It was a game which always promised to be difficult for Manchester City, traveling to Goodison Park to play Everton, but for once, City managed to pull out a win in this fixture for only the second time since 1993. A goal from Sergio Aguero and two goals from Edin Dzeko was enough to give City a huge three points, but it wasn’t entirely convincing overall.
Much like the game last weekend against Crystal Palace, City were not at their flowing best, but they did get the crucial wins in both games and, really, that’s all that matters right now. The game against Everton was clearly the most difficult game left for City in their remaining three fixtures, but, strangely, the unconvincing manner of their last two victories raises more questions than answers about the now remaining final two.
A pair of home games against Aston Villa and West Ham United should be fairly routine for a City team playing in top gear, but they are clearly not in top gear right now. They are inching toward the Premier League trophy game by game, but the fashion they are doing it in cannot fill any City fan with any huge amount of confidence whilst there is work still to be done.
At Goodison Park, the atmosphere was subdued with Everton having little to play for and there was a sense that both the Everton team and crowd were more laid back and less intense than they usually are. It was a great opportunity for City to take advantage and although they did do that, it was rough going in the second half. If City barely gets by against an under-motivated Everton team, then that tells you exactly where they are at right now.
City, ideally, need to play better in their final two games, but it looks as though the form they are currently showing will either be enough or it wont be — essentially, they look out of gas. They need two wins to be champions, as things stand, but you wouldn’t confidently back them to do that. This game was supposed to be the last complicated hurdle for City, but it’s clear there will be more hurdles still to come and the biggest one could be dragging themselves into top gear.
If they manage to do that, then they will be Premier League champions, neither West Ham nor Aston Villa will be able to stop them then. But if they don’t, then they’re are asking for trouble — and it’s trouble they might just get in during one of the final two games.