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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Keifer MacDonald

National media highlight what could be 'important' point of Everton defeat to Man City

Everton's relegation fears very much remain after sinking to a 3-0 defeat against champions-elect Manchester City on Sunday afternoon at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche's side, roared on by a ferocious-sounding home crowd, started brightly as Dominic Calvert-Lewin looked to masterplan their counter-attacking style shortly before Mason Holgate was presented with the best chance of the first half.

The defender's miss, a close-range rebound from a corner that he skied desperately over the crossbar, was left to be rued when Ilkay Gundogan displayed a piece of brilliance to control Riyad Mahrez's cross on his thigh before hooking the ball past Jordan Pickford. Just moments later, Erling Haaland escaped the vicinity of Yerry Mina to double the visitors' lead.

READ MORE: Pep Guardiola sends Sean Dyche message after being impressed by Everton

READ MORE: Sean Dyche overruled Dominic Calvert-Lewin as three new Everton injuries revealed

Just moments after the restart, Gundogan fired in City's third, this time past a Calvert-Lewin-less Everton, with a sublime free kick after Phil Foden had been bundled to the ground by James Garner.

The loss keeps the Blues in 17th position in the Premier League, just one point ahead of Leeds United, who occupy the third and final relegation place. Second-from-bottom Leicester City, meanwhile, have a game in-hand on Everton and know if they were to beat Liverpool at the King Power this evening then they would move up to 17th, with two matches to play.

Here's how the national media, along with our own Joe Thomas, reacted to the defeat to City.

Andy Hunter, Guardian

"Sean Dyche’s side were outclassed as they fell to a 10th home league defeat of the season, an ignominious club record. Yet they were given a rousing reception after the final whistle by supporters who recognised both the gulf in quality here and the importance of the trip to Wolves next week in the fight against relegation.

"Everton’s survival prospects will plummet should Dominic Calvert‑Lewin be ruled out with the groin problem that forced Dyche to withdraw his one quality striking option at half-time.

"It was a close, intriguing game before Gündogan took it away from Everton in the blink of an eye. City dominated possession as usual but Dyche’s team held the league leaders at bay with the same defensive commitment and well-planned threat on the counter-attack that had devastated Brighton on Monday.

"Haaland barely had a touch in the first half, such was Everton’s initial success in nullifying Guardiola’s side. The ball was in the Everton net when he did, such is the potency of the phenomenal forward."

Chris Bascombe, Telegraph

"Everton spent much of this week suggesting Dixie Dean's goal record for a single season is 92 and not 63. Whatever the official records show, at 3-0 down there was a brief fear in the home ranks Haaland might match the total there and then if City went for the kill. They were fortunate City eased off.

"Sean Dyche had been buoyed by the performance at Brighton six days earlier, but City are playing a different sport to most others in the Premier League, let alone this Everton side. There were moments when their superiority bordered on the absurd as the hosts struggled to complete a meaningful passing sequence.

"Until City dropped the tempo at three-up, Everton did not so much launch attacks as stampedes in an effort to make City's defence uncomfortable. This was a day when the home side winning a throw-in on the halfway line earned a standing ovation."

Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail

"For Everton, the damage grew no greater and that may yet be important. They are only out of the bottom three by a point but their goal difference is also two better than that of Leeds, the team beneath them. So the fact there was no mirror of the collapse they suffered here against Newcastle in late April could yet serve them well.

"Gundogan’s goal tally in the league, however, would make him top scorer in Sean Dyche’s Everton squad. Dwight McNeill is Everton’s top league scorer with seven goals and that says much.

"Here their best forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin was reasonably dangerous in the first half but failed to reappear for the second, presumably injured. Dyche, one senses, has had just about enough of that particular problem already.

"His team’s approach to the game was hard to fault, at least. Compact across the middle of the field when City had the ball – which was often – they ran and pressed and closed opponents down. For a while it worked to the extent that City hadn’t fashioned a chance at all until the moment they scored eight minutes before half-time. But this is the point. They did score.

"And then, a matter of a minute or so later, they scored again. Suddenly, Everton were staring not at the possibility of a point but respectability and damage limitation. When people talk of how hard it is to play Guardiola’s team, this is what they mean.

"Everton did have their opportunity just before Gundogan’s first goal and they didn’t take it. A goal then would have turned up the dial. It is always easier to summon energy when you have something tangible to cling to."

Joe Thomas, ECHO

"On an afternoon in which Everton could have taken another step toward Premier League safety, what mattered most might have taken place just over 200 miles south of Goodison Park.

"Everton fought hard against Manchester City but were ultimately outclassed by one of the best teams in world football. This was a defeat that was frustrating but it did not reveal much about the Blues’ chances in this relegation battle.

"The event that did offer new insight unfolded not in L4 but in London, where Brentford played West Ham United and former Everton boss David Moyes, with eyes on his side’s Europa Conference League semi-final on Thursday, made seven changes and his reserves offered little opposition as they fell to defeat. West Ham’s final two games in the league are against Everton’s biggest rivals in the bid to avoid the drop - Leeds United and Leicester City.

"In reality, the game had probably been lost by that point. Everton had played well in the first 45 minutes, initially matching City and conceding possession but not chances while posing a threat on the counter. This game could have been very different had Holgate, unmarked at the back post, been able to wrap his foot around the bouncing ball after James Tarkowski nodded a corner in his direction. It was a difficult chance and Holgate, just yards out, could not contort his body enough and hammered over."


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