How times changes.
The date was January 15th 2017.
A Man City side, sitting ominously outside of the top four, were the visitors to Goodison Park in what was a make or break game for Pep Guardiola.
Defeat against Everton would leave the Citizens ten points adrift of runaways leaders Chelsea, almost certainly ending Guardiola’s hopes of winning the title during his first season in charge.
The unimaginable happened for City and Guardiola, as they were taken apart 4-0 by a clinical Ronald Koeman side.
Yes, Koeman is still the manager who has inflicted the heaviest ever league defeat on Guardiola, just let that sink in.
The result on the day made you question everything you once believed about football…
Nothing looked right for City on the day, with the former Barcelona boss making some questionable decisions with his starting lineup.
Pablo Zabaleta started in a midfield pivot alongside an ageing Yaya Toure. Fair f**ks.
Despite the unfashionable looking pair, you still would have backed them against Everton’s midfield trio of Gareth Barry, Ross Barkley and then hot prospect Tom Davies.
Despite the interesting team selection, which included Claudio Bravo starting between the sticks, Guardiola still had enough quality in his side to deal with the threat of Everton.
Seven players who are still members of the City squad this season all featured, including Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and John Stones.
Aguero and co however fired blanks against an Everton back-five which featured Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori. Solid AF.
Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for Koeman’s side as Everton raced into a 1-0 lead before half-time.
The Toffees then doubled their advantage shortly after the break courtesy of Kevin Mirallas (remember him?) who fired past a hapless Bravo.
Davies, who was making just his second league start at the time, then sent Goodison into raptures after he finished his spellbinding run in ice-cold fashion.
The 18-year-old produced the cheekiest of chips to sit the City goalkeeper down and score his first goal for his boyhood club.
Guardiola’s misery was then compound by debutant Ademola Lookman who finished the rout in stoppage time.
In what seems like one of the worst decisions of all time, Leroy Sane was left to warm the bench during the defeat, with Kelechi Iheanacho coming on instead of him.
Despite his side having 71% of possession, Guardiola left Merseyside red-faced, with the 4-0 spanking compounding him to his heaviest ever league defeat as a manager.
Guardiola was having his authority questioned by some of football’s most well-respected names…
We think that the embarrassing defeat to Everton was the exact moment when Guardiola realised he needed to spend a small country’s GDP on full-backs.
No longer could he deal with the sight of Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna attempting to bomb up and down the pitch or tuck into midfield.
City ended the season on a positive note however, with a mini revival helping Guardiola’s side to finish third in the league.
It’s fair to say that the City owners made the right call to stick with their manager and ignore all the cries for change.
Their decision has been somewhat vindicated…
Please spare a thought however for all the keyboard warriors who were a bit premature with their criticism of Guardiola after the famous defeat.
This lot might want to go back and delete some old tweets…
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