Manchester City kept pace with Chelsea, easing past Everton with a 3-0 win in their Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester City cruised past Everton thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva, to continue pushing Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table. Pep Guardiola surprised everyone with his team selection, handing a league debut to 19-year-old midfielder Cole Palmer in the false-nine role in City’s attack.

The referee awarded the hosts a spot-kick when Michael Keane rushed into Sterling, but VAR overruled it. Everton, already dealing with injuries to key players such as Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, sustained another setback early on when Demarai Gray limped off and had to be replaced by Alex Iwobi.

The visitors did frustrate Pep Guardiola’s side, but City ultimately broke the deadlock just before the break, when Sterling directed his shot past Jordan Pickford after a brilliant delivery into the box by Joao Cancelo.

The Citizens soon doubled their advantage in the second half when Rodri sent a rocketed long-range drive into the top-right corner to beat a helpless Jordan Pickford. Everton looked dejected after falling behind 2-0, and Pep Guardiola’s side added further misery with a third when Bernardo Silva squeezed in from a deflected Cole Palmer shot.

Everton boss Rafael Benitez will come under fire as the Toffees have not mustered a single win in their last six league games (D1 L5) while they have now dropped to 11th place with 15 points. The Hard Tackle will run the rule over both sets of players after a relatively one-sided affair at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City

Ederson Moraes: 6/10

Ederson had little to do between the sticks as Everton only managed a single shot at goal. His distribution was impeccable as usual, and he claimed a few crosses confidently.

Kyle Walker: 7/10

Walker was good offensively and used his recovery pace to a great extent. He also tucked inside and played a few nice balls while he also tried to put crosses into the box, but again without any real striker in the box, those turned pretty wasteful.

John Stones: 7/10

Stones was a calm and composed presence in the box as ever, and his distribution was so effective in advancing through Everton’s non-existent midfield. Manchester City’s dominant possession statistics demonstrate how well the centre-backs contributed to the game.

Aymeric Laporte: 7/10

Similar to Stones. Everton never really offered much of a threat to the defensive pairing, allowing them to show their ball-playing acumen. The Spanish international played several lovely balls to the wings and switched the play when needed.

Joao Cancelo: 7.5/10

Cancelo played a ridiculous assist outside of his boot to set up Raheem Sterling’s opening goal. His performances have been fantastic all season, and he was again on song in this game. Cancelo was genuinely enjoyable to watch, which is high praise considering he is a left-back.

Some of his playmaking skills are at par with some of the best playmakers in the league. He never seems to be in danger of being outdone and comfortably handles most wingers, with his recovery pace coming in handy to deal in those situations. The Portuguese is turning into a complete player with an equally complete performance on the day.

Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10

The German midfielder had another solid game in midfield. He hit the crossbar with a header and made effective late runs into the box and drove with the ball, causing panic stations in the opposition defence.

Rodri: 9/10

Anchoring the play from the centre of City’s midfield, Rodri did not put a foot wrong both defensively and offensively. His effortless passing dictated the play, while his constant ball-recycling maintained the tempo. He also rocketed a shot that nestled into the top corner. He put in a team-high 3 tackles and completed a match-high 7 accurate long balls.

Bernardo Silva: 8/10

The drive, determination, work rate and pressing were all there in the Portuguese midfielder’s display, but he overworked himself, which takes a fair bit out of his productivity in the final third. Silva could have been a little more sharper in those 1v1 situations.

Nonetheless, he was more than adequate in all other areas and kept moving things smoothly, putting in another strong performance that was capped off with a well-pounced goal.

Cole Palmer: 6.5/10

A very positive debut from the youngster, who slotted seamlessly into Guardiola’s fluid approach. While operating through the middle as a False No.9, Palmer did decently. He was promising but not perfect as he put in a good effort in the bottom right corner but lacked the necessary power behind it to score.

Raheem Sterling: 8/10

Sterling was fairly impressive on his 300th Premier League appearance and had his fair share of moments, including a superbly taken goal turning in from Cancelo’s cross. He could have grabbed another in the final quarter of the game, but his hesitation allowed Pickford a chance to recover as the chance went begging. He took 3 shots, out of which 2 were on target, and created 2 key passes.

Phil Foden: 6.5/10

Razor-sharp as usual, but not all of it came off on the day. Foden just could not guide Sterling’s cross into the back of the net. He also played some wonderful passes into space and combined well with his teammates. The Englishman was unfortunate to be subbed off at the hour mark, but he will be better rested for midweek’s Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain.

SUBSTITUTES

Riyad Mahrez: 5/10

Mahrez lacked sharpness and was not at his usual best. He had a couple of decent opportunities but fired his shot wide.

Nathan Ake: 6/10

Ake was substituted to tighten things up late in the game. He did that to a fair extent but was not tested as much because of City’s total dominance.

James McAtee: 6/10

Another academy maestro, McAtee, made his Premier League debut after impressing for the Under-23 side and displayed plenty of confidence on the ball. He made one David Silva-esque drive as the ball felt glued to his feet.

Everton

Jordan Pickford: 5/10

Pickford looked uncharacteristically shaky in the first-half in terms of his ball-handling both while catching and with his feet. He dropped across to put his side in an uncomfortable position. He could do little to prevent any of the goals but settled as the game progressed and made a couple of good saves.

Seamus Coleman: 5/10

Coleman struggled to cope with multiple Manchester City forwards targeting him as a weak link in Everton’s backline. To be kind to him, Anthony Gordon provided the Irishman with very little cover. Signing a new right-back would be on the top of Rafael Benitez’s wishlist in the transfer window.

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Michael Keane: 5/10

Keane made a match-high 6 clearances but lacked calmness to pick out a player; rather, it was no-nonsense play that included hoofing the ball up to clear the immediate danger. He appeared to have conceded a penalty, but VAR correctly overturned the decision. Otherwise, it was not a convincing display at all as City pierced Everton’s defence at will.

Ben Godfrey: 5.5/10

Godfrey made a few vital blocks and interceptions in the first 45 minutes, in particular, demonstrating good concentration and ability to read the game as well. However, he could not do it by himself as the Manchester City players kept getting past the Everton backline with ease, and his distribution from the back was sub-standard. He completed 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 clearances but his passing was sub-standard.

Lucas Digne: 5/10

Digne was pinned back deep into his defensive third throughout the 90 minutes, as he could not enjoy his usual creative freedom. He was caught out defensively on numerous occasions, and it was a dreadful performance overall from the Frenchman.

Anthony Gordon: 6/10

Despite his efforts, he was left running in circles alongside his teammates as City toyed at will against their visitors. Gordon picked out some good positions, but the real quality openings were few and far between, mostly being half-chances.

Fabian Delph: 6/10

The former Manchester City utility man was one of the very few players to come out with little credit. He disrupted City’s build-up play in the first half to reasonable success but fizzled out as the game progressed. He also got a little ovation when he was subbed off for Rondon.

Allan: 6/10

Allan has had better performances than this; he was not combative enough, and some of his passing was dreadful as he passed the ball straight to Rodri for the second goal. He sat really deep, alongside Delph, to frustrate Manchester City. The game plan worked initially but eventually, City started to find those open spaces to exploit.

Demarai Gray: 5/10

Unfortunately for Rafael Benitez, Gray is the latest player to sustain an injury. His run in the first seconds set the tone for a counter-attacking display, and he had another one before he limped off the pitch to bring his afternoon to an early end.

Andros Townsend: 6/10

Townsend started in a more central role and struggled to make an impression as he got very little of the ball for an hour. He put in a defensive graft with his work rate but could not enter the dangerous areas of the pitch as much as he would have liked. He had more shots (1), key passes (2) and dribbles (4) than any other player in an Everton shirt.

Richarlison: 5/10

Richarlison looked frustrated throughout the game with Everton’s approach and the lack of service. He did not enjoy against probably two world-class centre-halves. He battled hard to make things happen by himself, resulting in unfruitful moments before he picked up a yellow card for clattering into Walker, which means he will be suspended for the game against Brentford.

SUBSTITUTES

Alex Iwobi: 4/10

Iwobi came on as a substitute for Demarai Gray and had a great opportunity shortly afterwards after entering the fray. However, he never caught up to the game’s pace, either offensively or defensively, while his decision-making was also poor.

Salomon Rondon: 5/10

Rondon was brought on to give Everton a physical outlet upfront to aim their long balls. He did not see much of the ball, and the sole motive of his substitution was to get the needed rhythm into his legs if he is to start in Richarlison’s absence against Brentford.

Tyler Onyango: N/A

The Everton academy graduate made his Premier League debut with a late substitute appearance.

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