Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Manchester City produced a performance of champions at Everton

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 7 Feb 2019

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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City headed to Everton’s Goodison Park on Wednesday night in need of a victory to take them back to the top of the Premier League table. Many expected a comfortable win for the Citizens. However, the Toffees produced a resilient display, despite Pep Guardiola’s team eventually coming away with a 2-0 win.

Tougher than expected

Manchester City were definitely not at their formidable best against an Everton side that showed a lot more determination and grit than in recent matches. The Toffees pressed and harried the visitors and gave them time on the ball in which to create.

The game was still on a knife-edge heading into stoppage-time when substitute Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory. In truth, City produced a poor display by their high standards, but like all top teams, they got the job done when it mattered.

Despite the mixed feelings from some Evertonian’s before the game, the team did not roll over and there were definitely bright moments from the Toffees in spite of the defeat on home soil.

Kept their nerve

Manchester City have been punished for not being at their best at times this season. The likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester and Newcastle have all punished what seemed like complacency on City’s part to beat Guardiola’s team.

Those defeats looked like they could have been fatal to City’s title defence at one point this season. However, City kept their nerve at Goodison and picked up the win they so desperately needed to return to the top of the table.

This game could have been so different if Everton possessed any attacking threat, though. The City defence did well against Everton’s raw young striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The likes of Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones stood tall and enjoyed a quiet night overall.

The game was a strange one, as even at 1-0 there seemed to be very few nerves from the City players. Maybe it was due to the fact that the Toffees possessed such little attacking threat, maybe the Citizens just felt they were in such control of the game there was nothing to fear.

While City should be praised for keeping their nerve under pressure, the men from Manchester have to keep their cool for the rest of the season. Many of those experienced City players have been in title races before though, so they should know exactly how to handle that level of expectation.

The tight race could go down to the wire

Manchester City boss Guardiola recently talked about the title race going down to the wire, with even goal difference deciding who finishes the season as champions. At this stage of the campaign, it seems difficult to see either Liverpool or Manchester City folding easily.

Sure Liverpool have slipped up a few times with a few recent draws. However, I fully expect the Reds to move back to the top of the table on Saturday by recording a victory over Bournemouth at Anfield.

However, it seems that the pendulum has swung City’s way in the race for the title. The Citizens are now odds of 4/5 to win the Premier League title this season, despite having played an extra game than main rivals Liverpool.

There is still plenty of football left to play and it would be incredible if either team went through the rest of the season without dropping any more points. For City, that means they need to produce a lot more performances like Wednesday’s on Merseyside, as in Liverpool it seems they have a very worthy challenger for their crown.

Are Manchester City now deserved favourites to win the Premier League title this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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