Erling Haaland scored another goal but Manchester City dropped two more points in a 1-1 draw with Everton at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, putting their Premier League title defense under serious threat heading into the new year.
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A victory was vital for Man City (36 points – 2nd place) if they are to keep pace with PL leaders Arsenal (40 points), who now lead by four points before their matchweek 18 fixture later on Saturday. The Gunners will go seven points clear of the two-time defending champions after just 16 games, if they beat Brighton.
Everton kept Manchester City at bay for the opening quarter-hour, but the possession and pressure never relented, and a goal always feels inevitable when Haaland is involved. The big Norwegian got the goal (his 21st of the season, in just 15 appearances), but Riyad Mahrez was the magic man who weaved his way around two defenders, and drew Jordan Pickford off his line, before cutting the ball back toward the penalty spot, at which point the finish was routine for Haaland.
The Toffees went 63 minutes without attempting a shot, but the Toffees made their first of the game count. Demarai Gray went one-on-three as Everton launched a counter-attack down the left wing, eventually cutting inside and finding a full yard (or two) of space. Gray smashed a curling, dipping strike toward the far post and well out of reach of Ederson.
The final xG tally favored Man City, 2.04 to 0.09. Less than one-tenth for Everton.
598 passes completed, to 183.
16 shots, to 2.
74 percent of possession, to 26.
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What we learned from Manchester City vs Everton
Everton defend with 9, 10, 11; make life very difficult for Man City
Five defenders. Not three center backs and two attacking wing backs. Three center backs with two full backs staying home at virtually all times. Three central midfielders operating almost exclusively in their own half. Gray was as much a defensive winger on the left as he was an attacking threat. Dominic Calvert-Lewin had 15 touches of the ball in 70 minutes, more than half of which came inside Everton’s half of the field.
It was ugly, negative football from Frank Lampard’s side, and it proved effective at affording Manchester City precious little time or space inside the penalty area. Mahrez’s mazy run to set up the goal was spectacular only because that’s what it took to beat Everton’s defense on the day.
How to watch Manchester City vs Everton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel/online: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & star players
Erling Haaland has 20 — twenty, vingt, tjue — Premier League goals. It does bear repeating, as it seems like only injury can stop the Norwegian from setting a new Premier League single-season goals record. In fact, it seems likely he’ll best the mark for goals in a 42-game season despite the league calendar now providing just 38 top-flight encounters. Are there other players to watch? Sure. But the focus is on EBH.
So much for fresh, good vibes following the World Cup break at Goodison Park; Everton has now lost four-straight in all competitions after taking a single point from Fulham on Oct. 29. The Toffees’ only win since Oct. 1 is a 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace. While the first three losses in that stretch — Manchester United, Spurs, and Newcastle — are understandable, Everton’s draw with Fulham and losses to Leicester, Bournemouth, and Wolves (two at home) won’t have the boss feeling at a slow boil. The Toffees are bottom half in xG and are out-performing their bottom-four xGA by a wide margin.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Ruben Dias (thigh), Julian Alvarez (late return from World Cup)
Everton team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Yerry Mina (thigh). OUT: James Garner (back), Andros Townsend (knee).
Manchester City slip up in Everton draw; another goal for Haaland originally appeared on NBCSports.com