Everton started the game with a 3-5-2 formation and it’s possible because they wanted to control the midfield due to the attacking style of Manchester city. Pep, on the other hand, decided to go with a 3-4-3, 2 out of the three defenders being proper midfielders, which made the transition from defense to the midfield easier.
Everton, on the other hand, was stuck to play a conservative game as the ever dominant City side couldn’t be held off. Meanwhile, Man City won most of the second chance loose balls and they hung on to finish off the game.
Everton’s organization in the first half wasn’t intriguing because if the idea was to play counter-attacking football they weren’t utilizing the pace of Richarlison and Dominic Lewin. The second half was more exciting because immediately the likes of Mahrez decided to be more direct the goals started pouring in. I honestly felt the change to a back 4 should have been done earlier by Ancelotti after watching that 1st half performance.
All Everton needed to do was to try and run at Fernadinho and Rodrigo and force them into making mistakes and that happened after the introduction of Moise Kean. Another thing I observed was that Manchester City wingbacks were woeful when it comes to tracking back and helping out the defense and Everton tried to exploit that.
Gabriel Jesus, a long term solution: I believe once again Gabriel Jesus has proved that he can fill up the void in the absence of Aguero. His finishing and hold up play is one that Pep would be forever grateful for. He is a goal poacher. Two well-taken goals and the Man of the Match for me.
Manchester City success formula revolves around Kevin De Bryne: Time and Time again KDB keeps showing why he is arguably the best player in the English Premier League. His flexibility with the ball is something that can’t be overlooked and once again he owned that midfield. He knew exactly when to drop in centrally and when to go into the wide areas creating space for the wingers, his ability to hold the ball and dictate the flow of the game makes him special
* LONG BALLS AND TECHNICAL FOULS: Watching the first half of the game, it was obvious that Everton was playing to the strength of Manchester City. Once Everton got possession, they were more concerned about getting the ball off their feet instead of retaining possession. I honestly felt a little possession and playing the ball confidently among themselves would have helped instead of throwing in long balls into City’s area with no one to attack. These long balls didn’t give the creative midfielders the chance to exploit their options especially with the likes of Gyfil Sigurdsson. Everton stuck to technical fouls to break play over and over again which didn’t look good for both sides, aside from the fact that it would stop the attacking threat of City it still allows City to create chances from set-pieces and risked themselves been sent off.
Overall, the game lived up to the hype and it was exciting to watch.