Watching both Chelsea and Liverpool pick up impressive victories 24 hours prior, Manchester City followed suit on Sunday afternoon as they cruised their way to a routine 3-0 romp against Everton at the Etihad.
Looking to keep pace at the top of the table, Pep Guardiola’s defending Premier League champions put on a routine display on home soil as Raheem Sterling, Rodri and Bernardo Silva secured all three points after returning from November’s international break.
On an afternoon that was largely one-way traffic at the Etihad, we have taken a look at the key talking points as the Sky Blues only added to Everton’s recent woes.
Second gear enough for City
Heading into the international break earlier in the month with a dominant 2-0 win away at Old Trafford, Guardiola would have made it clear to his star-studded squad that they had to build off of that performance and find some stability in their bid to be crowned back-to-back champions.
Watching Liverpool hit Arsenal for four and Chelsea land their own 3-0 win away at Leicester on Saturday, Manchester City certainly didn’t pass up on a golden opportunity, despite being rocked by the news that Kevin De Bruyne returned a positive COVID-19 test when returning from international duties.
Despite having their midfield talisman missing for three fixtures as he isolates, City took a more than deserving lead on the stroke of half-time when Sterling produced a smart finish to complete what was a stunning outside of the boot delivery from Joao Cancelo.
Heading down the tunnel with a remarkable 79% possession to their name, some around the Etihad might have expected at least a tougher test during the second-half.
However, not having to get out of second gear, Guardiola’s side once again gave Everton no time to breathe as Rodri doubled City’s lead with a sublime 25-yard driven effort 10 minutes after the break.
Putting in a similar display that saw them breeze past Manchester United a fortnight ago, City managed to underline another trademark display at the Etihad as Bernardo Silva poked home with four minutes left on the clock. More than deserving of Guardiola’s praise following their routine display on Sunday, they really couldn’t have wished for an easier return from the international break.
While Everton might have opened the 20201/22 campaign with an impressive run of form, the Toffees have largely failed to build off of their start and it appears that the pressure could be starting to reach a building point for Rafa Benitez.
With many fans around Goodison Park left frustrated over the summer when it was announced that the one-time Liverpool boss would be taking charge, Sunday’s guests have managed to collect just a pair of points from any of their last six Premier League contests, a run that stems back to September 25th.
Although the Blues might have been more than aware that they could face a stern test on their travels here, Benitez’s side failed to lay any kind of a blow on the defending champions and they were heavily outclassed all across the Etihad pitch.
Really struggling to fill the void left by an injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin who still remains sidelined with a thigh issue, Everton failed to ask any questions of Ederson’s goal and Richarlison constantly cut a frustrated figure in the final third.
With their Brazilian talisman also picking up a second-half booking that will hand him a one-match suspension, the Toffees could only eventually leave Manchester with just 23% possession to their name and a sole effort on target.
Having to watch on as summer arrival Demarai Gray had to limp off with a suspected growing injury with 17 minutes on the clock, Benitez and Everton will know that they must find some kind of boost sooner rather than later.
City extend on rampant record against Everton
Not asked any real questions on Sunday in what turned out to be a routine 3-0 romp, Manchester City will be wishing that they could play Everton every week.
Signing off the 2020/21 campaign with a 5-0 victory against Carlo Ancelotti’s squad back in May, City hold what can only be described as a rampant record against the Merseyside outfit.
With Sunday’s win their eighth straight Premier League victory against the Toffees, City have in fact now won each of their previous nine meetings against Everton by an aggregate score of 26-5.
Laying down their own marker on Sunday afternoon with Chelsea and Liverpool undoubtedly watching on, Guardiola’s side will be desperate to keep up that momentum when they turn their attention back to Champions League duties in midweek.
With the chance to potentially book their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s tournament, last season’s finalists will welcome French giants PSG to the Etihad on Wednesday night for what should be a mouth-watering affair.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, Silva, Palmer, Foden, Sterling
Subs: Ake, McAtee, Mahrez
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Gray, Allan, Delph, Gordon, Townsend, Richarlison
Subs: Iwobi, Rondon, Onyango
Goals: Sterling 44’, Rodri 55’, Silva 86’
Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Laporte – Everton: Richarlison
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Stuart Attwell
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