Tom Davies inspired Everton add to Manchester City’s woes
Pep Guardiola’s team suffer their latest Premier League setback at Goodison Park
Everton’s Tom Davies scores his team’s third goal. Photograph: Reuters
Everton 4 Manchester City 0
For Ronald Koeman, Tom Davies and teenage debutant Ademola Lookman, this was the high point of their brief Everton careers. For Pep Guardiola, it was the undoubted low of his time in the Premier League as Manchester City were dismantled and destroyed at Goodison Park. “You’re getting sacked in the morning” reverberated around the old stadium as one of the most revered coaches in the game suffered a humbling, emphatic defeat.
Two teenagers – the outstanding Davies and recent £11m signing Lookman – scored their debut goals for Everton as they recorded their biggest win over City for 31 years. Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas, two outstanding Belgians on the day, were also on the scoresheet as the hosts produced the finest performance of the Koeman era and the heaviest defeat of the Guardiola one. The expensively-assembled visitors toiled badly against a complete second-half display from their hosts.
City were bright on the front foot but defensively vulnerable throughout. Lukaku was on his game from the first whistle and with his team-mates pressing quickly and relentlessly, the threat from Koeman’s team was greatly improved on last weekend’s flat FA Cup exit against Leicester City.
Everton’s manager changed to a three-man central defence to stifle Sergio Agüero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and co. Easier said than done. Their movement off the ball was hugely impressive, so too their ability on it, and with Kevin De Bruyne dictating play from deep the visitors prospered in the space behind Seamus Coleman, deployed as a wing-back, and Mason Holgate on the right of the defensive trio.
His was a committed presence in the Everton rearguard, however, and the performances of the 20-year-old and 18-year-old Davies bodes well for their future. The speed and intelligence of their opponents made for an educating afternoon.
Sterling was infuriated by referee Mark Clattenburg’s refusal to award a penalty when City broke down the left for the first time. De Bruyne picked out the former Liverpool forward with a measured cross behind Leighton Baines and his attempt to round Joel Robles was halted by a combination of the goalkeeper’s trailing leg and the Everton left-back’s sliding intervention. Sterling may have gone to ground too easily but replays suggested contact with Robles and a possible, accidental handball from Baines. Clattenburg was unmoved.
Sterling also had the first shot of the game when De Bruyne spotted his run behind Ramiro Funes Mori and delivered an inch-perfect ball that merited more than a tame volley straight at Robles. Silva was also released behind the Everton defence, once again by an immaculate De Bruyne ball, but the keeper was off his line sharpish to smother. A dangerous counter came to nothing when Sterling and Pablo Zabaleta – a roving central midfielder in the absence of Fernandinho, Fernando and Ilkay Gundogan – had only one defender to beat. City’s generosity was punished ruthlessly.
Mirallas had already seen an early goal correctly disallowed for offside after a neat, incisive move involving Lukaku, Davies and Coleman. The breakthrough arrived from a similar attack down the Everton right, albeit instigated by Gaël Clichy when he gifted possession to Davies. The teenager, the nephew of former Everton title-winner Alan Whittle, pierced the City defence with a superb pass into Mirallas, who cut the ball back invitingly for Lukaku. His compatriot side-footed a precise, powerful shot inside Claudio Bravo’s left-hand post.
Remarkably, it was the fourth time in their past seven league games that City had conceded the first shot on their goal. Guardiola had switched John Stones, given a harsh reception on his Goodison return, to the left of City’s central defence to combat Lukaku’s tendency to cut inside on to his favoured foot. There was no City defender near the Belgium international when he converted and the tone for a feeble display at the back had been set.
Lukaku, who had carried Bradley Lowery – the five-year-old Sunderland fan who has neuroblastoma – on to the pitch before kick-off, was involved in Everton’s second, moments after the restart. His attempted through ball was intercepted by Stones but the impressive Ross Barkley slipped the rebound into the path of Mirallas, who found Bravo’s far corner with an excellent finish, in keeping with the Belgian’s overall contribution.
Guardiola introduced Kelechi Iheanacho for Zabaleta in an attempt to cajole a fightback but City’s response barely flickered into life. Everton’s day simply got better and better.
Davies, who had cleared a Clichy header off his own goal-line in the first half, put the contest beyond the visitors with an exquisite first goal for the club he joined as a 10-year-old, one that encapsulated the many qualities he has shown since joining the senior ranks. First he outmanoeuvred both Yaya Touré and Clichy with a determined run down the right before playing the ball inside to Lukaku. Barkley took over, spotted that Davies had continued his run, and released the teenager through on goal. Davies clipped a delightful finish over Bravo and beyond Lukaku’s attempt to apply the final touch on the line.
Koeman brought on his new £20m signing Morgan Schneiderlin and, so comfortable were Everton, January’s other recruit, Lookman. The former Charlton Athletic winger had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes when Coleman’s raid broke to him inside the area and, ignoring the right-back’s call for a return pass, fired a low finish through the legs of the City goalkeeper. Guardiola’s men were routed, well and truly.