On an afternoon where we saw a lot of positives from Manchester City, in the end the result had to be seen as a negative one despite the point gained. City played a dominant possession game that saw their midfield totally control the ball, but were lacking a cutting edge in the final third. In a strange formation choice Pep opted for three at the back with two deeper midfield players in Gundogan and Fernandinho. On the one hand it was successful in the sense City dominated the middle third of the pitch, but were also caught on the break a few times, once leading to Everton’s lone goal.
This is a tough game to rate as for the most part everyone in Sky Blue played very well, but there was just something missing. Perhaps Guardiola will lament not including sharp finishers Sergio Agüero and Nolito from the off. Perhaps (despite what was said in the pregame press conference) Pep had one eye on his return to the Camp Nou this Wednesday.
It’s hard to speculate, but at the end of it all City supporters have to be disappointed in the result. Despite the possession domination we saw, two missed penalties ultimately doomed City to share the points, and that was only possible thanks to a late Nolito header. It must be mentioned that Everton played excellently in their own defensive third for nearly the entire match. City should have punished captain Phil Jagielka’s fouls more.
Below are the match ratings for each player who saw the field Saturday, which were mostly positive. Comment below your City man of the match!
Claudio Bravo: 6.5
The Chilean keeper must have been pretty bored for most of the afternoon. He was called into action one or twice by Everton’s wingers, but when Lukaku came calling, Bravo could have taken a better angle. Bravo must be disappointed with only one clean sheet so far in his Premier League career.
Gael Clichy: 6.5
The Frenchman was the most obvious candidate for fault on Lukaku’s goal, though he did mostly well forcing the Belgian to the outside. With Kolarov’s recent drop in performance and Messi, Suárez, and Neymar coming up midweek, Clichy will surely be tested more and for City fans let’s hope he’s up to the task.
Nicolas Otamendi: 6.5
A few rash challenges are now the Otamendi standard, but ultimate the Argentine played well when called upon. At times his positioning was superb to break up counter attacks. Perhaps the toughest test of his City career awaits him Wednesday night however, a foe he knows all too well from his time in Spain.
John Stones: 7.5
Despite being the youngest defender on the pitch, Stones was trusted with the crucial position of center of the back three. His development continues to impress even the most cynical England and City supporters. Given the state of City’s defense, Stones might have been he most important signing in a summer full of them.
After a couple of rocky performances, the Brazilian returned to his gold standard of play. Being deployed in his usual position, but this time in front of a back three, Fernandinho played his game and played it very well. This is welcome news for City supporters as next up is perhaps one of the best midfields in the world.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7.0
Perhaps the German’s best game since Bournemouth, Gundogan seemed far more comfortable playing deeper than Silva and De Bruyne but still a little further up the pitch than Fernandinho. Not sure if this formation will work against high-pressure teams, but if a team sets out to stifle City’s midfield this formation might get the best out of the terrific players City have available, including Ilkay
Leroy Sané: 6.5
Another German performing better was Leroy Sané. The young winger had to wait a while for his first Premier League start but played very well to start the game. Often burning Everton full-backs, Sané was a force to be dealt with for the first half hour or so. Unfortunately, he eventually faded and his replacement was able to reduce City from themselves.
Raheem Sterling: 7.0
Sterling played well again, but the lack of a final ball was ultimately why City failed to secure the three points. There was no shortage of effort or skill from the Englishman, but there was a clear lack of sharpness when City had to be at their sharpest to deal with the solid Everton defense.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.0
Oh what could have been. The good news is De Bruyne is back and healthy enough to play a full game, but the bad news is City’s star midfielder missed a chance to change the game late in the first half. That missed penalty might haunt City come May.
David Silva: 9.0 (City man of the match)
The Spaniard has returned to excellent form so far this year under Guardiola. It seems last year’s dip was certainly caused by a bum ankle suffered early in the season. Whether taking on defenders and dribbling around them or playing in the cross for the game tying goal, David Silva was all over the pitch Saturday. A performance like this is what City desperately need from all their midfielders on Wednesday.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 5.5
It’s hard to avoid the superlative here, but this was Kelechi’s big chance. Agüero was clearly fit, but the Nigerian was preferred. Despite this opportunity, Iheancho did little in his time on the field. While Everton were great defensively, Iheanacho’s close control and movement did little to help break down Koeman’s side.
Sergio Agüero: 5.5
The Argentinean was introduced early in the second half, and was much better than Iheanacho but once again missed a penalty. That makes four total this season for club and country. At this point Guardiola must contemplate practicing penalties in training.
The definition of a super sub. Nolito might not have the pace of his winger contemporaries, but he does have a great football mind. Combine that with superb passing and great positioning and you end up scoring the game-tying goal on an afternoon where it seemed City would never score.
Vincent Kompany: N/A
Came on right at the end as an auxiliary striker to look for a winner. This was probably just to get some time on the field for City’s captain. Thusly there’s no time to grade, but could Vinny be involved against Barça?
That’s our ratings. While the result was super disappointing, the performances were much better. This wasn't similar to the Celtic game in any way. For City, the important thing is to move on, with all eyes now on Wednesday. A win there would certainly make City supporters forget about the last three results.