We’re not going too far into the past for this week’s match, just the five years. City were battling Liverpool and Chelsea for the Premier League title and before the match, the blues were in third place, three points behind Liverpool and had to win to stand any chance of lifting their second Premier League title.
Much of the focus though was on Everton and questions were being asked as to whether the Toffees would put up a fight against City, or would roll over and allow the blues to claim three points that would help deny Liverpool the title. Everton Manager Roberto Martinez had masterminded City’s FA Cup defeat almost a year earlier and Liverpool were looking to him to pull off another win over the blues.
Those hopes were raised in the 11th minute when Ross Barkley gave Everton the lead in spectacular fashion, curling in a first time shot from outside the area, over Joe Hart and into the net. It sparked memories of City’s 1-0 defeat at Goodison in 2012 while challenging United for the title, a defeat which some had prematurely said would end City’s title charge.
But Barkley’s goal only served to spur the blues on and on 22 minutes, City were level. Yaya Toure, who had fired over the bar seven minutes earlier, was the architect for Sergio Aguero to score. Taking a pass from Samir Nasri, Toure powered forward and released Aguero, who took the ball into the area to fire past Tim Howard. Worryingly for City, the Argentine left the field a few minutes later and was replaced by Fernandinho.
Thankfully, Aguero’s absence made no difference to the outcome and on 42 minutes, City were ahead. Edin Dzeko’s shot was saved by the legs of Howard, but the rebound went out to James Milner, whose cross was met by the head of Dzeko to put City in front at the break.
City survived a huge scare at the start of the second half and it took a fingertip save from Joe Hart to deny Stephen Naismith an equaliser, and Everton would rue that miss two minutes later. Fernandinho found Nasri in space and his cross into the six yard box was poked home by Dzeko.
City were heading for the top with just two games remaining, but Everton gave their City rivals a small glimmer of hope on 65 minutes. Romelu Lukaku’s diving header met Leighton Baines cross and went in off the post to make it 3-2 and set up a nervy last 25 for City fans. Pablo Zabaleta could have put the game to bed on 70 minutes, but his shot was saved by Howard.
Wit four minutes remaining, Everton substitute Gerard Deulofeu jinked his way through the City defence, but with hearts in City mouths, the young Spaniard drove his shot into the side netting. It would prove to be City’s last nervous moment and they played out stoppage time to claim a vital three points that put them at the top of the table on goal difference.
Final Score: Everton 2-3 Manchester City
Goals: Barkley (11), Aguero (22), Dzeko (42), Dzeko (48), Lukaku (65)