Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of a third Premier League title in four seasons continued after victory at Everton opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the table.
Phil Foden fired Pep Guardiola’s leaders ahead with a right-foot shot which hit Everton substitute Seamus Coleman on its way past Jordan Pickford.
Hard-working Everton were back on level terms five minutes later, Lucas Digne’s powerful attempt coming back off the post and hitting Richarlison before flying over the line.
However, a wonderful curling finish from 18 yards by Riyad Mahrez restored City’s lead before Bernardo Silva beat Pickford from a similar distance in the closing stages.
With 14 games remaining, City’s lead is into double figures after a 12th successive league win.
By beating Everton they also become the first team in English top-flight history to win their opening 10 matches in a calendar year.
Ruthless City marching towards title
This was Manchester City’s game in hand after the original fixture, due to be played on 28 December 2020, was postponed after Guardiola’s side reported a number of coronavirus cases.
At the time, City were sixth in the table – six points behind then-leaders Liverpool – but they are now well ahead of the chasing pack following an outstanding run of form.
They have not trailed for a single minute in any of the last 16 Premier League matches and did not panic after Everton became the first team to score against them from open play since 3 January.
This latest impressive performance was achieved without Ilkay Gundogan, who has enjoyed a rich run of goalscoring form but was nursing a groin injury.
It looked business as usual when Foden broke the deadlock with aid of a deflection off Coleman, an early replacement after Yerry Mina suffered an injury.
Richarlison’s equaliser only served to antagonise City, who stepped up another gear after the interval to take the game out of Everton’s reach.
Mahrez’s strike was the pick of the goals while Silva’s exquisite finish sealed another highly-satisfactory night for Guardiola’s side, who ended the game with Kevin de Bruyne on the pitch for the first time since 20 January after recovering from injury.
No reward for battling Toffees
Everton produced a battling performance and, at one stage, threatened to become the first team since West Brom on 15 December to stop Guardiola’s side from winning.
But like so many teams before them, the Toffees were undone by City’s exceptional quality and now prepare for Saturday’s derby at Liverpool, where they have not won since 1999, on the back of two successive league defeats.
Pickford, on his return to the side after injury, had looked set to frustrate the leaders.
Having dived full-stretch to deny Joao Cancelo when the game was goalless, the England keeper did well to block out Silva at 1-1 before City took the game away from the hosts.
Everton have made progress under Carlo Ancelotti but the Italian, who said after the game his side had lost to the ‘champions’, will be frustrated by his side’s stuttering run of form.
They are missing their injured forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin and it is now one win in six in the league which threatens their chances of a first top-four finish since 2005. – BBC