Match Report Everton's final home game of 2023 ended in defeat as Manchester City eventually prevailed, but the key moment of the contest was laden with controversy as Amadou Onana was adjudged to have illegally handled in the box and Julian Alvarez scored what proved to be the winner from the spot. The Toffees led last season's treble winners at half-time thanks to Jack Harrison's 29th-minute strike but a brilliant goal from Phil Foden levelled matters eight minutes into the second half before Alvarez drove home his penalty and a late Jordan Pickford error gifted Bernardo Silva City's third with four minutes left of the regulation 90. Sean Dyche had rotated his strikers, opting for Beto from the start, and deployed André Gomes in central midfield in the absence of the injured Idrissa Gueye while James Garner continued in the role behind the striker with Abdoulaye Doucouré still unavailable. Pep Guardiola's side started with their customary dominance of the ball and the hosts had Pickford to thank for the fact that the visitors didn't grab the lead inside a quarter of an hour. The England goalkeeper saved well from Alvarez in the fourth minute and then denied the Argentine and Mateus Nunes with a terrific double-save after City had carved Everton open on the counter-attack. Pickford was there again in the 24th minute with a smart one-handed save to keep Jack Grealish's toe-poke out before the Blues started to make inroads at the other end. First, a corner was hooked clear from under City's crossbar from a corner and, three minutes after that, Harrison struck. Everton's pressing forced a trio of defensive errors from City's defence and when Rodri erred trying to pass it back to Manuel Akanji, Dwight McNeil pounced, cut the ball back from the byline and Harrison was there to slip it past Edersen from a couple of yards out and make it 1-0. The on-loan winger came very close to making it 2-0 shortly afterwards when another corner fell to him just inside the box and his delicious effort with the outside of his boot was heading for the top corner before Edersen got his fingertips to it and pushed it over. Man City were on course to extend their recent run to just one win in seven in the Premier League but they turned things up a notch again after half-time and Foden put his stamp on the contest with a fine goal. The ball was worked to the England international outside the box and he picked a spot just inside the left-hand post of the partially unsighted Pickford and arrowed a shot into the net from 25 yards. He almost doubled his tally straight away when Alvarez centred from the byline and Foden got a touch on it but the ball dribbled across the face of goal and past the far post. Gomes's needless trip on Grealish just outside the box handed Alvarez the chance to give the visitors the lead but Pickford batted his direct free-kick away. Two minutes later, though, he was given an altogether more routine opportunity when the officials decided to penalise Onana for handball. The Belgian had slid across to block a shot from Akanji and the ball struck his arm as he tried to protect his face. Referee John Brooks was well-placed but didn't elect to award a penalty until he had checked with his assistant, Lee Betts, who signalled for a spot-kick. Pickford got a foot to Alvarez's conversion but couldn't keep it out and it was 2-1 to City. Dyche replaced Beto with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and switched Gomes out for Michael Keane in a 3-5-2 formation and with 15 minutes left, the first change almost paid dividends. Harrison fired a dangerous cross to the edge of the six-yard box but, under pressure from a defender and the goalkeeper, Calvert-Lewin could only sweep an effort inches past the near post. Arnaut Danjuma then replaced Harrison with 10 minutes to go but, instead, it was Manchester City who scored next as Everton tried to play their way out from the back. Pickford's attempted clearance from near the corner flag struck Alvarez, the ball pinged off Jarrad Branthwaite's legs and fell to Bernardo Silva who lofted it into the empty net from 20-odd yards. Foden tried to rub salt in the wounds with a couple of speculative shots late on, rattling the post in the first minute of stoppage time and then forcing one last parrying save from Pickford. This was the first time Everton had lost having scored the first goal since Dyche took over 11 months ago and it was a harsh result given the Blues' tireless running and the fact that they had worked so hard to take the lead. Sadly, as the incident involving Rodri in this fixture three years ago, where the Spaniard got away with the most blatant of handballs, certain teams get questionable penalties awarded and others don't. Guardiola and his men don't need the extra help and there was no consolation for Dyche and Everton that the discussion among the pundits will likely feature plenty of sympathy for the home team. The Toffees, who are now just a point above the drop zone because of that 10-point deduction and Luton's recent revival, must shrug off a second disappointment in the space of four days, though, and prepare for another stern test, this time against in-form Wolves who hammered Brentford this evening and moved into 11th place in the table. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates There was no stopping Manchester City's second-half steamroller at Goodison Park after Everton had taken the lead through Harrison in a strong first-half display. Abdoulaye Doucouré misses out again, though, and neither Seamus Coleman nor Ashley Young are expected to be passed fit although Coleman is named on the bench. That again limits Dyche's options in midfield where Amadou Onana, James Garner and Andre Gomes are the only remaining fit central midfielders and all play tonight. Beto is preferred to Dominic Calvert-Lewin upfront but at least the two strikers got to play alongside each other for a portion of the last game at Spurs. An early cross in was met by Beto but he was too far out to threaten Ederson. The visitors, though, locked down possession pretty quickly and rapidly regained it through poor Everton passes as soon as they lost it. Grealish forced his way in and somehow Alverez was unable to convert. But City kept toying with the Everton defence, recycling the ball around the home penalty area. Branthwiate covered well at the cost of the first City corner, Walker's shot deflected wide. Garner drew a good free-kick off Stanes, Gomes playing in a decent enough ball but all it won was a throw-in. Garner's recycled ball in was too far ahead of Beto. Foden got through but drove his shot over. But City got forward again with far too much ease Alverez taking a decent shot that Pickford put back into play and Nummes got to the rebound, Pickford saved a certain goal with his shin! Everton were being forced to defend and had few ideas going forward with Beto forced to chase it down, Beto doing well against Akanji with Gomes then fouled. A good ball in by Gomes drew Ederson out to punch clear. Everton kept them engaged until City countered and Everton worked hard to keep them honest in midfield. Everton were at times playing a high line without the ball but, when they got it, Beto lost the ball and Grealish was in, shooting low for Pickford to save well. The Blues responded and forced a corner, McNeil, putting in a great delivery but Garner could not get to it. Silva was picked out with a pinpoint cross but his shot was very high off target. But Everton got forward well and, in a complex interplay with Garner and Beto making key touches,, McNeil broke forward and Harrison had a very simple finish from his excellent cross for Everton's first goal. City of course surged forward to respond, and set up Rodri for a killer strike but he drove it high and wide. Everton pushed back, Mykolenko winning a corner on the left, Gomes delivering to the far post where an absolutely superb first-time strike by Harrison with the outside of his boot was pawed behind by Ederson. There was some great high pressing from the Blues, but they could not create the chance their excellent approach play warranted. Beto chased down a ball over the top and Stones did well to clear but he went down injured in the process… and stayed down after the offside flag was finally shown, breaking Everton's great tempo and crowd spirit. Patterson had to manhandle Grealish for a yellow card. The ball in was headed goalward by Rodri but hit Tarkowski and went behind for a corner that was cleared. Another City attack was thwarted by good Blues defending at the 18-yard line and they looked to build down the right, then switching to the left but Beto could not claim the ball in. From a Garner free-kick McNeil was too strong in his efforts to reach the ball. City moved the ball around the Everton area with threat but Beto launched a clearing hoof. The next time they came forward, Silva won a corner but it ended up back with Ederson and Everton strode off with the half-time lead. After the restart, Everton were doing well to disrupt City attacks but the long ball forward wasn't sticking to a blue shirt and Everton had to defend, forcing poor shots from City. Beto tried an audacious shot from a narrowing angle. City's patient forward play was again disrupted by solid Everton defence and good fighting play from Beto going forward. But City played the ball around well and won a corner. But with nothing much happening Fiden, just smacked one and it was far too clever for Pickford, flying past him at the near post. Then a great cross in from Alvarez was just glanced by Grealish and rolled beyond the far post. City kept piling forward. Garner got forward with the ball but Ake stole it far too easily and City threatened to dominate the play after what must have been a half-time rocket from Pepe Guardiola. A brilliant piece of play out of defence by Onana was greeted with a nasty foul off the ball, not seen by the referee, and Everton were back in defensive mode, Patterson forced to concede a corner, Akanji finally shown a yellow card for the foul on Onana. Gomes caught Foden in a very dangerous position, Alverez forcing a Pickford save with his set-piece over the Everton wall. The ball circled around with a poor punch from Pickford and wild blocks until Onana was accused of handball from a range of a yard or so, very harsh. Penalty converted by Alverz. City had stepped up 3 gears since the break and simply torn Everton asunder. Calvert-Lewin and Keane replaced Beto and Gomes. Mykolenko won a corner off Walker, Garner looping it high to the far post and Tarkowski could only head it behind. Everton tried their best to compete for the ball high up the field but it was the visitors who finally won a pinball challenge down by the corner flag. Garner played a brilliant ball forward to Harrison who played in Calvert-Lewin perfectly and he had to score despite being under pressure... but he could only bundle it past the post for a goal-kick. Tarkowski then took out Alverez after winning a 50-50 ball City bizarrely getting the drop ball. Branthwaite was in a bit too heavily on Walker for his yellow card. Everton were fighting hard with the crowd behind them to get back at City any way they could. But it was getting just a little bit ragged, as Harrison was replaced by Danjuma. Paterson cleverly pushed Grealish into McNeil, and a yellow card for the City player! Everton were playing up, McNeil's ball forward just over Calvert-Lewin's head. Into the final phase of the game and McNeil tried to play in Danjuma but Ederson was out quickly. Alvarez fired just over Pickford's gloves and the Everton bar. But what should have been a routine clearance became a dreadful mess up at the back by Pickford that saw Branthwaite gift the ball to Bernado Siva and he needed to produce a controlled finish under illegal attention from Branthwite for City's third that killed the game. A fierce Foden shot rattled the post with Pickford well beaten. Foden got another opportunity to lash one at Pickford, who saved it this time before the final whistle went on a seemingly inevitable defeat once City showed up after the half-time break, Everton: Pickford [Y:63'], Patterson [Y:38'], Tarkowski, Branthwaite [Y:77'], Mykolenko, Gomes (65' Keane), Onana, Harrison (80' Danjuma), Garner, McNeil, Beto (65' Calvert-Lewin). Subs: Virginia, Godfrey, Coleman, Hunt, Dobbin, Chermiti. Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones (43' Gvardiol), Akanji [Y:58'], Ake, Nunes, Rodri, Silva, Foden, Grealish [Y:81'], Alvarez. Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Kovacic, Gomez, Bobb, Susoho, Lewis, Hamilton Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton's penultimate fixture of 2023 is at Goodison Park against Manchester City as Sean Dyche's side look to put the disappointment of the defeat at Tottenham behind them by springing a surprise against the Champions. The Blues were hugely unfortunate to come away from North London empty-handed last Saturday after coming so close to erasing a 2-0 half-time deficit but Dyche admitted that it was perhaps the performance he was most proud of so far this season. The 2-1 defeat ended a four-match winning streak and also saw Idrissa Gueye added to the list of injuries affecting the Everton squad over the Festive season. The Senegalese was forced off in the first half against Spurs and will undergo a late fitness test to see if he can be part of the squad to face City. Abdoulaye Doucouré misses out again, though, and neither Seamus Coleman nor Ashley Young are expected to be passed fit either. That again limits Dyche's options in midfield where Amadou Onana, James Garner and Andre Gomes are the only remaining fit central midfielders but he has almost all of his first choice XI available. The Portuguese was a revelation last weekend and, if he can replicate that performance, will make him a seamless option to start his first game for Everton since May 2022. The manager will have been encouraged by Arnaut Danjuma's contributions off the bench last weekend but may still err on the side of Jack Harrison's industry on the wings, for the first hour or so at least, for what promises to be a difficult assignment against a team Everton haven't beaten since that famous 4-0 triumph under Ronald Koeman almost seven years ago. City come into the game sitting in an unsually low 5th place in the table having won just one of their last six Premier League games, that a 2-1 win at lowly but improving Luton Town earlier this month. They have just returned from a resounding 4-0 Club World Cup win over Fluminese and, no doubt, with plenty of pressure from Pep Guardiola to turn their domestic form around. Kevin de Bruyne, a regular tormentor of the Toffees, is closing in on his return from a long injury lay-off and could feature. He will undergo a late assessment along with winger Jeremy Doku and striker Erling Haaland before Guardiola names his squad. With City being in iffy form of late and Everton buoyed by their positive results and performances since the home defeat by Manchester United, this shouldn't be the forgone conclusion it usually is. The Toffees have lost each of their last seven meetings with the blue side of Manchester in all competitions since January 2017 and that is a record Dyche will be itching to change. James Garner summed up the mood after the Spurs defeat where he said: "We're very disappointed that we didn't come away with anything because I think we deserved to. "We're not afraid of anyone at the moment. We see ourselves beating pretty much anyone we play. Our style of play is very unique and different to, I'd say, anyone in the league. Teams we're facing this year are finding it tough to play against us." Kick-off: 8:15 pm, Wednesday 27 December 2023Referee: John BrooksVAR: David CooteLast Time: Everton 0 - 3 Manchester City Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Onana, Gomes, Harrison, McNeil, Garner, Calvert-Lewin Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.