A late Raheem Sterling goal denied Everton all three points in an entertaining game at the Etihad Stadium that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Wayne Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal to put Everton ahead in the 35th minute before Kyle Walker saw red on his home debut.
The Toffees repelled a barrage of City attacks in the second half but were undone when a loose Mason Holgate clearance made it as far as Sterling before he slammed home.
And there was more drama in the 89th minute when Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for a second yellow card for a foolish challenge on Sergio Aguero.
Young Lions can hold their heads high
Conceding a late goal which denies you all three points only ever leaves a bitter taste. Yet over the remaining 36 games of this 2017-18 Premier League season, the point will no doubt prove to be a valuable one.
The Toffees have two young players to thank for the point. Dominic Calvert-Lewin put in his best performance so far in a Blue shirt. The striker looks to be maturing and improving with every game, not least in his clearly favoured role as centre forward.
He led the line with the bravery and the physical presence of a bull, yet with the energy, speed and poise of a gazelle. He was Everton’s outlet down the middle vs John Stones, or down either channel against Vincent Kompany or Otamendi, and his coolness in possession to tee up Rooney for the opener was demonstrative of a confident, clever footballer.
Likewise at the other end, Holgate was composed and solid throughout, nullifying Leroy Sane and standing up to the challenges of Aguero, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne. The only sore point is his mistake for the goal: his weak headed clearance that fell to Sterling, dead centre of the area. He won’t need his former Holland and Barcelona centre-half manager to tell him next time, that it needs to go wide and far.
But the error shouldn’t detract from two excellent performances from two 20-year olds in the back yard of a Pep Guardiola team tipped for the league title.
Koeman has to take his share of the blame
What appeared to be a savvy move from the Dutchman on the hour mark, actually signalled Everton’s demise.
Everton’s most expensive ever player Gylfi Sigurdsson entered the fray with Davy Klaassen, for Ashley Williams and Tom Davies. Changing to a flat back four, it looked as though Everton were going for that killer second goal which would have made it near impossible for City to overturn with 10 men.
Yet it only helped turn the tide. City grew in stature, Everton’s pressing and hard work seemed to stop and unable to string more than two passes together, rather than take control of the game the Toffees relinquished it.
Sigurdsson looked like a man lacking in match practice while Klaassen struggled to keep pace in an ever more frantic game. As such the defensive solidity that Everton had shown with Williams as one of three centre halves weakened, giving City hope.
Koeman has to take his share of the blame for the double substitution that unsettled Everton.
Still life in the old dog yet
That’s 2 goals in 2 games now for a ‘finished’ Wayne Rooney. I admit to being one of the sceptics when Rooney’s return was announced nearly six weeks ago, but his performances and his contribution so far point to a man desperate to prove people wrong.
And what a good time he’s having while doing just that. Two goals and 4 points earned for Rooney, in his so called retirement. And he’s not just coming up with the goods at the right end of the pitch.
Rooney covered more ground than any other Everton player against City (11km), putting any fears about his fitness to bed and confirming what we already knew about the born and bred Evertonian: he’ll run his socks off for his boyhood club.
Regardless of the fact that Aguero moved his body into the sliding Schneiderlin (isn’t that nice to say), the Frenchman was foolish for making the tackle.
Poking the ball away in what looked like the cleanest of tackles, slowed down replays show a canny Argentinian (where have we seen those before?) glance at the onrushing Everton midfielder, before turning his left leg into the oncoming tackle.
He briefly catches him before taking the ball, but it’s enough. And Schneiderlin should know better. Aguero, you’re a sly bastard. Schneiderlin, you’re an idiot.
Blues still a top striker away from catching top 4
Calvert-Lewin was in excellent form at the Etihad, but it’s unreasonable to expect that kind of performance week-in-week out from a 20-year old. A talent, yes, who seems to be getting better by the game, but he needs someone with whom to share the burden of the role of a lonely centre forward.
As he showed on Monday night, it can be a lonesome, thankless task especially against sides who play 3 centre halves. Having an experienced talisman to watch and learn from in training would do him the world of good.
And for Everton, having a proven goalscorer up top, a physical presence capable of relieving pressure in tight away games, and one who provides a sincere threat from set-pieces (when you’re under the kosh and rely on set-pieces for goal-scoring chances); for Everton such a presence would make the difference between another 7th placed finish, and a genuine crack at the top 4.