Missed penalties from De Bruyne and Aguero cost City victory
FA Premier League
Saturday 15 October 2016, 15.00 KO
City: Bravo, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Kompany 90), Silva, De Bruyne, Sane (Nolito 71), Sterling, Iheanacho (Aguero 57)
Unused: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Fernando
Goals: Nolito (72)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Silva
City had to settle for a point after being frustrated by some resolute defending from Ronald Koeman's Everton side, and an outstanding performance from Maarten Stekelenburg in particular. The Dutch keeper saved two penalties, first from Kevin De Bruyne and then from substitute Sergio Aguero, to ensure a share of the spoils for the visiting side.
Pep Guardiola switched to a three man defence following the defeat at White Hart Lane, with Gael Clichy lining up alongside Nicolas Otamendi and former Evertonian John Stones. Leroy Sane made his full Premier League debut, and Kelechi Iheanacho was preferred up front to Sergio Aguero.
Sane, in particular, started brightly and caused the German youngster was perhaps unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after appearing to be brought down by Brian Oviedo. Referee Oliver waved away the appeal, but it was an encouraging display from the winger who joined from Schalke 04 in the summer. City dominated possession in the first half, with some wonderful interplay involving David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, but failed to truly test Stekelenburg until moments before the break. Silva was clumsily tripped by Phil Jagielka in the area, but De Bruyne saw the resulting spot kick comfortably saved by the former Ajax stopper.
Everton had offered little going forward up to this point, but a tactical change from Koeman at half-time saw the visitors commit more men forward in the second period. Claudio Bravo tipped over a shot from Gerard Deulofeu, before Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring after 64 minutes. The Belgian forward effortlessly went past Clichy, and fired a low drive past Bravo. The scoreline flattered Everton, but City were given the opportunity to level the scores five minutes later when Jagielka again committed a foul in the area, this time bringing down substitute Aguero. The Argentinian had missed a penalty in midweek whilst on international duty, but his confidence wasn't dented as he placed the ball on the spot. Incredibly, Stekelenburg saved again to his left and City were facing the prospect of a second successive league defeat.
Guardiola immediately replaced Sane with Nolito, and the Spanish international celebrated his 30th birthday by equalising with virtually his first touch, heading Silva's whipped cross into the bottom corner. City, buoyed by the home crowd, laid siege to Everton's goal, but Stekelenburg brilliant tipped saw De Bruyne's drive onto the post. As a final act of desperation, Guardiola threw on Vincent Kompany as a makeshift centre forward but Everton held out to earn a hard fought point.
It was a disappointing result for Guardiola, who felt that his side had done more than enough to win the game, but the manager was magnanimous after the match.
"I am not frustrated with the team," Guardiola said afterwards. "When you lose in Tottenham the way you lose, you shake hands and make compliments to Everton for the way they defend.
"I am sad for the players. They deserved to win the game. They did absolutely everything to win it. Football is sometimes beautiful. We made absolutely everything. Sometimes you play bad, and you win and then today...
"My team will be judged but never will I change the way I want to play football, it's the only way I have. My teams play the way I want. During that process, there are problems. We improved a lot from what happened in Tottenham and Glasgow.
"We made a good performance. We need to improve on that and keep going."