Taking another giant step towards retaining their Premier League crown, Manchester City stormed their way to a 3-0 victory away at Everton on Sunday afternoon.
With the red-hot Ilkay Gundogan opening the scoring eight minutes before the half-time break thanks to a sublime acrobatic effort, Pep Guardiola’s side certainly didn’t look back as they eventually ran out a routine victor at Goodison Park.
With Gundogan bagging back-to-back Premier League braces and watching Haaland only extend on his record-breaking flurry, the Sky Blues also at least briefly extended their buffer over Arsenal to four points.
Now in the midst of a 22-match unbeaten run across all competitions, City’s attention will now turn to their blockbuster Champions League second-leg showdown against Real Madrid in midweek.
While Everton might have stormed their way to that remarkable 5-1 romp away at Brighton on Monday evening, the Toffees would have always known they faced a monumental challenge here.
Recording just a single win from any of their last nine appearances, Everton’s charge for top-flight survival is certainly going down to the wire.
Two sides who find themselves battling it out at opposite ends of the Premier League table, what did we learn as City take another huge step towards defending their domestic crown?
City avoid what was a potential banana skin on Merseyside
Although many across the Premier League might have billed City’s trip to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon as a potential banana skin, Guardiola’s side eventually breezed their way to what could be a season-deciding victory.
While many might have expected the ex-Barcelona boss to make a host of changes ahead of their Champions League semi-final showdown against Real Madrid in midweek, Guardiola’s deputies certainly impressed here.
With Sunday’s 3-0 victory handing them at least a brief four-point buffer at the top of the table, it is no secret that the Premier League giants have their sights set on making more history in 2023.
In the midst of what has quickly become a remarkable 22-match unbeaten run across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to a 1-0 loss against Tottenham on February 5th – City appear sat in pole position to complete an iconic domestic and European sweep this season.
Finding what has been a free-scoring clinical edge on either side of March’s international break, Guardiola’s side have shown that there is no complacency among their superstar squad.
With all eyes now focused on their semi-final second-leg against Los Blancos on Wednesday night, City couldn’t have picked up any better momentum here.
Everton come crashing back down to earth
Putting in a season-best display earlier in the week as they claimed a stunning 5-1 romp away at European dreamers Brighton, Everton returned to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon looking to spring a major upset.
However, although it might have looked like Sean Dyche’s side had turned a real corner on the south coast, the Toffees come crashing back down to earth in a routine fashion here.
Eventually blown away on Merseyside, the former Burnley boss will be more than aware that his squad faces a real phycological challenge over the final fortnight.
Recording just a single Premier League victory from their last nine appearances, Everton end Sunday’s fixtures holding a one-point buffer over slipping back into the drop zone and they have continued to show some recent issues on home soil.
With their Goodison Park struggle highlighted by a 3-1 loss at the hands of Fulham on April 15th, Dyche’s side have lost each of their previous three Premier League showdowns in front of their own supporters by an aggregate score of 9-2.
Desperate for Liverpool to hand them a much-needed favour when their bitter local rivals travel to Leicester on Monday night, Everton’s battle for top-flight safety is undoubtedly going down to the wire.
Gundogan extends on his domestic flurry
While the record-breaking Haaland might have notched his 36th Premier League strike of the season here, it will once again be City’s veteran midfielder who steals all of Sunday’s headlines.
Although the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Haaland might have been the poster boys of City’s title charge, Gundogan has only continued to show why the Etihad hierarchy are so desperate for the German international to extend his stay in Manchester.
Opening the scoring eight minutes before the half-time break with a stunning acrobatic finish, the one-time Borussia Dortmund ace has certainly hit top form at what is a crucial time of the season.
Eventually wrapping up all three points thanks to a classy free-kick just minutes after the interval, Gundogan has now notched a brace in back-to-back Premier League appearances.
Although Guardiola might have been far from impressed as the 32-year-old missed a late penalty against relegation scrappers Leeds last weekend, Gundogan has a key role to play over the final fortnight.
Everton: Pickford, Patterson, Mina, Tarkowski, Holgate, Garner, Gueye, Iwobi, Doucoure, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Coady, Maupay, Onana, Gray
Manchester City: Emerson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Akanji, Gundogan, Rodri, Mahrez, Alvarez, Foden, Haaland
Subs: Phillips, Grealish, Silva, Gomez
Goals: Gundogan (37’, 51’), Haaland (39’)
Yellow Cards: Garner
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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