What was the key to City's hard-fought win over Everton at Goodison Park?
We take a look under the bonnet of City's latest win to volunteer what we think were the key points to take away from the match.
New signing Raheem Sterling and David Silva exchanged passes 26 times during the game at Goodison Park, second only to Yaya Toure and Fernandinho’s 31. Silva and Sterling have instantly struck up an understanding, with the young winger’s pace and movement providing the perfect platform for Silva to exercise his passing range in the attacking third. It was no great surprise that Silva fed Sterling before the assist for Aleks Kolarov’s goal - City's left side is working superbly.
Touch is often the best indicator of a player’s form. Is the weight of their passing right? Is their control instant? Yaya Toure’s pass for Samir Nasri’s goal spoke of a player finely in tune with his game. The no-look pass, nonchalantly flipped between two Everton defenders and goalkeeper Tim Howard, was the perfect blend of technique and vision. It’s very early days in the 2015/16 but we may not see a better ball this season.
Everyone is talking about City’s hunger this season and that must be down in some part to competition for places. With two fine centre-backs on the bench in Martin Demichelis and young Jason Denayer, plus new boy Nicolas Otamendi joining the battle, it is no surprise that Eliaquim Mangala and Vincent Kompany are raising their game. Not only are the duo defending with intensity but also discipline, with the offside trap springing just in time to catch Romelu Lukaku.
Now back it up
A return of nine points, eight goals scored and none conceded from opening games against West Brom (away), Chelsea (home) and Everton (away) is, by any standards, excellent. The key now is to back up those results against the perceived lesser lights of Watford (home), Crystal Palace (away) and West Ham (home) in the next three games. Boss Manuel Pellegrini has repeatedly said inconsistency against struggling teams cost City last season. City know they can beat those teams, the key will be in ruthless execution against dangerous opposition.
Before Sunday City had won just three times in 18 Premier League visits to Goodison Park. They have now won two and drawn one of their last three. Everton put up a characteristically dogged display but City didn’t buckle. They held firm defensively, stayed true to their principles of attacking, passing football and eventually broke through. Goodison Park should of course be a place to respect, but no longer to fear for City.
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