Rodri and Cancelo dismantle the Toffees – Manchester City 3-0 Everton Review
In their first game in over two weeks, Manchester City ran out 3-0 winners against Everton at The Etihad in the Premier League.
With the derby victory long in Pep Guardiola's memory, his City side dismantled a weakened Everton team. Rodri was once again brilliant, Joao Cancelo impressed with what may be the assist of the season and the academy lads were given a run-out.
With Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne both out, the first through injury and the second through COVID-19, whatever team Pep Guardiola chose would be different from his last.
Here is what the boss opted to go with, including a first Premier League start for academy graduate, Cole Palmer.
As expected, from the start City completely dominated the ball, choking the Everton defence with their slick passing in and around the penalty area. Rodri was once again brilliant, recycling every Manchester City attack - a vast improvement on his initial season under Guardiola.
The first chance came just eight minutes into the game, through Phil Foden. Deployed on the right-wing, Raheem Sterling faked the ball past Lucas Digne and whipped in a mean-looking ball to Foden, who was free at the back-post. However, the cross was slightly behind the City youngster, who still did well to get his head to it but could only head over.
Guardiola's side then hit the crossbar 20 minutes later. Cole Palmer smartly slotted Bernardo Silva through Rafa Benetiz's defence, the Portuguese midfielder attempted to chip Jordan Pickford but was unsuccessful. England's No.1 could only manage to push it back to Ilkay Gundogan, but he headed onto the frame of the goal.
Despite their dishing out of death by 1000 passes, City still hadn't scored. Nevertheless, they were awarded a penalty after Micheal Keane supposedly brought down Sterling inside the box. VAR, however, had its say and advised the referee, Stuart Atwell, to have another look at the monitor. A few tense moments later, the referee overturned his original decision, leaving City without their penalty.
Just before half-time, the Premier League champions broke the deadlock with a goal that words don't do justice. Joao Cancelo picked the ball up halfway into the Everton half, set himself and somehow played the ball over the Toffee's defence in a trivela-like fashion - Sterling was there to emphatically volley home. WHAT A GOAL.
City started the second half in the same fashion that they ended the first, with a wonder goal. The first was more elegant but the second was like a rocket had been let off. After Everton thought they'd cleared their lines from a Foden cross, the ball fell to Rodri who slammed the ball with power, swerve, and force past Pickford from around 25-yards out. If the net wasn't there the ball would still be travelling.
Midway through the second 45, City should have had a third. Palmer excellently slipped through Kyle Walker. He drove down the right side and squared the ball to Sterling, all he needed to do was tap into the net but he over-complicates it and Pickford smothered the ball from under his feet.
Just before the end, Guardiola's side did get their third. Captain, Ilkay Gundogan picked up the ball and laid through Palmer, who attempts to shoot but it gets blocked. The block deflected the ball into the path of Bernardo Silva and he finished the game off making it 3-0.
James McAtee would make his Premier League debut shortly after, replacing Palmer, and looking right at home with his first touches in the league – prompting Gary Neville to suggest David Silva had left a few clones at the Etihad.
Ederson (7) Walker (7) Stones (7) Laporte (6) Cancelo (8.5) Rodri (9) Gundogan (8) Silva (8) Palmer (7.5) Sterling (8) Foden (7)
Substitutes: Mahrez (6) Ake (6) McAtee (N/A)
Well, what a performance by City. Many worried before the game about how the Premier League champions would cope without Kevin De Bruyne but today they showed they aren't reliant on the Belgian.
They'll face off against PSG midweek, with Messi and co travelling to Manchester. Last time, they held the upper hand in the game but were let down by the lack of a vocal point and consequently were beat 2-0 but if they perform to a similar level as they did today they might be just fine.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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