Pep Guardiola extended his one-sided record against Sean Dyche as Manchester City beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park.
Manchester City fell further behind in the title race at the weekend and even dropped to fifth as they sat out of Premier League action, travelling home from their Club World Cup triumph having been officially crowned the best team in the world.
The Club World Cup win came after what had been a bit of a rocky patch for Man City which saw them win just one of their past five Premier League matches, beating Luton alongside draws with Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Crystal Palace and a defeat to Aston Villa. At the start of that run, Man City were top of the league and odds-on favourites to retain their title, but now the battle is on.
It looked as though things would get worse for Man City as they suffered in the first half against an Everton side looking to bounce back from defeat at the weekend following a winning run. The goal came from good Everton play but there were also Man City errors, with Bernardo Silva slipping on the sideline and Rodri then dispossessed in the box, playing the ball to Dwight McNeil. The Englishman still had to keep his cool, but his pass to Jack Harrison was neat and the former Man City man put the hosts ahead.
Just the fourth time Man City had trailed at half-time in the Premier League this season, fans will have been confident of Guardiola’s side coming from behind, as they had won two and lost one of the previous three occasions they had been behind at the break. In fact, Man City had lost just two of their last 11 Premier League games when trailing at the break, winning six and drawing three.
Man City were level within 10 minutes of the restart, with Phil Foden striking from long range with a driven shot low at the near post. It was a great effort that left Jordan Pickford with no chance of saving, and Man City found confidence from then on, stepping up a gear.
However, they did still need a bit of fortune for their second, as Amadou Onana was penalised for a handball from close range inside the box. The ball was hit at him from close, and the shot going off target, but his arm was raised which left the referee little option by the letter of the law.
After VAR review and Everton protests, Julian Alvarez stepped up to take the penalty and he was lucky with it, going down the middle with Pickford getting legs onto the ball but he was unable to stop it from going in. Man City were in control from then on and Everton rarely looked like troubling Ederson, even though the Citizens have been extremely leaky defensively in the league recently — having conceded 12 goals in their previous six games.
Bernardo Silva has now scored and assisted in six Premier League games for Man City:
◉ vs. Cardiff
◉ vs. Fulham
◉ vs. Everton
◉ vs. Newcastle
◉ vs. West Ham
◉ vs. Everton
All six matches have been away from home. 🛣 https://t.co/4kjzOuJhOm
— Squawka (@Squawka) December 27, 2023
Silva wrapped up the scoring, having already set up Foden’s equaliser for his 37th assist in the Premier League — with only Nani (43) providing more among Portuguese players in the competition’s history. It was a fine finish from Silva, curling the ball around Pickford after the Everton goalkeeper had a poor pass rebound off Jarrad Branthwaite.
The win means Man City have now won 11 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, with only Liverpool (19), Brighton (13) and Aston Villa (12) claiming more. It was also the eighth time Man City had won the second half in the Premier League this season, a bit of a low record for a team of their ability, with four draws and six defeats.
Nonetheless, the victory was theirs and Guardiola has now beaten Dyche for the 16th time as a manager from 17 games, with an aggregate score of 52-6. Poor Sean.