Bernardo Silva orchestrates latest Man City victory to prolong Everton’s pain

Manchester City swelled their cushion at the Premier League summit to 10 points, while extending their winning run against Everton to six consecutive matches.

Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut have departed Goodison with an aggregate score of 11-3 from their past four visits. Everton, meanwhile, have lost three top-flight home fixtures on the spin for the first time since March 2016.

Perhaps the only oddity of the clash was that City had actually conceded.

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Carlo Ancelotti’s charges were chasing shadows for large stanzas through the first half, dizzy from the opponent’s passing carousel. 

When Riyad Mahrez’s cross had only been half cleared and Phil Foden volleyed towards the bottom left, the ball deflecting wildly off Seamus Coleman and flying in the opposite direction of Jordan Pickford’s dive, the hosts hadn’t even completed a pass in the final third.

It had been all the league’s pacesetters, the game contoured their way but being frustrated in the face of a massed defence. 

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When Foden’s effort flew in, the flow of proceedings and City’s impeccable defensive record suggested there could only be one possible result: a victory for the league leaders.

And yet Everton were level five minutes later.

Coleman, who had been introduced on 18 minutes for the injured Yerry Mina, was afforded space on right and delivered the ball across to Lucas Digne. 

The Frenchman connected with a first-time shot towards the bottom right, but his strike skidded off the post and onto Richarlison’s thigh before nestling over the line.

It was only the second goal City had conceded in the last nine league matches, and given their control here, it had certainly taken them by surprise. 

Both teams were minus their main weaponry and it showed somewhat in the opening 45.  

Ancelotti was unable to call upon top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, out with a hamstring problem, curtailing the team’s core outlet ball and offensive option. Guardiola was without Player of the Season candidate Ilkay Gundogan through a groin issue, which diluted the effectiveness of their build-up play and diminished their decisive edge in the area. 

City, nonetheless, resumed their role of taking the initiative in the second stanza. There were several openings worked by Gabriel Jesus, while Pickford produced a top-shelf save to thwart a stinging volley from Bernardo Silva.

Everton were happy to allow City possession, wall them in and look to break. The problem with that was it discounted that the pass, pass, pass, pass could be coupled with a moment of eye-widening brilliance. 

And Mahrez was on hand to provide it. Silva had taken the ball and was faced with two markers, so rolled for the Algeria international, who was on the run. 

Mahrez opened his body, cut onto his left, picked his spot and pinged a pearler in off the post and into the top left.

It was a glorious hit and Silva, who had been the orchestrator of City’s best play in the second period, followed suit. 

Having been slipped in by Jesus, he took a touch, dropped his shoulder and beat Pickford with a low rocket that was accompanied by the ‘goalkeeper could have done better’ thought. 

To cement their authority in the encounter, City chucked on Kevin De Bruyne, returning from injury, for Raheem Sterling.

It was already curtains for Everton, but the visitors pushed for another until the closing seconds. It didn’t materialise and it was a form of torture for Everton to engage in block and clearance after block and clearance.

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