Everton travelled to The Etihad stadium on Monday night in what was earmarked as a big test for the Blues.
It was never going to be easy, but in fact, Everton played a blinder in the first half of the game. Going forward the home side looked a consistent threat, as expected, but Everton continuously soaked it up and began to create chance of their own. Mason Holgate performed impeccably for most of the match, but, more particularly going forward in the first 45 minutes.
Sergio Aguero struck the post, amongst other opportunities, as the first half went on. On the back of a city attack, the toffees broke quickly with Calvert-Lewin and Holgate taking it down the right hand side of the City defence. Wayne Rooney arrived just inside the City box to slot home a well picked out low cross by Calvert-Lewin to complete an efficient move. Shortly before the half ended, Kyle Walker recieved his second yellow card for an elbow to the throat of DCL.
The second half never really was for the travelling Blues. A lack of bravery going forward could be highlighted, considering the home side were now down to 10 men. The Citizen’s just kept attacking, constantly camping in and around our box. It must be said, however, that Everton’s defence was impeccable, quick and resilient considering the sheer amount of pressure it found itself under. A very organised Everton defence was finally breached by a cross that fell to Raheem Stirling who volleyed home from 8 or so yards.
Before time was up Morgan Schneiderlin was also given a second yellow card for an apparent late challenge on Aguero. Having seen it in real time and the replays, it was possibly the worst piece of officiating in this weekends Premier league matches as the French midfielder clearly won the ball without any contact on the city man. Due to it being a second yellow card, Schneiderlin will now face a one game ban which isn’t open to appeal and will not be reviewed by FA officials.
On the whole, it’s a result we’d have taken before the game. No doubt. But, you can’t help but feel we could and should have killed a 10 man City side, before they gained a foot hold in the game. A slow start to the second half, compelled with our reluctance to play the ball in theie half of the field provided enough ammunition for them to take advantage.
Wayne Rooney, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate would all be in with a shout of our Man of the match award this evening.