Yaya Toure, Fernando lead frustrated Man City in draw with Everton
Manchester City's players must be wondering what they need to do in order to get a penalty at the moment. Denied a clear spot-kick in their 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park earlier in January, the Everton defence got away with another in the 0-0 draw at the Etihad seven days later.
It wasn't one of those that might have gone either way, too -- Raheem Sterling's legs were swept away from him by John Stones, but referee Roger East chose to point for a goal kick in the 93rd minute.
The home fans will rightly lament that decision, but that it's the talking point of the entire 90 minutes is a damning indictment on the team that dominated the match. Manuel Pellegrini's side huffed and puffed, but they never really got close to blowing the Everton house down.
The added bonus was that Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all dropped points too -- making City's position in third safer and keeping them within a victory of top spot. Others, however, may look on it as a missed opportunity.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Joe Hart, 6 -- The England goalkeeper produced a good block when Gerard Deulofeu broke in behind, but otherwise had very little to do.
DF Bacary Sagna, 6 -- With the return of Pablo Zabaleta to full fitness, Sagna is likely to face a fight to keep hold of the right back berth. However, he was excellent in support of Jesus Navas on the flank and solid when pressured.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- The Argentine was excellent when breaking ranks from the back four and pressuring Romelu Lukaku high up the pitch. He was dominant in the air and handled the troublesome centre-forward well.
DF Martin Demichelis, 6 -- It was a tale of two halves from the veteran. In the first half, it looked like he was running through treacle to try and keep up with a pair of Everton breaks, but he was much better positioned and showed more awareness in the second period to cope well.
DF Gael Clichy, 6 -- The full-back was caught high up the pitch a couple of time as he dived in to try and win the ball first, but overall he coped well with the lively Deulofeu.
MF Yaya Toure, 7 -- The Ivorian ran the game for City and was the one pulling the strings just behind the attackers with a mixture of delicate passes and thumping cross-field switches. Unfortunately for him, those ahead of him couldn't find a way through.
MF Fernando, 7 -- Rash at times during Everton breaks, Fernando could have cost his team with a number of tackles where he dived in up the pitch and didn't win the ball. On the other hand, he kept Ross Barkley quiet all evening and didn't give the England man room to think.
MF Jesus Navas, 6 -- There's only so long the Spaniard can go without being frustrated that he has little to aim for in the box before deciding to shoot himself. That moment came as he went close in the second half. He constantly caused the Everton defence problems, but struggled to find the one or two blue shirts in a sea of visiting defenders.
MF Raheem Sterling, 6 -- The winger will be wondering for days how he wasn't awarded a penalty at the death, after he'd done well to get in behind Stones. He caused problems with his pace and was a danger cutting inside, but he'd left his shooting boots at home.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 5 -- Sometimes it's just not your night, no matter how good you are. Wednesday was one of those evening's for the Belgian, who continued to get into dangerous positions, only to find his pass was too heavy or slightly off target.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 -- He drifted in and out of the match, largely down to the Everton defending. However, Aguero hit a peach of a volley that he was unfortunate not to see find the net and he was a strong and wriggly customer in the visitors' penalty area.
Substitutes:MF David Silva, NR -- After coming on for De Bruyne in the 73rd minute, the Spaniard couldn't find the key to unlock the Everton defence. He was always causing problems, but the visitors managed to keep him at arm's length a little too easily.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney