City still winless in three after a 1-1 draw with Everton at The Etihad on Saturday
Old friends Ronald Koeman and Pep Guardiola met for the first time in league football as managers, since they played together for Barcelona all those years ago. Guardiola spent much of the pre-match press conference talking about how much he respected Koeman, who he called his friend. He also said that John Stones could go on to emulate Koeman, noting how similar they were. This game however ended all square but City were by far the better of the sides, as they had 70% possession. Here’s the craic.
If this game was a song…
Pen Pineapple Apple Pen
Two missed pens in one game may sound strange, but two pens in one pineapple and one apple sounds even stranger…
This game saw City have two penalties saved: one from Kevin de Bruyne and the other from Sergio Aguero. Not only did both of these penalty misses cock up my entire fantasy team, it seemed to fuel the Everton goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, with self-belief and he went on to have an absolute blinder. He later made a terrific save from a long-range Kevin de Bruyne effort, and a Kelechi Iheanacho backheel.
Man of the Match
David Silva looks well and truly reinvigorated this season! Last season he was still a brilliant player, but not the level of brilliance that we expect from Silva. Everton player, and ex-City powerhouse, Gareth Barry described Silva as the best player he’s played along-side, and you could see that in this match again. The vision and positioning on the little man was wonderful, and the cross he put in for Nolito to head in the goal on the 71st minute was inch-perfect.
Three at the Back
With Bacary Sagna’s injury, Pablo Zabaleta’s ageing, and Pablo Maffeo’s inexperience, Guardiola decided that City simply wouldn’t play a right-back this game, so stuck with three at the back. It seemed to work quite well. Stones and Otamendi had great games again and seem to be creating quite a strong partnership between them, and the wing-backs in Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane worked surprisingly well. Especially Sane, who was incredible in the first half up against Bryan Oviedo, but also equally as incredible when told to track back. However, there is always a risk when using a new formation and it may have had a helping hand in Everton’s goal. Gael Clichy quickly found himself up against Romulu Lukaku on his own, as Otamendi and Stones had been caught further up the pitch, and Lukaku simply bumbled past Clichy to put the ball in the back of the net.
It was Nolito’s birthday today and the Spaniard came on moments after the City team were low after missing yet another penalty. So the birthday boy stepped up, and it took him the whole of three minutes to head the ball into the back of the net and level the game. The Spaniard was returning after a three game suspension after a pretty poor attempt at a headbutt earlier in the season, and it was evident that the Blues might have missed the underrated new guy on the street in recent games. He will be vital against Barcelona mid-week.
This may look a little like two points dropped, but Everton have looked very good this season, and this could very well be a point gained when City fans look back on it at the end of the season. Plus, things get easier after this match: City face Barcelona mid-week.