Both teams went into this game under very different circumstances. Everton needed a victory to put their fans back on their side following their disappointing 3-0 defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup last weekend. Manchester City on the other hand, well, they knew only a win would keep their faint title hopes alive. Everton’s team looked very attacking, whereas City’s looked rather defensive. This certainly showed throughout the game.
Everton started the brighter of the two and had the majority of the possession for the opening 20 minutes or so. They were creating chance after a chance and putting the visitors under pressure.
Seamus Coleman was causing Aleksander Kolarov numerous problems down the right. This mostly came from City’s starting formation, the 3-5-2. Everton recognized this was their formation, and so therefore were out to exploit it. Kevin Mirallas had his goal wrongly disallowed for offside, when it was clear to see that Kolarov was playing him onside.
Everton’s pressure continued and were finally given their just rewards for it. Leon Osman put the home side ahead with a 30-yard screamer, following great work yet again down the right from Seamus Coleman.
This all came just as City were finding their way in the game. Victor Anichibe was also proving to be a handful for the City defense with his physical presence and work-horse like attitude to get on the ball. City boss Roberto Mancini would have been disappointed to have not seen the like of Silva, Tevez, and Dzeko not in the game enough to have an impact during the half. This was all down to a great defensive performance from Heitinga and Distin, by not allowing the striker time on the ball to have an impact.
Everton also thought they had a good claim for a penalty when Fellaini was blocked by young Nastasic. But the referee Lee Probert deemed the challenge acceptable, although even Everton fans can admit that Nastasic was just standing his ground. The half drew to a close and Everton lead the champions’ by a goal to nil.
City came out in the second half more attacking, although no changes were made to their system. They began to see more of the ball, and this allowed James Milner to get down the right wing more often.
But Everton stood their ground, and there was still no way through for City. In the 61st minute, a potentially game changing incident occurred. Steven Pienaar was sent off for a second bookable offence after his late lunge on Javi Garcia right in front of the referee. After that, City grew in confidence and stature. They were more involved in the game and creating a lot more chances than in the first half.
Milner, Tevez, and Zabaleta all had great opportunities to put the visitor’s level but were denied by a much inspired Jan Mucha in the Everton goal. Then, Samir Nasri came on as a more attacking option for City, replacing Gareth Barry, whilst Steven Naismith replaced a tired looking Kevin Mirallas for Everton to freshen up the side. While City were creating chances, Everton’s heroics continued and they were being inspired by a deafening Goodison Park. City then also had a penalty claim of their own when the ball clearly hit Fellaini’s hand, but Lee Probert gave a free-kick instead of a clear penalty. City were right to be unhappy about the decision, and were left to rue that missed opportunity, leaving City players and manager alike fuming that the penalty wasn’t given.
In to stoppage time and City were attacking, trying everything they could to find an equalizer Steven Naismith robbed Gael Clichy of the ball, which set up a final attack for Everton. Fellaini received the ball in the middle of the park and made a surging run towards the City goal. The ball was given to Jelavic, who saw his shot loop over Joe Hart into the back of the net via a deflection off Kolo Toure to give Everton all 3 points and another win over Manchester City at home. This defeat left City 12 points behind leaders Manchester United before they had even played, and more-or-less killed off their title challenge for this season.
Written by OneFutbol