Manchester City cruised to a statement 4-0 win on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 WSL season, hammering an Everton side that many expected to do pose a challenge.
The Toffees have recruited well over the summer and hope to upset the big clubs this season, even spending a club record fee on Swedish teenager Hanna Bennison. But a dominant City proved it will still take time to reach their level.
City threatened from the early stages at Goodison Park, with wingers Janine Beckie and Hayley Raso, the latter a former Everton player, tormenting the hosts.
There was far too much space between Everton’s wing-backs and centre-backs on both sides of the pitch and City targeted that weakness time and time again to get their goals.
New signing Vicky Losada broke the deadlock midway through the first half, marking her debut with a goal after returning to the WSL from Barcelona. That sparked a flurry of City goals, with Beckie making it two with a fine solo effort and another debutant, Khadija Shaw, scoring a tap in.
Everton looked shellshocked as City racked up those three goals in just 12 first half minutes and Willie Kirk changed tactics at the interval, which stemmed the flow. The Toffees were much better after the break and City added only one more goal from a Steph Houghton free-kick.
Here’s a look at how both sets of players got on…
Everton player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Sandy MacIver (GK) 6/10: Had to be alert early on to make saves and key interventions. Stood little chance with the goals that went past her.
Rikke Sevecke (RWB) 4/10: Struggled to get to grips with the wing-back role and it left Everton far too exposed down her flank. Slightly better as a conventional right-back after half-time.
Nathalie Bjorn (CB) 5/10: Off the pace in the first half and struggled when Beckie was clear of the often Sevecke and started running at her.
Megan Finnigan (CB) 5/10: The back three system wasn’t working for Everton at all in the first half and the 23-year-old was sacrificed at the interval.
Gabrielle George (CB) 5/10: Guilty of not putting enough pressure on the ball as City doubled and then further extended their lead in the first half. Decent in possession though.
Danielle Turner (LWB) 6/10: Tried to get forward in support of the attack but was often sprinting back towards her own goal in pursuit of Raso. Went close to scoring with a free-kick.
Izzy Christiansen (CM) 6/10: Tried to make things happen in the second half and was unfortunate not to score.
Aurora Galli (CM) 6/10: A promising start to her Everton career as the first ever Italian in the WSL.
Kenza Dali (RW) 5/10: Started well on her Toffees debut but faded once City raced into a lead and was withdrawn at half-time.
Toni Duggan (ST) 5/10: Perhaps will be disappointed she didn’t do more on her return to the club, but quality service was notably lacking.
Anna Anvegard (LW) 6/10: Put City defenders under pressure in possession and had some of Everton’s better chances to score.
Claire Emslie (LW) 7/10: Arrived in the second half to give Everton a more direct threat and immediately made a positive impact.
Hanna Bennison (CM) 7/10: The new record signing offered the Toffees more of a foothold in midfield after half-time.
Valerie Gauvin (ST) 6/10: Went close to scoring a header within moments of coming on.
Lucy Graham (CM) N/A
Nicoline Sorensen (ST) N/A
Manchester City player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Karima Benameur (GK) 6/10: Appeared nervous to begin with in only her second WSL start in two years, but grew with confidence significantly when Everton started giving her more to do.
Esme Morgan (RB) 6/10: Standing in for Lucy Bronze while the England star recovers from knee surgery. Given more of a challenge in the second half.
Steph Houghton (CB) 7/10: Defensively strong as to be expected, as well as nailing an inch-perfect free-kick to make it 4-0.
Alex Greenwood (CB) 8/10: At ease as a centre-back these days and it was her anticipation to step out and win the ball that created City’s second goal of the day.
Demi Stokes (LB) 7/10: Driving run into the penalty area put City in a position to break the deadlock.
Laura Coombs (CM) 6/10: Might not usually start when Keira Walsh is fit but did a good job.
Vicky Losada (CM) 7/10: Came close to scoring a few minutes before she actually did.
Caroline Weir (CM) 6/10: Good on the ball as ever, ensuring City were in control.
Hayley Raso (RW) 8/10: Looked sharp against her former club and was a constant source of danger on the right.
Khadija Shaw (ST) 7/10: Got a poacher’s debut goal that will boost confidence moving forward.
Janine Beckie (LW) 9/10: Posed a threat down the left flank throughout, helped create the first goal, scored the second and later also hit the bar with another effort.
Ellen White (ST) 6/10: Started on the bench because of a pre-season injury. Didn’t really see her first chance until the clock ticked into stoppage time.
Georgia Stanway (CM) 6/10: Appeared from the bench sporting a protective mask.
Alanna Kennedy (CB) 6/10: Kept things tight at the back in the closing stages.
Lauren Hemp (LW) 7/10: Creative when she came on, creating some late chances.
Jill Scott (CM) N/A: First WSL game back at City after returning from a loan at Everton.
Source : 90min