Gabriel Jesus returns to goal-scoring form in 8/10 showing in win over Everton
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 victory over Everton on Saturday. Gabriel Jesus scored either side of half-time before Dominic Calvert-Lewin brought the visitors back into the game with a header. But that hope was short-lived, with substitute Raheem Sterling wrapping up the win with a close-range header.
City kept the pressure on Liverpool ahead of Sunday's big game against big rivals Manchester United, but the big plus will be the return to goals for Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian scored a brace with two confident finishes and it meant that Sergio Aguero could remain on the bench as he continues his recovery from an adductor injury. Pep Guardiola will want both players in top form during the busy winter schedule.
City were off the pace from the kickoff as they failed to open up the Toffees in the opening exchanges. The opening goal was courtesy of careless play from the visitors rather than City's usual creativity. They improved in the second half but again switched off shortly after Gabriel Jesus's second and briefly allowed Everton back into the game.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Guardiola looked unimpressed with his side's slow start, glaring at his players as they failed to create many meaningful chances in the opening 20 minutes. His team looked like they received a half-time rollicking and they reemerged with far more urgency, but the Catalan was still demanding more from his players -- calling Gabriel Jesus across for advice shortly after his second goal and was seething when City conceded.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- Made one good early save from Calvert-Lewin, although the Everton striker was ruled offside, but had no chance with his second-half header.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- It's rare he comes up against someone who can match his pace. The full-back comfortably saw off Bernard, although his replacement Ademola Lookman gave him much more of a test.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 6 -- Some of his early passing out from the back wasn't as good as it has been since the start of the season and City put themselves under pressure.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- Had a battle against the physicality of Richarlison and covering against the pace of Bernard and coped well.
DF Fabian Delph, 6 -- Some uneasy moments defensively and hasn't looked as assured pressed into the left-back role as he did during last season's title-winning march.
MF Fernandinho, 8 -- Strong in the centre of midfield and alert to drop into the defence when Jordan Pickford tried to launch quick counter-attacks. Showed his quality going forward with a great assist for Sterling's header.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- City's most creative player in a congested midfield and is benefitting from a run in the team.
MF Bernardo Silva, 6 -- A couple of threatening runs at the heart of the Everton defence but not quite the same impact he's been making in recent weeks.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 6 -- His clever jink past Lucas Digne earned the former Barcelona defender an early yellow card and from then on the winger had the beating of him but frustratingly couldn't create enough chances.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 8 -- Hard work, good link-up play and finally the goals that have been missing from his recent performances. His first Premier League goals since August should bring back some of his confidence.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 -- With Everton playing five across the back line, the winger intelligently stayed very wide to create space when there was precious little of it about and created the first two goals.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Instant impact with a goal three minutes after coming off the bench.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, N/R -- His first Premier League minutes of the season.