Match Report

Foden breaks Everton's resolve as City bounce back

Foden breaks Everton's resolve as City bounce back
Premier League
Premier League
Sat 26 Feb
Phil Foden 
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Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League as Phil Foden’s late goal broke Everton’s stubborn resistance in a hard-fought contest at Goodison Park.

Pep Guardiola’s men had been frustrated for 81 minutes until Foden nipped in front of Michael Keane to turn Bernardo Silva’s deflected cross past Jordan Pickford to ensure City bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in positive fashion.

City survived a late penalty scare when the ball bounced into Rodrigo's upper arm, but following a VAR check, it was decided it had not struck the 'red zone' below the Spaniard's sleeve line.

Everton had the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes, when Jonjoe Kenny fired into the side netting and Richarlison spurned a glorious chance by sending his effort straight at Ederson from 10-yards.

City were much improved after the break, but the performance of the impressive Pickford looked like it might be enough to deny the defending champions until Foden struck.

The England international had already made a smart stop from the Academy graduate’s first-time angled drive when he produced a superb double save to keep out De Bruyne and Bernardo.

Pickford was at full stretch to push the Belgian’s 20-yard effort away, recovering quickly to stick out a firm hand that blocked Bernardo’s effort on the follow up.

It felt like that might be the moment on which the game hinged, but City continued to push for a breakthrough, and it duly arrived when Holgate and Keane failed to deal with the Portuguese midfielder's cross, with Foden reacting quickest to round Pickford and seal all three points.

Contrasting halves

It is 14 months since City last failed to win in two consecutive games and, with Liverpool having reduced our lead at the top of the table to three points, Guardiola’s men arrived on Merseyside intent on delivering a reaction to last weekend’s defeat to Spurs.

However, for 45 minutes, Everton were equal to the league leaders, who lacked our usual cutting edge in the final third.

Backed by a vociferous home crowd and unbeaten at Goodison under new boss Frank Lampard, the Toffees made life difficult for the visitors, who were unable to produce the final ball to penetrate a packed midfield.

The cagey opening meant it took until the 29th minute for either side to register a shot on target, with De Bruyne spinning away from the attentions of Abdoulaye Doucoure and forcing Pickford into a save down to his right with a 25-yard effort.

Everton responded instantly and finished the half the stronger.

Allan picked De Bruyne’s pocket and released the overlapping Kenny who had the home fans thinking he’d broke the deadlock when his angled drive flashed the wrong side of the post.

That galvanised the hosts and, minutes later, Richarlison let City off the hook when Guardiola’s men failed to clear Kenny’s deflected cross and the Brazilian nipped in behind Ruben Dias but fired the resultant shot straight down Ederson’s throat.

City dig deep

Late goals have been a theme of Guardiola’s reign at the Etihad Stadium, with the Catalan building a side who never knows when its beaten and that was evidenced in abundance at Goodison, where City eventually wore our opponents down.

The visitors seized control of proceedings after the break, though Everton remained just as stubborn against wave after wave of attack.

Lampard's side were indebted to Pickford, who kept his team in the game with a string of fine saves as City upped the ante.

It started as he beat away Foden’s first time effort after a superb cross field pass from Bernardo and he did the same when Stones fired a half-volley towards goal from 20-yards when Kenny failed to clear the goalscorer’s centre.

City looked most threatening down the left, with Foden, Bernardo and Joao Cancelo combining to great effect and it was on that side that the defending champions instigated a move that forced an exceptional response from Pickford.

De Bruyne’s fizzing effort – set up by a brilliant flick from Ilkay Gundogan – was kept out with a smart stop down to his left and Bernardo looked certain to convert the rebound only for the Everton ‘keeper to produce a reflex save from point blank range.

The one way traffic demanded Everton’s full concentration, but whereas Keane’s lapsed at the near post, Foden was alert to steal in for a goal that sparked jubilant celebrations in the away end.

Pep Guardiola: An important win

"I have to admit, really important [to get the win].

“The second half was much better for the consequences of the first half. We moved them and attacked better.

“Goodison Park for us is always so difficult. (It was a) good victory, another step.

“In general, we controlled in the second half, we had chances, not a lot because it was not possible but the second was half much, much better.”

As it stands

Premier League
1 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 7 6 0 1 17 5 12 18 WWWWL
2 Tottenham Hotspur Spurs 7 5 2 0 17 8 9 17 WWWDW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 7 5 2 0 15 6 9 17 DWWDW
Last updated: 4 October 2023

Man of the match: Phil Foden

With Everton's hopes of holding on for a point growing by the minute, the midfielder duly obliged with the goal City's second half display deserved for what felt like a big moment in the season.

What it means

City remain unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since our opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, taking 35 points from a possible 38 in that time.

This win moves us six points clear of second placed Liverpool again, though the Reds have a game in hand due to their involvement in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

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CITY: Ederson, Stones, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C) (Mahrez 77’), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Sterling (Jesus 77’).

SUBS: Carson, Slicker, Walker, Ake, Grealish, Zinchenko, Fernandinho.

EVERTON: Pickford, Coleman (c), Holgate, Keane, Kenny, Allan, Doucoure, Van de Beek (Dele 71’), Gordon (Gray 77’), Iwobi, Richarlison.

SUBS: Begovic, Patterson, Townsend, Mykolenko, Branthwaite, Rondon, El Ghazi.

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