Premier League - City hold on to take control of title race

Premier League, Goodison Park - Everton 2 (Barkley 11’ Lukaku 65’) Manchester City 3 (Aguero 22’ Dzeko 43’ 48’)

Eurosport
Premier League - City hold on to take control of title race
.

View photo

Edin Dzeko of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team-mates during the Premier League match between Everton (Getty)

A dramatic 3-2 victory for Manchester City over Everton gave the away side control in the title race.

Everton stunned City after 11 minutes when Ross Barkley curled in a fantastic shot into the top corner from the edge of the area. City, though, did not panic, and pressed Everton with patient passing. That paid off when Sergio Aguero converted Yaya Toure’s through-ball on 22 minutes.

Two minutes before half time, City had the lead when James Milner’s cross found Edin Dzeko on the penalty spot, and his powerful header beat Tim Howard.

The second half began dramatically with Joe Hart pulling off a brilliant save from Steven Naismith in the first minute, and moments later Dzeko made it three by tapping in Samir Nasri’s cross.

City then sat off and allowed Everton back into the game - Romelu Lukaku’s diving header frayed City’s nerves as the lead was cut. City held on, but were asking for trouble with such a negative approach.

The result that means that should City win their remaining matches, the title is in all likelihood theirs. Liverpool go to Crystal Palace tomorrow knowing that victory is vital.

KEY MOMENTS

11’ - BARKLEY GOAL - Leighton Baines fires a pass into Steven Naismith in the centre, who lays the ball off for Barkley to curl brilliantly into the top corner.

22’ - AGUERO GOAL - Aguero finds space behind the Leighton Baines, and beats Howard at the near post after Toure slips him in.

27’ - AGUERO SUBSTITUTED - Aguero comes off early after injuring his groin earlier in the match to be replaced by Fernandinho.

43’ - DZEKO GOAL - Dzeko’s shot from a tight angle is saved by Howard. It comes back to Milner, whose curling cross is brilliantly powered into the net by the Bosnian striker.

46’ - HART SAVE - Barkley runs half the length of the pitch, slips in Naismith, and Hart tips away with a brilliant save.

48’ - DZEKO GOAL - Nasri brings down a chipped pass, twists past his marker and sends in a low cross for Dzeko to stab home.

65’ - LUKAKU GOAL - After playing limply since scoring the third, City invite pressure, and Lukaku’s diving header from Baines’s cross cuts the lead.

71’ - ZABALETA CHANCE - One-on-one with the ‘keeper, with Naismith on his shoulder, Pablo Zabaleta has a low shot saved by Howard’s outstretched left leg.

KEY STATS

Roberto Martinez has lost nine of his 10 Premier League encounters with Man City.

Since the start of December, City have taken more points away from home (30) than any other team.

City have scored in each of their last 11 games.

Sergio Aguero has been substituted 48 times in his Premier League career, more than any other player in the division in that period.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

View photo

.

TALKING POINT

Will City be able to take the pressure? After going 3-1 up, City and Manuel Pellegrini elected to invite pressure and eventually conceded a second-half goal. Despite holding on, City should not take such risks in the last two matches when only victories will ensure that City remain in control of the title race.

MAN OF THE MATCH

James Milner (Manchester City): City impressed more with their personality and resilience than they did with their technical abilities today, but Milner provided sensible passing, defensive hard work and an attacking outlet in midfield and on the right wing throughout.

PLAYER RATINGS

Everton: Howard 6, Baines 6, Stones 6, Jagielka 6, Alcaraz 6, Coleman 6, McCarthy 5, Osman 5, Barkley 7, Naismith 6, Lukaku 6. Subs: McGeady 6, Deulofeu 6.

Manchester City: Hart 7, Zabaleta 6, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Clichy 6, Garcia 5, Yaya Toure 6, Milner 7, Nasri 6, Aguero 7, Dzeko 7. Subs: Kolarov 6, Silva 6, Fernandinho 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

View Comments (156)
Fantasy Premier League