Champions Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League for the first time since 16 December after edging to victory against Everton at Goodison Park.

Defender Aymeric Laporte met David Silva’s free-kick to head home his fourth goal of the season, putting City in front just before half-time.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling both spurned decent opportunities to extend City’s lead after the break before Gabriel Jesus sealed victory in stoppage time.

The win means Pep Guardiola’s side move ahead of Liverpool on goal difference, albeit having played one game more.

It was far from a vintage display by City, who instead had to show their battling qualities to secure the points and regain the initiative in the title race.

Attention will now switch back to Liverpool, who can return to the summit with victory against Bournemouth on Saturday, 24 hours before City host Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.

Everton stay ninth after suffering a fourth defeat in five Premier League games at Goodison Park, though they should take some encouragement from a resilient display that was a notable improvement on their performances in recent weeks.

 

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