MAN CITY 3, EVERTON 0
Manchester City leapfrogged Liverpool back into second place in the Premier League following an emphatic home victory against Everton.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, Rodri and Bernardo Silva moved Pep Guardiola’s side to within three points of leaders Chelsea.
City, who have now registered nine straight wins against the Toffees since March 2018, were rarely troubled.
They enjoyed 77 per cent possession and had 17 goal attempts to four from Everton who have slipped to 11th place after a worrying dip in form – they have not won in their last six league matches over the last two months on which they have picked up only two points from a possible 18.
City, meanwhile, are starting to look the real deal, scoring goals and mean at the back as this was a sixth clean sheet in 12 league matches. This was the 58th time in Guardiola’s reign that they have won a league game by a margin of three goals or more.Embed from Getty Images
Guardiola said: “When one team comes just to defend it is always going to be difficult and you have to be patient. The quality of the players we have made the difference.
“We gave rhythm into our game. They defended really well, so deep, on the counterattack. In general, we controlled the game. We played the game we should play to beat teams like Everton.
“I am so satisfied for the performance against Everton and our maturity. We were patient and waited for the right moment and did not concede like we did against Crystal Palace.”
Guardiola added City struggled against Rafa Benitez’ side at Newcastle only winning by small margins.
He described Rodri’s goal as “amazing” and also praised the display from Sterling who has yet to hit his best form this season and scored with a “brilliant” strike.
Everton manager Rafa Benitez was disappointed with the defeat, explaining they were well organised defensively but carried little threat in the final third of the pitch.
Nineteen-year-old midfielder Cole Palmer made his first Premier League start for City.
Ruben Dias dropped to the bench and was replaced by Aymeric Laporte, who returned from suspension.
Kevin de Bruyne had tested positive for Covid while Jack Grealish was also out with a minor injury. Gabriel Jesus also dropped to the bench and in came Raheem Sterling.
Everton were unchanged from their 0-0 draw with Tottenham. Mason Holgate, who was sent off after coming on as a late substitute against Spurs, starts a suspension.
Yerry Mina, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were all still injured for the Toffees.
City enjoyed overwhelming pressure in the opening half hour, a remarkable 80 per cent, without translating it into goals in a largely scrappy opening.
There were chances, however, as Phil Foden headed wide and Raheem Sterling over, both from inside the six-yard box.
Bernardo Silva had an effort blocked by Jordan Pickford and Ilkay Gundogan, following up, headed against the crossbar and Palmer had an effort well kept out by the Everton stopper.
There was controversy when City were awarded a 33rd minute penalty only to have it ruled out by referee Stuart Attwell.
Sterling tumbled, albeit going to ground easily, following a challenge by Michael Keane and Attwell pointed to the spot.
VAR official Chris Kavanagh was unable to validate the decision and sent Attwell to the pitchside monitor to take a closer look, after which he ruled it was not a foul.
Just when it looked as though Everton had safely negotiated it to half time, City made a 44th minute breakthrough.
Sterling was released by a sumptuous through ball by Joao Cancelo, his sixth assist of the season, and found the net with a first-time rising shot on the run, an instinctive finish, only his third goal of the season for City.
City had two further shouts for penalties waved away early in the second half, one looking legitimate as Keane caught the boot of Bernardo Silva
But it was not long before City doubled their lead in the 53rd minute through a spectacular strike from Rodri
Foden’s cross from the left was poorly cleared by Keane and Allan and the ball ran to Rodri whose shot on the run from 26 yards arrowed into the top corner, his second of the season.
City made their first change shortly before the hour with Foden replaced by Riyad Mahrez who could have immediately added a third but dragged his effort wide with the goal inviting.
Nathan Ake replaced Laporte with 14 minutes left, City’s second change.
Sterling was denied a second and City’s third by Pickford’s import block after Palmer and Kyle Walker carved open the visiting defence.
City added a third goal their play deserved with four minutes left.
Gundogan made a forward burst, Palmer’s shot was deflected into the path of Bernardo Silva who slotted home a low shot from six yards.
Guardiola replaced Palmer with youngster James McAtee who was handed his Premier League debut.