Everton have secured a 4-0 victory over Manchester City at Goodison Park, in what will be one of their most comfortable wins of the season.
Romelu Lukaku got the ball rolling in the first half, before Kevin Mirallas, Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman sealed the three points to once again leave Pep Guardiola fuming with his side.
It was an exciting end to end opening to the clash on Merseyside, with the Toffees looking to test their opponent’s rather vulnerable defence and City, as usual, looking dangerous on the break.
Moments after a goal from Mirallas was correctly ruled offside, Raheem Sterling had the best chance to open the scoring little over 10 minutes into the top flight contest.
Kevin De Bruyne found himself in space on the left flank and delivered a low cross into the box towards his attacking team-mate. Sterling was caught between Leighton Baines and Joel Robles and fell to the turf crying for a penalty. Mark Clattenburg, however, wasn’t interested, waving play on.
Sensing confidence from their hosts, City began to take control of the game, sensibly slowing the pace of proceedings down.
Reaching the 25-minute mark and Guardiola’s troops were just edging the action on Merseyside and they again came close, as De Bruyne linked up, this time, with David Silva.
The Belgium international picked out the Spaniard with an exquisite cross into the box but, as with Sterling, the City midfielder might have been better to take the shot first time, rather than giving Robles time to close the ball down.
To quote City’s official twitter account, it had so far been a contest of plenty of ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘nearlies’.
And, typically, Everton made Guardiola’s side pay for not taking their chances, leaving Guardiola to scratch his head – not for the first time this season – at seeing his side go behind.
Everton took full advantage of a poor pass from Gael Clichy, with Tom Davies, from deep, quickly playing a pass to Kevin Mirallas in the box. The Belgian lifted his head to find Romelu Lukaku, who coolly side footed his effort into the back of the net in the 34th minute.
City weren’t without their chances in the closing stages of the first half, but they simply hadn’t brought their shooting boots to Merseyside.
Guardiola won’t have been impressed by the performance of his players so far; however, his half time talk clearly had no impact, with it taking only two minutes after the break for the Toffees to double their lead.
Yaya Toure was lethargic in possession, allowing goalscorer Lukaku to steal the ball and play in Mirallas. John Stones, returning to Goodison Park for the first time since his summer transfer to the Etihad, cut out the pass, but Barkley picked up the loose ball and set up Mirallas to fire a low strike into the bottom-left corner, out of Claudio Bravo’s reach.
It was turning out to be yet another glum afternoon for City, as they showed few signs of staging a comeback after going two goals down.
The players appeared disinterested in the challenge and, into the final 10 minutes, Everton weren’t afraid with heaping further misery on Guardiola.
To rub further salt into his wounds, teenager Davies got his name on the scoresheet to put the contest to bed.
The 18-year-old went on a skilful run down the right flank, evading multiple challenges before playing the ball to Barkley. The two then linked up again, as Barkley teed up the youngster to dink the ball over Bravo for his first ever senior goal.
But the action wasn’t over, as Ademola Lookman, making his Premier League debut having been signed only a few days ago, capped off the win with a simple finish in added time.
Really, it had been game over for City after the second goal, as their top four hopes – let alone title – drift further away.