Carlo Ancelotti drilled Everton to defend, frustrate and counter Manchester City and in keeping with their previous 16 assignments the Premier League leaders dismissed the challenge with contemptuous ease.
City cruised 10 points clear at the summit with another exhibition of their vast superiority. There is no title race at present. It is a procession.
Bernardo Silva’s goal, their third in a convincing victory, encapsulated the quality and confidence oozing through the City ranks. An incisive one-touch move involving Rodri, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus allowed the Portugal international to round Michael Keane before driving low through Jordan Pickford’s despairing dive.
City were a blur of movement and penetration in that moment, Everton statuesque en route to a third home league defeat in succession.
It was a reflection of the entire contest, City completing 753 passes to the hosts’ 306 and the Everton player who made the most was their goalkeeper with 44. It was also a goal that sealed a 12th successive league win and 17th consecutive win in all competitions for City, plus a little slice of history. They have become the first team in top-flight history to win their opening 10 matches in a calender year.
That United previously held the record along with Bolton, from 2009 and 1906 respectively, will add a little more relevance to the achievement for City. “That’s nice,” said Pep Guardiola of his team’s latest record. “But football doesn’t wait. Tonight we celebrate and tomorrow we think about Arsenal.”
The City manager lamented a demanding fixture list: “It’s better not to look at the schedule because you get depressed,” he said – but his relentless outlook is reflected in his players. As he said: “Goodison Park is always a tough place to come but we showed incredible mentality. We have a lot of wins in a row but still they have the desire and keep wanting more.”
Guardiola doffed his beanie hat to Ancelotti as he walked across the pitch and into a long, animated conversation with the Italian before kick-off.
There was no deference from his players. João Cancelo, a left back-come-central midfielder, forced an early save from Pickford on his return to the side after four games out with a rib injury.
Everton suffered a swift setback when Yerry Mina was forced off with a calf injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s Merseyside derby. The defender attempted to play on after lengthy treatment. While Mina did so, Rodri dispossessed Tom Davies and lofted an inviting ball over the Everton defence for Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian blazed over under pressure from Keane but with only Pickford to beat. The Colombian defender was immediately replaced by Seamus Coleman, who had quite the impact.
City opened the scoring from a corner, won when Keane made a vital interception to stop Jesus connecting with Mahrez’s cross to the back post. Mahrez had a second bite when Everton only half-cleared the resulting set-piece. Keane was again in the way, but his header dropped into the space where Phil Foden lurked unmarked. The City playmaker, on target on the other side of Stanley Park earlier this month, drilled in a powerful shot that deflected off the inside of Coleman’s right calf and sailed past the wrong-footed Pickford.
Everton had shown only flashes of attacking intent with the game deadlocked but improved immediately after falling behind. They levelled courtesy of Richarlison’s first Premier League goal of the calender year. Not that he knew too much about it. Alex Iwobi released Coleman inside the City area with a piercing pass between two defenders. Coleman crossed to the back post where Lucas Digne volleyed across goal and against the post. The rebound sailed in off Richarlison’s thigh and with two City players on the goal-line there was no offside to spare the visitors.
The game reverted to type after the restart. City weaved their triangles and probed from all angles. Everton stood firm deep inside their own half. Pickford produced a fine stop low to his left from Silva’s volley. Kyle Walker superbly picked out Jesus in space inside the area but the striker who recently admitted his finishing had to improve blazed high and wide again.
Rodri then headed wide from Foden’s corner when, as his reaction testified, the midfielder should have hit the target. But the pressure was mounting on the Everton goal and finally told when Mahrez produced the kind of trademark finish that defences always try to prevent, but are sometimes left powerless.
Silva attacked from the right before rolling an intuitive pass inside for the Algeria international, who shifted the ball on to his left foot and curled an unstoppable shot around Pickford and in off the far post. Guardiola did not disguise his emotions. He roared with delight, leapt into the City dug-out and high-fived everyone in sight.
Silva gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the contest in exquisite style and, seconds later, Kevin De Bruyne replaced Raheem Sterling. There is no respite for City’s so-called rivals.