Demarai Gray spoils Manchester City’s New Year party

Premier League

The fact that Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland avoided getting sent off at the Etihad Stadium has left Everton feeling vindictive.

When the Norwegian striker scored after 24 minutes, Manchester City surged ahead but later drew 1-1 with the Toffees thanks to a miraculous goal from Demarai Gray.

From from point on, the Toffees had an uphill battle, but things may have been a little bit simpler if two of City’s key players had been dismissed.

Following his arrest for a late challenge on Amadou Onana, De Bruyne was the first to be interrogated before fouling Nathan Patterson seconds later.

The Belgian midfielder avoided receiving a caution, but talkSPORT co-commentator Danny Mills hypothesized that the player’s standing may have prevented him from getting sent off.

Mills said: “He wasn’t particularly happy and it was De Bruyne who took him out.

“That’s what I’m saying, that was a nudge in the back and Patterson gets a booking. It’s a foul, no shadow of a doubt. De Bruyne was incredibly late on Onana and was high. Two minutes later he takes out Patterson.

“Kevin De Bruyne is one of the greatest midfielders I’ve seen. He’s exceptional and one of the best in the world and captain of Manchester City.

“I think if that’s lots of other players then there’s every chance that they get a second yellow card.”

As the first half came to an end, Haaland caught Vitaliy Mykolenko with a powerful challenge that resulted in a booking, leaving Everton unhappy once more.

However, after seeing the replay, Mills asserted that the striker also had a fortunate escape.

Mills said: “It’s a bad foul, it’s a really bad foul. The actual tackle was really poor. It’s a really nasty, high challenge. James Tarkowski has now been booked for telling the referee it was a bad foul.

“What I don’t get is that Haaland goes in two-footed and gets a yellow card. That’s a ridiculous challenge.”

Having seen the replay, Mills softened his stance, saying: “I’m going to go yellow. His foot is not planted, he’s slid in from a distance. That’s not as bad as the De Bruyne one.

“The De Bruyne one is a far worse challenge that Erling Haaland’s. Haaland’s looks worse because he’s running at full pace and slides in at a distance, but he doesn’t really catch. A booking, I think, is fine.

“He’s not endangering an opponent, but it’s maybe a bit reckless. De Bruyne’s was really bad though.”

Haaland, however, may have been fortunate to avoid getting dismissed for an elbow late in the second half.

However, Everton deserves credit for putting such setbacks behind them by tying the score on 64 minutes thanks to a goal from Demarai Gray.

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