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 FA Premiership (15); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Sunday 7 December 2003; 2:00pm
 
 
 
Attendance: 37,871
Halftime: 0-0

Facts
Reports



Referee: Jeff Winter
 

Blues still lack the cutting edge

Everton bare all the marks of a team still struggling to find its way, illustrated succinctly by an enterprising but ultimately fruitless display against Manchester City, another side struggling to find the back of the net in recent weeks. The two sides played out an entertaining goalless draw at Goodison Park that does just enough to lift the Blues out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but will do little to assuage the fear that comes from watching comparatively easy points from this soft part of the fixture list slipping away ahead of a trickier Christmas period.

David Moyes at least showed dome adventure in his starting line-up... but proceeded to ruin it all with some bizarre decisions at half time that removed at a stroke Everton's impetus, something they didn't manage to reacquire until the closing stages. Wayne Rooney started in the "hole" behind Tomasz Radzinski and Francis Jeffers, while David Unsworth put in another fine performance at centre back alongside Alan Stubbs in place of Joseph Yobo.

As you would expect from two attack-minded managers, the game started in an open fashion, Radzinski unable to bring down a half chance in the City area in the first minute and Robbie Fowler sending a half-volley high and wide a couple of minutes after that.

The first real excitement, however, didn't arrive until the 15th minute when Gary Naysmith's unorthodox free kick fizzed through the crowd and past the far post when only the merest touch goalwards would probably have broken the deadlock.

A minute later, an unmarked Rooney met a Tony Hibbert cross but betrayed once again his weakness in the air with a soft glancing header before dispatching a floated effort from distance that drifted harmlessly wide. But he was at least engineering chances which was a far cry from a week ago at Bolton when he hardly saw the ball at all.

In between, Gravesen put Jeffers in the clear down the right channel and although he initially stumbled over the ball he recovered the ball close to the byline but chose to shoot from an impossible angle and found the side-netting instead of a team-mate's head.

At this point, City were beginning to find their feet and once they realised how easily they could saunter through Everton's midfield, they began pouring forward on the counter-attack. On the half hour, they came as close to scoring as they were to do all afternoon when Richard Dunne unleashed a great shot from the edge of the area that cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches.

Trevor Sinclair then sent a diving header past the far post when he might have done better and Fowler screwed a wonderful chance across the goal with just Nigel Martyn to beat as Everton lived dangerously.

And as the first half entered its final minute, the officials played their own decisive hands in the afternoon's proceedings by first incorrectly ruling a free-and-clear Lee Carlsley offside from Li Tie's delicious chip over the defence and then completely missing a blatant shove by Alan Stubbs on Niclas Anelka as he rose for a header to capitalise on chaos in the home defence.

Moyes might have felt that City's flurry of activity in his side's penalty area in the second half of the first period was indication that his midfield was a man short. Either that or he felt Rooney was jaded from his exertions in the cup at Middlesbrough in the week. Either way, he removed the 18 year-old along with Tony Hibbert from the proceedings at the interval and sent James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane in instead. Gary Naysmith moved to right back — a highly questionable move given the fact that he is all left foot — Kilbane played left back, and McFadden was told to patrol the left wing.

It should have worked out well almost immediately. McFadden and Jeffers combined on the left and the latter won a free kick that Gravesen sent to the back post and although it eluded everybody it sat up nicely for Carsley at the far post but he side-footed a foot over the bar from 6 yards out when it was surely easier to score. At the other end, Fowler swept a half volley inches over from a Joey Barton cross that again had Martyn stretching.

Just past the hour mark, after a lull in the match had produced few opportunities, Gravesen floated another teasing free kick to the back post, Carsley headed back and Kilbane shot in front of goal only to see his effort deflected up and over the bar by an out-stretched leg.

Kevin Campbell then made his first appearance since returning from injury and his introduction really seemed to give Everton a shot in the arm. For one, his ability to win balls in the air against a tame City rearguard was an immediate improvement, especially when he provided a knockdown for Radzinski on one of his first touches that the Canadian couldn't get to ahead of substitute goalkeeper Elegaard. [In actual fact, had he had less regard for the Dane's gloves, he might have gone in more forcefully for what was a loose ball.]

However, while Campbell was winning plenty in the area and providing some good link play between midfield and attack, the Blues didn't manage to elevate themselves to a higher gear until the last few minutes when the prospect of three precious points really was slipping away quickly.

And with six minutes left, the opportunity they had been waiting for all afternoon arrived. Campbell set Radzinski away down the right with a perfectly weighted pass and the forward found Gravesen bearing down the penalty area in acres of space. The Dane had time to look up and pick his spot but side-footed his effort past the 'keeper and off the post instead of finding the far corner and the best chance of the game evaporated.

There was time, however, for one more gilt-edged opportunity when McFadden found Gravesen's favourite spot at the back post with a free kick that found Unsworth but there wasn't enough pace on the ball and his lacklustre header was plucked off the line by Elegaard.

Compared to the travesty at Bolton last week, this was a marked improvement and the toll from playing extra time at The Riverside on Wednesday may have been factor because Moyes's side always seemed a yard or two from a defence-splitting ball in the first half and seemed to run out of steam a little during the second.

They will also rue some golden chances that were missed, most notably by the midfield look-alikes of Carsley and Gravesen. Importantly, however, they didn't lose and the spirit was there, but that will be of little consolation unless they start winning matches before they play five games against top ten opposition starting with Manchester United on Boxing Day.

It hasn't escaped the fans' notice that this relatively easy run of games has only produced four points from nine and they let it be known at the final whistle with some subdued boos that they expected more against Kevin Keegan's off-key City.

Lyndon Lloyd

 


Rooney: Finally starts in the hole.... and plays himself into a hole.

Everton v Man City:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 35
 Man City 15
 Draws 20
 Premiership  
 Everton 3
 Man City 1
 Draws 2
 Last Season:

Everton 2-2 Man City


Premiership Scores
Saturday 6 Dec
Leeds 1-1 Chelsea
Middlesbro 0-0 Portsmouth
Leicester 1-1 Arsenal
Man Utd 4-0 Aston Villa
Tottenham 5-2 Wolves
Birmingham 0-4 Blackburn
Fulham 2-1 Bolton
Newcastle 1-1 Liverpool
Sunday 7 Dec
Everton 0-0 Man City
Southmptn 3-2 Charlton


Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
 Manchester City   (4-4-2)
Black  shirts, black shorts, white socks
  Martyn
Hibbert (46' Kilbane)
Stubbs {c}
Unsworth
Naysmith
Gravesen
Li Tie
Carsley
Rooney (46' McFadden)
Radzinski
Jeffers (64' Campbell)

Subs not used:
Simonsen, Linderoth

Yellow Cards: Naysmith (61')

Red Cards:


Unavailable:

(Injured:) Pistone, Wright, Yobo
(Recovering:) Ferguson, Watson
(On Loan:) Chadwick
Seaman (53' Ellegaard)
Distin {c}
Sommeil
Dunne
Sun Jihai
McManaman
Barton
Sinclair
Wright-Phillips (77' Wanchope)
Anelka
Fowler

Subs not used: Reyna
Sibierski, Berkovic

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:
 
Match Reports

2003-04 Match Reports Index


Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
None Filed Match Report
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
4 the Game Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 36
2 Arsenal 35
3 Man Utd 34
4 Fulham 25
5 Charlton 22
6 Liverpool 22
7 Newcastle 21
8 Birmingham 20
9 Southampton 20
10 Man City 19
11 Middlesbrough 19
12 Bolton 18
13 Tottenham 18
14 Leicester 16
15 Portsmouth 16
16 Blackburn 17
17 Aston Villa 14
18 Everton 14
19 Leeds 12
20 Wolves 11

After 7 Dec 2003



Match Preview

If any team is on a worse run that us at the moment then it must be Man City four consecutive defeats to English teams has seem them drop from a healthy 4th to a nervous midtable position.

Anelka has decided to sulk and Keegan is showing signs of strain.  I guess our main worry is that they have a little player named Robbie Fowler remember him?

For us, Yobo should have recovered from his midweek injury and it will be interesting if he goes back into the team or not.

Jeffers looked lively but didn't score and again it will be interesting if he starts or if Radzinski gets back into the starting line-up.

Concerns must be in attendance as our last two months have been dreadful and our record against Man City is also poor.  2-2 last time was gained by a late equalizer from Radzinski.

This will be close with two teams low on confidence.  An early goal would do us the world of good, particularly if scored by Rooney!

1-0 to the Toffees but it could be a nail biter!

Blue4Ever

Matchday Stats

Sunday's meeting will be the 13th in the Premier League and the 153rd in all competitions between the two teams and the 78th at Goodison Park.  The overall record in each competition against Manchester City is:

                        P  W  D  L   F  A 
    Premier League     12  5  2  5  18  22 
    Old Division One  128 44 35 49 178 181 
    FA Cup             10  4  3  3  12   8 
    League Cup          2  1  0  1   3   2 
             TOTALS:  152 51 40 58 211 213 

The record at Goodison Park is:

                        P  W  D  L   F   A 
    Premier League      6  3  2  1  10   7 
    Old Division One   64 32 18 14 118  71 
    FA Cup              6  4  2  0  10   2 
    League Cup          1  1  0  0   2   0 
              TOTALS:  77 40 22 15 140  80 

Everton have not lost to Manchester City in the last five meetings at Goodison, with the last meeting being a 2-2 draw at home on New Years' Day.  In fact, Everton's only home defeat in the Premier League was a 3-1 reversal in the first Premier League meeting between the teams in 1992.

Everton's biggest win was a 9-1 victory on 3 September 1906 in the old Division One at Goodison Park.  Our biggest defeat was 5-0 at Maine Road on 9 December 2000 in the Premier League, with our heaviest defeat at Goodison Park being a 6-2 defeat on 15 September 1928 in the old Division One.

The most number of goals scored in the series was 10 in the 9-1 victory above.

Everton and Manchester City have already met on this date [7 December] being another 6-2 defeat at Maine Road.  Everton's full record on this date is:

                     P  W  D  L   F  A 
            Home     7  4  1  2  19  11 
            Away    11  4  2  5  19  22 
            TOTAL   18  8  3  7  38  33

The last match Everton played on this date was a 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea in a Premier League match in 2002.  The last Everton victory on this date was a 2-1 home win against Liverpool in 1992.

The following milestone's can be reached in this game:

  • If Kevin Campbell scores, it will be his 50th goal for the club in all competitions.  So far, Kevin has got 43 league goals for Everton plus three in both the FA Cup and the League Cup.
     
  • Both Francis Jeffers and Allesandro Pistone need one more start to reach 50 starts for the club.  Jeffers has started 38 times in the League, 7 in the FA Cup and 4 times in the League Cup.  Pistone has started 44 matches in the League, 1 in the FA Cup plus 4 League Cup starts.
     
  • If David Weir starts the match it will be his 150th league start for Everton.

Stats from Steve Flanagan

 



 



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