MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City dropped points in the Premier League title race after being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation contenders Everton.
– Report: Man City 1-1 Everton | Premier League table | Upcoming matches
City took the lead in the first half through Erling Haaland before Everton hit back in the second half and equalized thanks to a wonder goal from Demarai Gray. Pep Guardiola’s side had 15 shots in search of the winner but managed just three, while Everton scored with their only goal on target.
Here are some immediate thoughts from the Etihad on Saturday’s game.
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- 1 Quick reaction
- 2 Player ratings
- 3 Best and worst performers
- 4 Highlights and highlights
- 5 After the match: What the players/managers said
- 6 Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research)
- 7 Until next time
1. Man City offer rivals hope in title race
It’s the time of year when City tend to put their foot in the title race and motor outside the chasing pack, but a 1-1 draw at Everton means they are now a point off their last two Premier League home games. With Arsenal in such dominant form, perhaps a fifth title in six years is not a foregone conclusion.
Early leaders Arsenal were expected to eventually disappear and surprise package Newcastle will be unable to keep up, but Everton’s point at the Etihad, combined with City’s defeat to Brentford earlier in the rest of the World Cup, will give the other. animation of the contenders may cause a shock. With Haaland scoring for fun and a host of world-class attacking players playing a supporting role, it’s still City’s title to lose, but they’re going through a spell where they look capable of dropping points.
Guardiola’s side face a crucial race in their season with Chelsea (twice), Tottenham (twice), Manchester United and Arsenal all to play before mid-February. It’s not a problem yet, they’ve still won six of their last eight games, but there is some hope for their rivals that City won’t be as dominant as they have been in the past.
Haaland scored again for Man City on Saturday, but Guardiola’s side ended up settling for a point that put a small dent in their push to catch Arsenal at the top of the Premier League. Jan Kruger/Getty Images
2. Haaland is inevitable
There was a nervy moment for Guardiola and his City staff just 15 seconds after kick-off when Haaland headed Ben Godfrey and landed awkwardly on his ankle. It looked bad enough for the stretcher team to be ready on the touchline, but any concerns were short-lived: Haaland doesn’t come off until he’s scored. It took him 24 minutes to score against Everton, turning to fire low into the net after Riyad Mahrez’s header in the box. It was his 27th of the season and his 21st in the Premier League, just two shy of the tally that saw Mo Salah and Son Heung-min share the Golden Boot last season.
Injury is probably the only thing that could prevent Haaland from setting new records this season and a spell without the Norwegian striker would give Arsenal and the rest even more encouragement that beating City to the title could be possible.
Guardiola has a striker who looks set to score every time he plays, which is a major advantage when a team is going through a period where things aren’t coming so easily. Haaland only had one real chance against Everton and was clinical enough to take it. However, it was one of only three shots on target that City managed.
3. Hope for Everton in their relegation battle
If Everton are indeed destined for a relegation battle in 2023, a point against City at the Etihad is a huge plus. It’s still just three league wins all season and two points clear of the bottom three, but Frank Lampard’s side showed enough, particularly in the second half, to suggest they are at least ready to fight for their place in the Premier League.
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Everton aren’t bad defensively for a low team, but they don’t score enough goals and they needed a stunning strike from Gray, his first shot of any kind in the 64th minute, to find a way past Ederson. . It was a remarkable strike after a quick counter-attack, especially after Gray slipped as he cut down on the inside of his right foot.
The game plan was clearly to try and contain Guardiola’s side and score a goal on the break, but that approach went out the window when Alex Iwobi was robbed of the ball on the halfway line and with three Everton players trapped forward, City worked the ball. through Jack Grealish and Mahrez before Haaland scored the opener. It was Richarlison’s goals that helped keep Everton up last season, but with the Brazilian gone, Lampard needs a saviour. It was Gray against City.
Manchester City (3-4-3): Ederson 6; John Stones 6, Manuel Akanji 6, Nathan Ake 6; Rico Lewis 7, Kevin de Bruyne 6, Rodri 6, Bernardo Silva 7; Riyad Mahrez 7, Erling Haaland 7, Jack Grealish 7.
Subs: Phil Foden 6, Ilkay Gundogan 6, Julian Alvarez 6.
Gray’s excellent goal gave Everton a point that will give them confidence heading into a possible relegation battle. Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images
Everton (5-4-1): Jordan Pickford 8; Nathan Patterson 7, Ben Godfrey 7, Conor Coady 7, James Tarkowski 7, Vitalii Mykolenko 7; Alex Iwobi 7, Amadou Onana 7, Idrissa Gueye 7, Demarai Gray 7; Dominic Calvert-Lewin 7.
Subs: Seamus Coleman 6, Neal Maupay 6, Tom Davies 6, Dwight McNeil 6, Abdoulaye Doucoure 6.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Jordan Pickford, Everton
The Everton keeper made a crucial save in the second half to keep the score at 1-1.
WORST: Kevin de Bruyne, Man City
It was one of those days where nothing seemed to come out of the Belgian midfielder.
Highlights and highlights
Haaland is pretty much inevitable in a Man City shirt when it comes to goals. His first-half brace had City on their way to another victory…
Erling Haaland’s 21 Premier League goals this season would have been enough to win the Golden Boot in:
We have 16 games. pic.twitter.com/xJJXCggbJz
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 31, 2022
… until Demarai Gray curled in an absolute peach for Everton with his first shot of the game!
Just when they needed it most, Demarai Gray delivered with an incredible equalizer for Everton! #MyPLMorning | #MCIEVE pic.twitter.com/4u3WcYfYpE
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 31, 2022
After the match: What the players/managers said
Man City defender John Stones: “I don’t really know what to say. I feel like we lost two points. That’s football. We controlled the game most of the time and had a lot of chances, but we just couldn’t seem to get it. [second] goal. It’s hard to take after the game. We showed great character to keep fighting and pushing. It was a bit of a cheeky game.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard: “When you stay in the game, you have a bit of belief and you just need a few moments. We have a special moment. You need that here at City… The quality of the finishing was excellent. Demarai Gray wants more of that and I do. He gave us the point. You’re a bit lucky of course. We deserved more last week after the result. Sometimes football pays you in different ways. We have two home games in the league and We have ‘going to get some points, but we have to fight for every part.’
Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research)
Erling Haaland found the back of the net for the 21st time this season, the most by any player in Premier League history before the new year.
Man City snapped their 12-match Premier League winning streak by leading at half-time. It was the second-longest active streak in the Premier League – Liverpool have won 20 in a row when leading at half-time.
Demarai Gray scored his second Premier League goal of the season, and his first since August 20 against Nottingham Forest. He was also notable as he scored for Everton with his first shot of the game.
Until next time
Manchester City: The defending Premier League champions have a busy few days just after the new year. They travel to Chelsea for a Premier League game (January 5) and then host the Blues three days later in the FA Cup third round (January 8) before the Carabao Cup quarter-finals at Southampton (January 11 of January). Does Pep Guardiola have the strength in depth to come out with three wins in three days?
Everton: No rest for Frank Lampard & Co. after Saturday’s draw. Next Tuesday (January 3) sees a league date with Brighton, followed by an FA Cup trip to Manchester United (January 6). There is a breather beyond that, with eight days until their Premier League date with Southampton (January 14).