‘I must be from a different planet’: Everton boss livid as City on the right side of a law no one understands
Manchester City have come from behind to beat Everton 3-1 and close the gap on the Premier League leaders.
Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez – controversially from the spot – and Bernardo Silva scored in the second half as City hit back.
Jack Harrison gave Everton, a point above the relegation zone in 17th, a first-half lead when he converted Dwight McNeil’s low cross.
It was only City’s second win in seven league matches and moved Pep Guardiola’s side, crowned Club World Cup champions this month, into fourth and five points behind leaders Liverpool, with a game in hand.
After Foden cancelled out Harrison’s opener, Alvarez put the defending champions ahead when Nathan Ake’s shot hit Amadou Onana’s arm as he slid in to block.
Referee John Brooks awarded a corner before changing his mind and pointing to the spot, with Argentine Alvarez’ blast down the middle proving too powerful as it went underneath the diving Jordan Pickford’s legs.
Everton manager Sean Dyche was livid.
“They are a very good side, we know that. We know they make chances and you have to try to stop those which we didn’t do,” said Dyche.
“We can debate the penalty all day. It has been by managers on Zoom calls to say it’s a farce but that’s the way it goes.
“That’s completely natural. He’s not putting his arm up to save it, he’s literally jumping in to try to block the ball. How that is given as a penalty is bizarre in my world but I must be from a different planet. Tonight the linesman gives that and he’s 18 yards away so I don’t know who is giving what any more.
“Who knows? All the managers are debating it. Someone needs to stand up at some point and realise that can’t be a penalty because he’s just throwing himself in front of it to try to block the ball, that’s it.”
His rival manager Pep Guardiola suggested the hand ball laws are confusing.
“I didn’t see the images, sorry, I will let you know. I don’t know the rules. It’s a penalty here, not a penalty here. If you go to Europe the rules are completely different. Maybe one day they will clarify it. But I didn’t see the pictures,” Guardiola said.
Former top referee Mark Clattenburg said it was the right decision but a flawed law.
“No one is saying that the decision is wrong [for Onana’s handball] but we are saying that by the way the law is written, it is wrong and therefore that is something that needs changing,” he said.
“We are seeing some given and some not given every week.”
In London, substitute Noni Madueke bailed out a misfiring Chelsea side with a late penalty to secure a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace for a rare home victory in 2023.
Just as it looked like Chelsea’s inefficiency up front would cost them again, Madueke – who was rejected by palace as a junior – was tripped by Eberechi Eze inside the area and stepped up to the spot himself to send goalkeeper Dean Henderson the wrong way in the 89th minute.
It secured just a sixth home league win of the calendar year for the Blues at Stamford Bridge, which used to be a fortress under Jose Mourinho and several managers after him but has been anything but under Mauricio Pochettino and his three most recent predecessors from last season.
The hosts took the lead through Mykhailo Mudryk in the 13th minute but Michael Olise equalised just before the break.
Referee Michael Salisbury initially waved play on after Eze’s challenge on Madueke but was eventually called to the pitchside monitor by his VAR assistant to review the incident, and then pointed to the spot.
Chelsea are in 10th place with Palace now just three points above the relegation zone in 15th.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ recent good form has continued with Hwang Hee-chan scoring twice in a 4-1 win at Brentford.
South Korean Hwang took his tally for the season to 11 as Wolves followed up their Christmas Eve win over Chelsea by collecting another festive three points.
It was their first victory in the capital in 15 attempts, their last coming in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in February last year, and moves them up to 11th and drops the Bees to 14th after their fourth straight defeat and a sixth in seven matches.