Manchester City gave Everton a footballing masterclass at Goodison Park today, taking a giant leap towards their third Premier League title in seven seasons and becoming the first Premier League side since 2011 to defeat every other Premier League side in a single season.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce's tactics will come under severe scrutiny, after his decision to play two up front backfired in spectacular fashion in the first quarter of an hour.
First, the excellent Leroy Sané fired City in front in the fourth minute, converting a fine cross by David Silva from the left. Then, in the 12th minute, City struck again. Sané once again played a pivotal role, playing a brilliant through ball to Kevin de Bruyne.
In typical fashion, the Belgian maestro then played in a pinpoint ball from the right, which Gabriel Jesus converted with a close-range header that gave Jordan Pickford no chance.
And yet Everton should have been level just moments before City's second goal, with Yannick Bolasie heading over after the industrious Dominic Calvert-Lewin had dug out a cross from the right.
It was a shocking miss, but in truth an Everton equaliser would have been a travesty of justice. In fact, City were so dominant in the first half that, at times, the match looked more like a training game than a full-blooded Premier League clash.
In particular, Everton gave David Silva and Raheem Sterling the freedom of the park, and it was no surprise when those two players combined in the 37th minute to kill off any realistic chance of an Everton comeback. Silva played a superb low cross from the left, which Sterling converted with aplomb from close range for his 16th Premier League goal of the season.
50 - Pep Guardiola has become the second fastest manager to reach 50 Premier League wins (69 games), with only Jose Mourinho (63) doing so in fewer. Rampant.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 31, 2018
Everton were booed off at half time, and the second half started in much the same vein. City did take their foot off the pedal a little, but Fernandinho still tested Pickford with a rasping drive in the 57th minute, which took a deflection off Calvert-Lewin.
It was no surprise to see Wayne Rooney replaced by Tom Davies moments later - although, in truth, he was no more effective than any of his fellow midfielders.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Everton found a lifeline in the 63rd minute, with Bolasie partially atoning for his earlier howler with a fine finish from the edge of the box. The home crowd was lifted, City began to look sloppy, and Everton's Cenk Tosun came close with a header from a corner in the 66th minute.
Unfortunately for the Toffees, that was as good as it got for them. City soon recovered their composure and easily held on for a vital win.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines, Rooney, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Calvert-Lewin, Bolasie, Tosun.
Subs: Martina, Niasse, Funes Mori, Davies, Vlasic, Robles, Baningime.
Manchester City: Ederson, Otamendi, Kompany, Laporte, Walker, de Bruyne Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Jesus.
Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gündoğan, Bernardo Silva, Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, Nmecha.