellow Cards: Schneiderlin (EVE, 7′), Davies (EVE, 24′), Walker (MC, 42′), Kompany (MC, 78′), Rooney (EVE, 84′)

Red Cards: Walker (MC, 44′), Schneiderlin (EVE, 88′)


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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