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Pep got it spot-on with Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus
The Spanish manager introduced the Belgian playmaker and Brazilian forward with the game drawing to a close and the pair had a clear influence on the game. De Bruyne was the one who created the chance that led to Jesus sealing the win and the playmaker’s ball-retention was vital for City in the late stages. For Jesus’ part, his late strike to seal the 2-0 win was his fifth league goal of the season and his first since the mid-point of January.
City defence shut Theo Walcott out
Prior to Wednesday night’s meeting at Goodison Park, the Everton wideman had netted in five of his last seven games against Manchester City. However, the backline kept him from increasing his pretty impressive tally against them by limiting his effectiveness, evidenced by the fact that the Englishman failed to register any shots at goal before his withdrawal with 10 minutes to play.
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Centre-backs took turns to move into midfield
In their 3-1 win over Arsenal at the weekend, Fernandinho often moved into midfield when Pep Guardiola’s charges had possession of the ball. Against the Toffees, especially in the first half, that duty fell upon the central defenders – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi – who alternately made surging runs into midfield. It was particularly significant given their hosts played with three players in and around the middle of the park, so having an extra body gave city a slight edge.
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Consistent Aymeric Laporte showed his class
Having registered his first assist of the campaign against the Gunners at the weekend, the stand-in left-back scored his second of the season just before the interval. The timing of the goal was important as it left the home side without enough time to respond and clearly calmed City nerves that might have been rising following a spirited display by the hosts in the first 45 minutes.
Buzzing Sterling impressed off the bench
After seeing Leroy Sane disappoint somewhat, the English wideman replaced the below-par German and instantly contributed to the away side having greater impetus in attack. Admittedly, he didn’t score or assist but the Citizens were at the danger of falling into a lull before his introduction, and his arrival clearly had a strong effect on the away side’s attack.