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Sam Allardyce’s central midfield choices all wrong v Manchester City

English Premier League

Sam Allardyce’s central midfield choices all wrong v Manchester City

Everton were thoroughly outplayed in their clash with Premier League champions-elect Manchester City yesterday. Goals from Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling in the first-half did the damage as City tore through Everton in the first-half.

In the second-half Everton improved slightly, with a magic moment from Yannick Bolasie earning Everton their consolation goal.

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It was the first time that Everton have lost to Pep Guardiola’s City, who had previously got the better of the Catalan. This fixture last season saw Everton rip City apart, in a 4-0 crushing.        

But Sam Allardyce got it all wrong for this crunch game.

Everton started the game with Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin in the central midfield positions. It was a decision that baffled many Everton fans before the game and afterward left them frustrated.

Rooney, as talented as he obviously is, is no longer the most mobile of operators. Morgan Schneiderlin, increasingly unpopular with Everton fans, has never been one to get around the pitch with ease.

Manchester City’s German midfielder Leroy Sane (L) vies with Everton’s French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The pair were tasked with stopping one of the slickest midfield machines in Premier League history. They, and Everton, never stood a chance. Both Rooney and Schneiderlin were left chasing shadows for the opening 45 minutes.

It was not a coincidence that Everton’s performance did seem to improve in the second-half after the introduction of Tom Davies. The youngster was the star as Everton thumped City last term and his energy helped to stop the City knife cutting through Everton butter.

From Allardyce, it was a shock to see such a seasoned Premier League veteran get it so wrong from the start. This mistake will not help ease the belief among the Everton faithful that Big Sam is not the man for the job.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Everton fan for my sins.

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