Defiant Toffees earn a massive point at the Etihad to refocus ambitions after the World Cup break.
After a disastrous result at Goodison Park against Wolves on Boxing Day that saw Everton concede late on and fall to defeat, Frank Lampard’s men went to the Etihad faced with the monstrous task of getting a result against the best team in England. Everton changed their shape for the match against the defending league champions, reverting to a five at the back that saw Ben Godfrey reinserted into the starting eleven for the first time since August following full rehabilitation of his injury. Calvert-Lewin started up top as the striker continues to make his way back to full fitness, Gray featured in place of an injured Anthony Gordon, and Conor Coady was back in the lineup following the matchup against his former club.
Godfrey made himself known early in typical fashion, laying a hard challenge on Erling Haaland inside the first minute, much to the ire of the Manchester City striker. It was all Manchester City early on as the hosts went close via Haaland in the 11th minute, he dribbled around Pickford on the side of the box but could only manage to hit the side-netting. It was only 13 minutes later that the hosts pushed Everton, as Riyad Mahrez beat Mykolenko on the edge of the box, cut inside, and fired a pass to Harland who finished past Pickford to put City ahead 1-0. Everton grabbed a foot hold in the game in the last 20 minutes of the first half, holding possession and making the hosts work defensively but never quite challenging Ederson. De Bruyne would hit the in the 44th minute to round out the first half action, and a resolute Everton side went down in the half separated by Haaland’s goal.
Everton came out well in the second half and looked to be apart of the action early on, with Calvert-Lewin nearly getting on the end of a Mykolenko but just being beaten to the ball by Akanji who cleared away. The match would be halted for nearly 5 minutes moments after, as the linesman’s microphone pack died in the 54th minute, being met with a massive cheer when the match resumed in the 60th minute. Then, out of nothing, it was Everton’s moment to seize the game in front of the away end. The blues got out on the counter via Demari Gray, he sprinted down the pitch and cut inside, even after slipping he managed to set his body well and fired a world class curling effort that struck the cop corner and went in to level the match 1-1.
The 70th minute saw a double substitution from Frank Lampard, with Seamus Coleman replacing Nathan Patterson and Neal Maupay replacing Calvert-Lewin. The match stumbled ahead until the 78th minute, when Tom Davies replaced Idrissa Gueye after a sterling performance in the middle of the park. It looked as if the hosts would surely take the lead of the match in the 82nd minute, as the ball pinballed around the box before falling to Mahrez, who struck his shot well, forcing a great save from Pickford in the Everton goal.
Doucoure replaced Godfrey at the beginning of eleven minutes of stoppage time, with the staff not wanting to risk an injury for Godfrey who put in a brilliant 90 minutes in his first game back since August. It was nearly the same old story for Everton in the 12th minute of stoppage time, as Mahrez whipped in a cross that just nearly missed Alvarez at the back post in a moment that would have won the match for City. The full time whistle blew much to the delight of the traveling Everton following, securing their first point against Manchester City in the last ten matches. The point was a massive result for Everton following an abject loss to Wolves, and sets Frank Lampard’s men up with a huge opportunity to stabilize the ship against Brighton on Tuesday.