It is incredible how much a week in football can change. Man City were in danger of going 7 points behind Liverpool if they won at Leicester but after the 2-0 victory at Everton, City are top on goal difference.
The lineup was interesting from Guardiola as many retained their places; apart from Sterling who was dropped for Sané and De Bruyne who was dropped for Stones. City started fast and looked as if they were gunning for all three points, the link up play was superb and many defence splitting balls were played out on the left to Sané. They would have been effective had the German stayed onside.
However, City still created a host of chances and should have taken the lead when Gundogan hit the bar from close range and Laporte missed an easy header from a Sané corner. The away side took the lead with a fantastic header from Laporte, which was made so much better by the timing of his run.
Everton were also dramatically improved from their defeat against Wolves and despite reports that they were going to gift the game to City, they fought hard and looked like a team who had not been struggling.
This was evident in the second half as the pressure Everton piled on City did look as if it would get them back into the game. The most notable chance was when Walker misplaced a pass to Stones and Richarlison played a through ball to Tosun which Ederson dealt with quickly. It was not a vintage Man City performance but they ground out this result; as shown by the second goal in the 90+7th minute when De Bruyne forced an error and played Jesus through on goal who finished off the rebound.
Here’s how we rated the Man City players from the game:
Ederson - 7
Ederson was calm and collected for the majority of the game; he caught crosses and long balls into the box with authority and the awareness to stop Tosun through on goal shows he is more than just a midfielder in goal.
Kyle Walker - 6
I think Walker is still tired from his World Cup exploits. I am not making an excuse for his drop in form as I feel he could have cost City the game with that mistake, but these mistakes were not as often last season. He dealt well with the threat of both Bernard and Richarlison but looked sceptical with long balls played towards him.
John Stones - 8
He was excellent against his former club because he was composed, calm and defensively excellent. Calvert-Lewin provided a physical battle, which Stones won today, but what I was more impressed with was the ‘false centre back’ role that Stones tried at times. He stepped into midfield like Fernandinho did against Arsenal and played a few beautiful balls out to Sané.
Nicolas Otamendi - 6
He was definitely picked for the battle against Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison had he have started. He was excellent in the air but there were a few reckless sliding challenges that could have led to a goal.
Aymeric Laporte - 9 (Motm)
Laporte is a phenomenon. I was gutted when we did not sign him when we were first linked and I feel that he is making up for lost time. He was not great against Newcastle and I feel that was because he had a period out of the side. However, playing at CB or LB he just dominates the aerial duels and the one on ones. To make it even better he cuts the passing lanes so well to trigger a City attack. His goal also deserves a mention as the step back to give himself the space to score that difficult header was world class and we are so lucky to have him.
Fernandinho - 8
He played a very clever game, as he usually does. However, he tactically broke down play with fouls that he knew was not going to be a booking. Fernandinho provided far more than that; he won the ball numerous times in midfield against an impressive Tom Davies and once again his passes to the left wing could have been so deadly like they were against Arsenal.
Bernardo Silva - 8
Pep said in his press conference that it is ‘Bernardo plus 10 others’ and you can see why he places so much faith in the Portuguese playmaker. He was so clever on the wing even battling hard with Digne to stop the Everton counter. On the ball he is so impressive, receiving it and turning inside beating a few players and laying it off to keep the control in City’s hands. A genius who is having a special season
Ilkay Gundogan - 7
He worked hard and had a tough task against the impressive Gueye. Gundogan should have scored in the first half and arguably should have had a penalty, but with more time in the side he is showing far more of his ability.
David Silva - 6
El Mago is off his usual best and it showed at times as his link up play with Sané was nowhere near as crisp as it could be. He played a couple of nice balls and kept the ball well, other than his delivery for Laporte he was fairly quiet.
Leroy Sané - 5
He was poor in my opinion. The offside flag went up against his at least 5 times in the first half, which summed up is performance. When he is on form he is the best young player in the league but he needs to find a consistency to become truly world class
Sergio Aguero - 6
The fact I do not remember much of Aguero’s involvement says a lot. I did not feel he pressed the defence as hard as he could of and to be fair did not receive the usual service.
Raheem Sterling - 7 (59' sub)
His energy was very noticeable compared to Sané as he instantly looked more of a threat when he came on and almost created a goal straight away. He made a few lovely runs into the box and all that was missing was the finish. Not only was he a good outlet on the left but he helped Laporte out winning battles against the likes of Walcott.
Gabriel Jesus - 6 (80' sub)
He was the sub I was screaming for and when he eventually came on he gave 110% and pressed the Everton back line and won a couple of corners at the end of the game. His goal was credit to his positioning, he made a great run for KDB to play through and a cheeky header sealed all 3 points.
Kevin De Bruyne - N/A (89' sub)
Won the ball back and played a smart ball through to Jesus for him to kill the game.