'Rooney pushing for England recall' - Three things learnt from Manchester City 1-1 Everton
Manchester City had to come back from behind to secure a point against Everton on Monday night. It was a difficult first home fixture, but Pep Guardiola will be disappointed to have dropped points at this early stage of the season. Wayne Rooney scored in the first half to give the visitors a surprise lead. It was his 200th goal in the Premier League, which is an achievement that deserves a lot of praise. Raheem Sterling equalised late on with a nicely-struck volley, but it was too late for the home side to push for three points. Here are three things that we learnt:
Guardiola’s new formation isn’t working
The Spaniard has opted for a 3-5-2 formation at the start of this season and the early signs are that it isn’t going to work. He wants to play a front two with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, but it is negatively affecting the effectiveness of the team in attack. The two have yet to strike a good understanding and there are occasions where they are in the wrong position, as they aren’t sure where they should be. Last season, Jesus was a breath of fresh air, but he struggles to offer as much of a threat when he is playing alongside his fellow South American.
Another problem with the formation is that it limits Kevin de Bruyne, as he is often too deep to affect the play. There are few better creative midfielders in the world, but he isn’t given the freedom that he needs in order to be effective. By withdrawing one of the strikers, there would be more space in the final third for the Belgian to push into. City were predicted to be one of the best attacks in the league. Although it is very early, they have struggled to create clear-cut chance.
Wayne Rooney is pushing for an England recall
There will always be a media desire to have Wayne Rooney in the England squad as long as he is playing in the Premier League. Last season, he lost his place in the squad, after being dropped by Manchester United. He has now scored two goals in two matches for Everton and there are already people pushing for his return on social media. It was intelligent movement to hold his run and find a yard of space in the area in the build-up to the goal, but there were still flaws in his game.
Rooney can no longer cover as much ground as he did and it was his work rate that helped him become one of the best in Europe. He also lacks the quick acceleration that allowed him to power past opposition players. The 31-year-old can’t be relied on to keep the ball anymore, as highlights by his pass success rate of 68%. He often gives the ball away under no pressure and that is a concern. The England calls will continue, but he needs to prove himself over a longer period of games before he is worthy of a place.
Manchester City could still have a goalkeeping issue
Pep Guardiola has only been at the club for a little over a year and he is already on to his second big-money goalkeeping addition in Ederson. The 24-year-old arrived to much fanfare and his distribution was talked up by his new manager. A pass success rate of 90% underlines the quality he possesses with his feet, but he could be another keeper that underwhelms when it comes to keeping shots out.
It would be ridiculous if City have spent big on another keeper that can’t do the basics of his position, but Ederson’s attempt to save the goal was poor. Rooney’s effort wasn’t unstoppable and it went through the City goalkeeper, who could have done better. It is worth waiting for a couple of months before reserving judgement on the former Benfica player, but the goal hasn’t done anything to raise confidence levels among supporters.
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