It was a memorable night for Manchester City Football Club.
A 2-0 win at Everton saw City move back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference.
And a Nikkita Parris double earned Nick Cushing’s side a 2-0 win against Chelsea, a result that sees us secure a place in the Continental Cup final for the fourth time.
The press have had their say, and we begin this morning’s Media watch with Jonathan Smith’s post-match analysis of the game at Goodison Park for ESPN.
He says City moving back to the summit of the table is a significant moment and singled out Fernandinho for praise in his player ratings, a player he believes “controlled the game”.
“Pep Guardiola wants to lead from the front, and he will be delighted to have edged back to the top for the first time in two months," he writes. "Though Liverpool have a game in hand, being second in the table cranks up more pressure on Jurgen Klopp's side after their back-to-back draws. But this will also offer a huge confidence boost for City, who looked a long way off the pace just seven days ago when they lost to Newcastle United.
The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor praised City’s desire and fighting qualities on a night when, despite not being at our fluent best, a vital victory was earned.
“Manchester City have had to wait 52 days to remind themselves what it is like to look down on the rest of the Premier League and, having played that game of catchup for so long, it is fair to assume they must be happily enjoying the view from the top,” he writes. “True, Liverpool have a game in hand to add into the equation. Yet City are entitled to feel invigorated when there was a seven-point deficit at one point and the possibility, as Pep Guardiola has acknowledged, that the champions looked done.
“Only a small possibility, mind, and more fool anyone for believing that a team with City’s assorted gifts would relinquish their title without a heck of a struggle. City look primed for battle and their latest triumph was precisely the kind of victory, to borrow the old cliche, that every successful team requires in a championship season. Not at their most fluent, perhaps, but talented enough for that not to matter, scoring in the final seconds of the first period and then repeating the trick in the second half.”
Danny Mills, speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit on the Debate show, says the momentum in the title race is now with City.
“Liverpool have had a blip and maybe that is all it is, but I think that the momentum has now massively swung in Manchester City’s favour,” he said.
“To have a nine-point lead not so long ago has suddenly disappeared and that is after City have lost recently as well to the likes of Newcastle.
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“Now the pressure is on Liverpool. City have won several titles in recent years and so have been there and done that.
“Liverpool on the other hand are trying to win a first title in the best part of 30 years”
The Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack was at Kingsmeadow to see City qualify for the Continental Cup final and she was impressed with Parris' ruthlessness in front of goal.
Wrack writes: “Parris’s 18th and 19th goals of the season punished a wasteful Chelsea, who have never reached the final of this competition, and Emma Hayes was left ruing chances missed in the first half. “I‘ve said it all along, you’ve got to take your chances,” the Chelsea manager said, wearily. “We had three glorious chances in the first half and we didn’t take them. We made an error, conceded a penalty and I think it affected us mentally. Goals win football matches. A year ago we were converting those chances.”
“This was always going to be a close encounter. With the two best defensive records in the league, Chelsea and Manchester City have been tough to break down, conceding 11 and 12 in all competitions respectively but the scoreless first half flattered City. The first real chance fell to Chelsea. Fran Kirby, racing through, tried to chip Karen Bardsley but the keeper saved. Erin Cuthbert was there with the follow-up but could only knock it over from close range under pressure from Jen Beattie.
“From then on it was the Chelsea show. With City playing 4-4-2, the home team were left with acres of space on the right, Jess Carter punishing Caroline Weir for drifting inside. With five minutes of the half remaining, Chelsea’s best chance fell to Beth England, a free header wide of the far post looking harder to miss than score. With renewed vigour City powered forward after the break and as Parris raced into the box from the right, Deanna Cooper slid in, sending the forward flying.
“The referee, David Rock, pointed to the spot and Parris, the record WSL goalscorer, stepped up. Hedvig Lindahl went the right way but the shot was too high and powerful for the Swede. With the tables turned, City held their shape much better.”
That’s all for this morning’s Media Watch – but stay with us throughout the day as we bring you more reaction from a wonderful evening for the football club.