Match Report

Rodrigo stunner helps City down Everton

Rodrigo stunner helps City down Everton
Premier League
Premier League
Sun 21 Nov
Raheem Sterling 


Bernardo Silva 

View highlights
Rodrigo scored a goal of the season contender as Manchester City beat Everton 3-0 in a one-sided affair at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spaniard beat Jordan Pickford with a 25-yard thunderbolt to double City’s lead after Raheem Sterling converted Joao Cancelo’s superb cross to mark his 300th Premier League appearance with a goal.

Bernardo Silva wrapped up the three points late on, when he reacted quickest to slide Cole Palmer’s deflected strike through Pickford’s legs from six-yards.

It was another masterful performance from the defending champions, who replicated the dominant display against Manchester United a fortnight ago to claim a deserved victory.

With City enjoying 77% of possession, Everton mustered just two shots on target, with Ederson's only save of note coming from a free-kick Andros Townsend fired straight at the goalkeeper.

And, such was our superiority, the margin of victory could have been far greater.

With Pickford beaten, Ilkay Gundogan saw a looping header bounce off the top of the crossbar, whilst Sterling had a penalty decision overturned after referee Stuart Attwell consulted the pitch-side monitor and adjudged no foul had taken place when Michael Keane’s contact sent the winger to the floor.

Sterling spurned a glorious chance to claim a second, when he arrived unmarked at the far post to meet substitute Riyad Mahrez’s low cross, only for Pickford to gather after the winger’s heavy touch let him down.

Guardiola handed 19-year-old James McAtee his Premier League debut in the final five minutes, and the young midfielder showed some impressive touches, going close to adding a fourth when he fired into the side-netting with seconds remaining.

The win sees City return to second in the table, having temporarily dropped to third following Liverpool’s victory over Arsenal on Saturday.

City in cruise control

The build up to this game was far from ideal for Guardiola’s men.

After 10 days apart due to the international break, the Catalan had to contend with the loss of Kevin De Bruyne due to COVID-19 and Jack Grealish, who picked up an injury whilst away with England.

Phil Foden was also a doubt, but started in a contest in which City could have been out of sight by half-time.

Everton set up to contain but their hopes of threatening on the counter-attack were dented when Demari Gray limped off inside 20-minutes and, after a cagey start, the hosts soon began to create chance after chance.

In the opening exchanges, Foden strained to head Sterling’s cross wide at the far post and, when he returned the favour as momentum began to build, City’s No.7 planted a header over the bar from six-yards.

A slide-rule Palmer pass saw Silva denied as Pickford raced off his line to make a block and the Everton No.1 was left breathing a sigh of relief as Gundogan’s follow up header dropped harmlessly onto the crossbar.

It was one of several moments of promise from Palmer, who proved why he is so highly thought of on his first league start.

Regularly popping up in pockets of space in the final third, he was denied a goal when Pickford scrambled across his line to push his 20-yard drive away, but will feel he could have done better when he blazed over from a similar distance after the break.

The youngster again looked at home in a City side firing on all cylinders and, with a history of performing well during the winter, this victory, coupled with the win at United, bodes well for the hectic festive period.

Classy cancelo

In the midst of his best spell in a City shirt, Cancelo has been one of City’s star men this season.

He has started all 12 of our Premier League games and this showing only reinforced how valuable his attacking qualities are. 

Whether it’s from his preferred right-back position, or the left-back slot he filled against the Toffees, the Portuguese defender’s pace, dribbling and technical ability offer a unique threat from full-back.

It was the latter which proved decisive against Everton, as he unlocked the visitors’ defence with a pass of the highest quality.

Rafael Benitez's men seemed to be under little threat after clearing a Foden cross, but Cancelo picked a hole in the deep-lying back line with a superb curling pass off the outside of his boot, which Sterling gratefully steered home.

It was a moment of brilliance and the winger's conversion was equally impressive, netting a composed first-time finish on the half-volley to break the deadlock at a crucial point in the game.

Pep Guardiola reaction

"It was good before the international break and it was good after the break.

"Rafa is a master of the moments defensively, with a team that doesn't want to attack, just defend, defend, defend and wait for the counter attack with Gray and Richarlison.

"We made a lot of passes and at the right moment attacked them and when we lost the ball were good in transition. We handled the moments in the game. I’m so satisfied with the performance after the international break."

Man of the Match: Rodrigo

The Spaniard was brilliant in the 2-0 victory over Manchester United and he returned from the international break with another fine display.

With City in total control throughout, he was composed in possession to build attacks and alert to sniff out any danger on the rare occasions Everton looked like they might threaten.

That is the 25-year-old’s bread and butter and today’s performance was elevated with a sensational strike, which he arrowed first time into the top corner to give Pickford no chance.

A goal of the highest quality.

Stat Zone

  • Aged 26 years and 348 days, Sterling is the fourth youngest player to reach 300 Premier League appearances.
  • Bernardo has had 50 Premier League goal involvements (25 goals, 25 assists), and has scored in back-to-back league appearances for the first time since March 2018.

What it means

City remain second in the table, three points behind leaders Chelsea after 12 games and we have a three-point cushion over fourth placed West Ham United, who visit the Etihad next weekend.

This clean sheet was our 20th in the league in 2021, which is the most we have achieved in a calendar year.

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CITY: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte (Ake 76’), Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), Bernardo, Palmer (McAtee 87’), Foden (Mahrez 57’), Sterling.

SUBS: Steffen, Carson, Dias, Jesus, Zichenko, Fernandinho.

EVERTON: Pickford, Coleman (c), Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan (Onyango90’), Delph (Rondon 63’), Townsend, Gray (Iwobi 17’), Gordon, Richarlison.

SUBS: Begovic, Kenny, Tosun, Gbamin, Branthwaite , Simms.

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