• Karel L.

Big win for City at Goodison Park

Manchester City achieved a tremendous away win against Everton in a very difficult match. Thanks to this result, the team still maintains a good advantage over its competitors.

The analysis

Every time I talk about the lineup I mention the solidity that is always shown in all areas but to tell the truth on this occasion I didn't like the starting XI at all.

I say this mainly because I did not like at all that Mahrez, our best player so far this year, spent most of the game on the bench, especially when we do not have a very important game in midweek.

Also, the insistence on putting Bernardo as a winger or false 9 and not as a midfielder means that a lot of his talent is lost because he is not able to do what he knows how to do, which is to pass the ball around, shoot from long distance, etc. In addition, opponents often isolate him so that he is not dangerous, which practically ensures that we end up playing with practically one less.

That said, it wasn't all bad and Stones' level every time he plays is wonderful, the guy gives us security, that being honest and without intending to be a hater, we didn't get with Laporte, and it's something that many of you expressed after the previous result.

Now, on the tactical issue, something I want to highlight is that, as I said, Bernardo doesn't usually work when he is pushed forward so much, but to be fair, at the start of the game he was quite involved or at least trying to be, moving from one side to the other, etc.

Despite this, the reality is that Everton overcomplicated the game, Lampard's tactics were extremely intelligent, and as you may know, I have sometimes pointed out that City likes to be pressed high, that the opposing team gets forward and approaches Ederson because with the Brazilian's good touch the team can take advantage of long spaces.

However, the opposing coach did not allow this, his team only pressed up to midfield, so both Ruben and Laporte had enough trouble finding a safe line of pass for Rodri.

Having said that, the truth is that I also think we have to give credit to our players and Pep because they countered this with quick passes and a lot of intensity and pressure when they had the ball, which usually helped us to recover quickly.

Proof of this was the second half, which to be honest looked like a completely different game to the one we had seen during the first 45 minutes, with City intense, attacking, focused, etc.

In fact, for most of the second half, Everton didn't even come close to our goal, we nullified them in such a way that all they could do was sit back and hope we didn't score.

Now, I would also like to talk about the negative points, and I don't know if maybe I'm being too strict but there are things that I don't like.

First of all, and this is something that you have highlighted, is that no substitutions are being made and I totally agree. I don't understand Guardiola's need to change the XI until the 85th minute when there is little that can be done unless there is a big mistake like today.

In addition to this, we repeated one of the mistakes that led us to the defeat against Tottenham and that is a clear lack of communication and even lack of concentration among the players. I say this because Rodri, Kevin, or Gundogan were constantly being anticipated by players coming at them from behind, so we ended up giving the ball away.

In this kind of matches where we have a lot at stake, it is important to always be focused and I think that at times the team is not concentrated. I understand that there is a lot of fatigue, there has been a match practically every 3 days, and both physically and mentally everyone is exhausted, however, I think that if we want to aspire to win everything we have to be more attentive.

Key moments

The match was marked by 3 important moments.

- 33' Ederson's save: The Brazilian has been criticized a lot for his recent performances, but he is always there when needed at key moments. In this play, although the ball ended up going straight to him, he still had to be there to stop it.

- 81' Foden's goal: This goal was key not only for the victory but also for what it represents for the team, and although it was a product of a mistake by them, the reality is that throughout the second half City struggled to get it.

85' VAR decision: To be honest, up to this point I still have many doubts about this play, but the important thing here was what the VAR determined, and that is that their decision to flag an offside prior to Rodri's possible handball saved us from what would surely have been an equalizer.

Players of the Match

As it could not be otherwise, Foden's game was simply spectacular and he deserves to be the player of the match, but let's review some points.

During the 90 minutes he never stopped moving all over the field, he supported the recovery of the ball, switched from left to right, stepped in the box to finish, etc. In fact, the goal was precisely a product of that mobility.

Having said that, the second player I want to highlight and who could be a surprise is Ruben, and that is that our Portuguese center back is by far the best in Europe.

He understands very well how to play and that has given him the ability to often leave the opposing team offside. In addition, today he was very attentive in every way and defended very well against a great striker.

Finally I have to make mention of Kevin de Bruyne because when the Belgian has the ball at his feet it is impossible not to feel a kind of excitement because something good will result.

Throughout today's game Kevin controlled the tempo and was also key to the recovery, so it was mandatory to include him.

Post-match reactions

· Pep spoke about the controversial play in which the VAR was involved. "It was offside. There was VAR and the action was offside. I didn't see the image." [via @_joebray]

· He also highlighted and thanked all the support that the fans gave to Zinchenko. "Thank you so much for all the people at Goodison Park. So emotional. Not a nice moment for Zinchenko and the Ukrainian people right now. The people from Goodison Park were amazing for this." [via @SkySportsPL/@_joebray]

· Finally, he commented on what he told his players at half-time. “At half-time I said guys you are doing really well, be patient and the right moment we will find a solution.” [via @footballdaily]

Who's next?

Manchester City will face Peterborough United next Tuesday, March 1.