Everton supporters can breathe a sigh of relief after a gruelling clash with Manchester City at the Etihad this afternoon and Frank Lampard will be thrilled that his team managed to steal a point away from home even with the odds staked against them.
The Toffees were just one point clear of the relegation zone ahead of their visit to the Premier League champions today and have managed to widen that gap to two with a well-fought draw against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Despite having just 26% possession of the ball, fewer shots on goal (2 v 16), fewer big chances (0 v 4) and almost three times less accurate passes (183 v 598) than Manchester City, the Toffees took one of their only chances successfully and protected their equaliser magnificently.
In the first half, the inevitable Erling Haaland gave the hosts the lead in the 24th minute to tally up his 21st goal of the Premier League season whilst the yellow cards came thick and fast with Nathan Patterson, James Tarkowski, Bernardo Silva, Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne all booked by the referee before the half-time whistle.
In the second half, after holding off their opponents from doubling their league for 40 minutes, Demarai Gray found the back of the net to deliver the equaliser Everton were desperately searching for and managed to fight for their point despite 11 minutes extra time in a defensive performance Lampard should be proud of.
One player who was Everton’s unsung hero in the heart of the team at the Etihad this afternoon was Idrissa Gana Gueye – the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder who reunited with the Toffees in a move back to Merseyside this summer.
Over his 78-minute performance, the talented Senegalese ace delivered the assist for Gray’s goal, made two key passes, completed 100% of his passes accurately and won 100% of his aerial duels, as well as completing two clearances, two interceptions and blocking one shot on goal.
Lampard’s hooking of the player in the last 12 minutes of the game was met with criticism as writer Peter Guy hailed Gueye the “most impressive” midfielder for Everton during the clash:
“Strange sub by Lampard. Idrissa Gana Gueye has been the most impressive midfielder for Everton. Don’t see what Tom Davies brings to this game at all.”
With that being said, the Everton boss will be hoping that the team’s efforts against Man City only the final day of 2022 will be the confidence boost they need to inspire improved and more consistent performances in 2023 as they attempt to climb the Premier League table into a more comfortable position.