Everton’s five-match unbeaten run in the league came to an end when they came unstuck at home of the champions Manchester City, eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat, the first defeat suffered under Ancelotti.

The Toffees adopted a rigid, defensive unit to try and counter-act Man City’s deadly attack and were fortunate not to fall behind early in the first half when a free-flowing Citizens’ move was finished off by Phil Foden. However, Riyad Mahrez was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up.

Early in the second half, the inevitable happened and City took the lead through a Gabriel Jesus strike that was just too far out of Jordan Pickford’s reach. Seven minutes later, the Brazilian grabbed his second with a low scorching strike at Pickford’s near post. There was some hope for the Toffees when Richarlison finished off a deflected Walcott cross with twenty minutes remaining but honestly Everton never looked like finding an equaliser and the eventual 2-1 scoreline arguably flattered them.

It was by no means a damaging defeat and it certainly seemed the fatigue as a result of the heavy festive fixture list plus the strenuously limited squad due to injuries had finally caught up with the side. And yet they had still managed, on paper, a very respectable narrow defeat away to the champions.

1st January 2020 – Premier League

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