Manchester City moved 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 3-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
With in-form goalscorer Ilkay Gundogan missing through injury, it was fellow midfielders Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva who stretched City’s winning run to 17 games in all competitions.
Mahrez struck a sublime second for City in the second half, his fourth league goal on this ground, after a fortuitous Richarlison effort had cancelled out Foden’s deflected opener.
Silva’s third 13 minutes from time – shortly before Kevin De Bruyne made a return from injury off the bench – ensured Carlo Ancelotti’s side have only won twice in eight league games in 2021, and their season is in danger of unravelling.
City controlled the first half-hour but Everton limited them to few chances, with Michael Keane covering well to deny Gabriel Jesus the clearest opening.
The Toffees went behind in unfortunate fashion 32 minutes in, Foden’s right-foot shot flying past Jordan Pickford via a big deflection off Seamus Coleman.
12 – The only players to score more top-flight league goals under Pep Guardiola in his managerial career before turning 21 than Phil Foden (12) are Bojan and Gabriel Jesus (16 each). Advanced. pic.twitter.com/XvFx5N8ygc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 17, 2021
The lead last only six minutes, though. Coleman’s cross from the right was smashed goalwards by Lucas Digne – Everton’s first shot of the match – and the ball came back off the post and bounced in off Richarlison’s knee.
The second half followed a similar pattern, Jesus and Rodri each missing the target from presentable chances, although Gylfi Sigurdsson led two promising breaks for Everton that should perhaps have yielded more.
City’s pressure told 63 minutes in, Mahrez cutting in from the right and curling a superb strike in off the left-hand post after Silva had created some space.
Silva capped a fine performance with the decisive third, collecting Jesus’ lay-off, working space on the edge of the box and firing in a shot that Pickford could only parry into the net.
What does it mean? Record-breaking City continue title charge
City’s lead at the top over Manchester United now stands at 10 points after 24 games and, on current form, it is a gap that looks unlikely to be bridged.
This was their sixth league win in a row over Everton and made it 10 consecutive top-flight victories to start the calendar year, surpassing the record of nine first set by Bolton Wanderers in 1906 and then United in 2009.
Everton, who have lost three league games at home in a row for the first time in five years, stay seventh.
Everton were just beginning to look comfortable in defence when Silva produced the telling impact, pulling apart the backline to set up Mahrez and then rifling home a goal of his own.
The Portugal midfielder misplaced just two of his 62 passes, 43 of which were in the Everton half.
Mina injury adds to mounting Everton worries
Yerry Mina went off injured in the first half to leave Everton’s task even more daunting, as well as give Ancelotti a selection headache ahead of the weekend trip to Liverpool.
The Italian last lost three league games at home in a row back when he was in charge of Milan in 2006 and, with Southampton and Chelsea to play after the champions, this could be a tough few weeks for him.
City head to Arsenal on Sunday, with Everton next up at the home of the champions for Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
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