Forced to make changes, with Pienaar and Heitinga injured, David Moyes picked Coleman and Osman (his 200th Everton game) on the flanks and the big surprise ? Victor Anichebe starting as the lone striker up-front. Saha thankfully did not start but was one of four strikers on the bench, with Yakubu, Beckford and Vaughan. For City, no sign of Lescott, Adebyor, or Santa Cruz... Jô on the bench.
If the first few minutes were anything to go by, this game would see Everton chasing shadows with City having almost all the possession. But when they did get possession, an attack down the right, then the left and great cross from Baines was headed on by Anichebe and picked up by Coleman on the byline, who chipped back a training pitch ball for Cahill to nod sweetly just inside the post with less than 4 mins gone.
On 10 mins, Silva was set up all in the clear on the Everton right by Yaya Toure and looked to belt it home but he missed the target completely. City started to press and won their first corner that Howard held comfortably. Cahill needed breif treatment for a head knock, Zabaleta coming off worse and going down the tunnel for a full head bandage job to cover four stiches.
Everton got their second goal in the 19th minute, and a thing of beauty it was. After a lngthy passing movement that started in the Everton penalty area, Anichebe got his first real involvement, interchanging down the left with Baines, then crossing intelligently low to Cahill's feet, while Baines ran in to pick up the gently played return ball that the left back then curled sweetly around Hart and inside the far post with his wrong foot. Lovely!!! Just the sweetest of movement, interpassing, set-up and finish ? a really classic goal of the highest quality.
Kompany was yellow-carded for a poor block on Rodwell as he successfully prevented some good forward movement down the right. Everton were hoping to sit on the lead and settled into a good pattern of relatively calm control at the back but City had other ideaas, forcing mistakes that led to two wrongly called corners and a couple of serious half-chances.
Osman got himself on a laboured breakaway and looked to create a scoring chance on his own but was so weak in the end, it was pathetic, his half-shot clipping off the covering defender's ankle and lamely into Hart's hands. But it was becoming a rarity as Everton's possession led far too often to aimless hoofball clearances
A mad sequence of blocked shots and goalmouth panic on the half-hour was the direct result of such defensive caution, as shot after City shot was blocked away. Anichebe got away down the left and Milner had to foul him.
Fellaini, incredibly yellow-carded for a midfield challenge on Tevez that won the ball but his foot movement looked like too much like a stamp. Cahill then was dispossesd and fouled as he tackled back. A Kolarov free-kick was going to hit the post but Howard fingertipped it wide and from the corner Anichebe was the furthest forward ? in the Everton D! ? his clearance to no-one providing for another attack from City and more blocked shots and misses. Everton very much under the cosh... but so far holding out.
When Everton did break out and give themselves some respite, the annoyance and frustration among the City players was palpable as they struggled to deny Everton the run of the ball up to half-time. Coleman looked to break again but his pass to Rodwell was poor. Jagielka had to be alert when Yaya Toure looked to capitalise.
Mancini bought on Adam Johnson in place of James Milner for the restart. Fellaini again won a challenge with Balotelli, who went down like a wimp. Kolarov picked up and wellied an early clearnace that needed a very good save from Howard as City ramped up their attack. When Everton did go forward, too often it ended abruptly with mindless balls, one lofted by Cahill from the wing to the centre-circle.
Sitting back, standing off, defending deep... another Kolarov shot fizzing just wide. Osman was the next to bash Zabaletta as the tempo of the game was successfully being strangled by the cold calm Everton defence, epitomized by a great piece of defensive work by Distin. Anichebe chased a lost ball and crashed into Hart for an unavoidable yellow card. Everton's failing in possession, though remainded all too evident, with Rodwell trying to sell a dummy that was far too easily picked off.... and another spell of intense pressure / defending practice ensued.
Osman got called for a silly high foot on Ballatelli; from the kick, Kolarov drove pooly into the Everton wall and just as Anichebe was about to be subbed by Saha, he divided in again on Balottili ? second yellow card, and red. Ridiculous. Everton down to 10 men for the last 30 mins. Okay... 4-4-1-0... backs to the wall!
City continued to press but much the same pattern as against 11 men with lots of blocks and long-distance prods. Distin was solid as a rock. City screams for handball against Jagielka when the ball clipped off his hip... And more rabid screams again when Silva smashed he ball into Neville's arm from 5 yards. Barry then came closest, skimming the top of the bar.
With 20 mins left, Balotelli looked to have got behind the Everton defence but slipped and missed. Then, all the blocking went wrong when Yaya Toure fired across goal and the ball clipped off Jagielka's shin and into the net for an own goal. A few more attacks and shots as Moyes lectured Bilyaletdinov before switching him in for Osman.
Johnson fired just over after Moyes bought Saha on for Coleman... a strange one, that. City looked to have equalized when a long ball by Toure released Balotelli who beat Howard but not the post and then fought with Howard who stopped a certain goal in the follow-up shot from Tevez going in.
Everton's third substitution was a surprise, Jagielka going off for Hibbert, presumably due to injury, with 10 desperate minutes of more bus-parking. Balotelli finally went off, and Everton played some rare football in City's half, as Jô came on. But it didn't last long as City came back, Hibbert blocking and Kolarov trying a scoring shot from an impossible angle.
A better move from City looked to have beaten the Everton defence but Hibbert got his hip in the way of a clip from Tevez that was goalbound. Que more rabid poenalty screams from the poor Mancs. A feirce long-range shot from Yaya Toure was incredibly touched around the post by Howard's fingertips. Another corner, Howard needing to produce a solid stop from Silva.
Jô looked threatening but he was offside as the clock finally ticked to 90 mins, with Rodwell and Neville taking it down into the corner and Barry losing his rag over a throw-in call. Three throw-ins later and Neville finally gave it away with the board showing 4 mins of added time.
Another City attack, a clssic Tevez move inside, a blistering shot... and an absolutely fabulous save by Howard to keep the lead into the 93rd minute. Excellent work by Disiin, bringing he ball out of defence, cut down by Yaya Toure, yellow card. More fun and games in the last minute, Bily off on a run, Toure took him out: second yellow and red.
Final whistle, fabulous result. Well played, Blues.
Michael Kenrick Posted 20/12/2010 at
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1 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:02:25
2 Posted 20/12/2010 at 21:59:07
Two great goals and a well deserved smash and grab - about time we had a bit of luck to be honest - almost a reversal of the Villa away game that we dominated.
Cahill, Howard, Distin - all massive for us tonight. Well played Everton and well played DM for his subs - the right men at the right time for us to keep the ball and relieve the pressure. Looking forward to the Boxing Day game now - got to be more clinical versus the lesser teams.
Happy Christmas blues!
3 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:08:13
At the risk of being churlish, I'd have felt a tad more secure if our 3 substitutions hadn't been Bily, Saha and Hibbert. Moyes made things unnecessarily difficult for us there, and Saha was his characteristically rubbish self.
We should have bagged another couple at least there in the second half, and Jack looks lost at the mo, but we were good tonight. Victor played better than Saha has in ages, and the lights that Baines switches on aren't just in Formby.
What is it about us that makes City shit themselves? They were crap, and totally without composure.
4 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:13:30
5 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:12:28
Isn't it a pity that Moyes cannot get so angry with Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal like he does with City.
Take a bow lads and Davey tonight. Loved the after match reaction of the players and Moyes.
6 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:16:33
7 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:17:03
give it a break will ya's lads and can we savour the away win against the most expensively assembled shower of cunts I ever saw in my life... The ref was prob on about £100k tonight too... twat.
8 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:20:08
And Distin, he has been so good and today he was world class. Fast, strong, good on the ball. I really can't speak highly enough of him.
Sleep well blues, we have deserved this for a long while now. Moyes worries me still but good to see his passion at the end. COYB
9 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:23:02
10 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:16:36
A shout out to both Saha and Bily who did really well when they arrived.
Howard - 9 Neville - 7 Baines - 7 Jagielka - 8 Distin - 10 Fella - 7 Osman - 6 Rodwell - 6 Cahill - 7 Coleman - 6 Anichebe - 6
11 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:04:36
I still don't like the way we invite pressure on ourselves when leading. I thought a repeat of the Sunderland game was on when we scored so early. But we got the vital (and sublime) second... and I'm a bit more comfortable sitting back when 2 up, by I still don't think it's the best policy and could have come back to haunt us at the end.
Let's not take anything away from this gritty performance though. A great early Christmas present!
And lets finally put to bed any thoughts that Distin shouldn't be playing. He has probably been our most consistent performer for the last few months and was a colossus again tonight. Good to see Tim Howard having one of his best games in a long time.
We desperately needed this result. Merry Christmas to all my fellow blues! My brussel sprouts will taste that little bit better after ths result!
12 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:18:31
13 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:26:46
14 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:29:18
15 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:30:08
16 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:31:45
17 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:29:49
18 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:35:36
19 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:34:28
For me, yes Felli was immense but Big Sylvain was truly outstanding.
20 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:36:56
21 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:38:38
22 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:31:01
Err, did i miss something then? Four shots all game and i think they all came in the first half. The whole of the second half was pure backs to the wall with the blues soaking up pressure from the off.
Have to say I was a bit worried when I saw Bilyaletdinov entering the fray but he seemed to put in a half-decent shift for once.
23 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:36:53
24 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:40:43
25 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:39:09
At the end of the day though, great win, and 3 pts, let's hope we can kick on now.
26 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:44:34
Distin was fab, Howard fab, We are gonna miss Cahill though, and I'm not encouraged at the thought of Osman as an attacking midfielder. Win against Brum must happen now!?
27 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:45:35
It was great to see the comraderie and interactiion between manager, players and fans at the end.
Bily looked a bit lost, the same way he looked when he signed, at the photo session with Distin and Heitinga... just unable to join in, awkward and nervous.
I believe these are obstacles to a fine player.
28 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:45:18
I actually thought that myself at the time but, in fairness to Moyes, the changes actually helped relieve some of the relentless pressure the team were under. Coleman had long since gone missing and Osman looked dead on his feet. Jagielka must have picked up a knock.
29 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:50:42
Distin, why aren't you 6 years younger!!! Quality.
Everyone else worked their socks off for that win, Neville was awful, and Coleman was right to bollock him, when he got his positioning wrong for about the 5th time.
30 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:49:22
31 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:42:21
Big Vic was a bit clumsy in getting sent off but I still dip the hat to him for having a crack. He may be lacking in some departments but he ran his socks off at times. If you can?t score I was at least happy to see him sprinting across to put pressure on City?s backs ? Saha just jogged.
32 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:53:09
Howard, Cahill and Distin all men of the match for me and the subs particularly Bily and Saha did what they had to do, holding the ball up and winning fouls to hold up play.
Now... let's go beat the brummies ey?
33 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:50:30
34 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:57:31
35 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:54:31
Am I the only one who thinks the ball hit Hibbert's side and not his arm? Watch it again and think its going to hit his side, rather than listening to what Alan Fucking Smith is saying.
Tonight showed what some of us are beginning to articulate more and more, that we're not shite, we don't need to sell 8 players and bring 8 different ones in, Moyes isn't clueless and things aren't as bad as some people seem to think.
We are actually a good away side (and finally a little lucky tonight) and Moyes is a good 'away manager'. The poor league position is due to the fact that we haven't successfully adapted the way we play at home against teams that we should expect to beat. The big problem is that Moyes doesn't currently seem to make much of a distinction between playing at home and playing away, and hasn't tried enough new things or different tactics to break sides down at home. That's the big step he needs to take to change our season, so I was worried by his use of the word 'hope' in the post match interview. Don't 'hope' boss, make it happen.
36 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:58:23
Tim Cahill and Distin MOM for me and Tim Howards best game this season.
37 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:52:37
Distin imense as was Howard. Thought Neville had a blinder also, he closed everything and never stopped organising and talking.
Melted neck is a diving little petulant bastard and I hate him.
38 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:05:37
?Two-nil and we?ve spent fuck all,? chorused the jubilant Everton hordes.
39 Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:37:57
I actually thought that Howard was going to get Man of the Match. Timmy got it but I would've been as pleased for Distin to get it. He was a collossus in defence.
Like Andrew (#9) said, If the move for Baines's goal had been scored by Arsenal or Barcelona, it would have been lorded by the meeja for weeks.
KPR was right, that ref was a real Homer and had the subtlety of the Simpsons. I thought that when the forth official held up the added minutes, instead of a time, it would say "until City score"
Great stuff Blues, can we keep it going? Time will tell.
Saha did ok when he came on and so did Bily but I'd have loved to have seen Beckford or Vaughan instead.
40 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:09:20
Saha, on the other hand, is shit; it'd take a hat-trick into the Kop to convince me otherwise. Again, call me churlish, but Beckford being thrown on instead of Saha would have given City a hell of a lot more to think about.
But we deserved the breaks tonight. At no point in the last week have I fantasised about us picking up more than a point, so credit's where it's due.
I still think Moyes needs to go though. One swallow, etc....
41 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:15:42
The Hibbert one I can only assume was an injury to Jagielka, but I haven't heard anything about it.
42 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:18:20
Thought Moyes left the subs a little too late; however, their introduction definitely steadied the ship. Pienaar was a huge miss though, let's hope his contract wrangle can be resolved.
Finally, a word for Tim Howard; he put in a real performance tonight, he's often criticised and justly so... however, he deserves all the plaudits tonight.
43 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:23:34
44 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:40:06
Michael, your headline should have read Snoods 1 Men 2. The overpaid prima donnas of City rolling around, moaning, complaining, attempting to get players booked was nothing short of embarrassing; I?d stop going if we ever descended to performances like that.
Now for B?ham; no pushover but we?re more than capable of delivering another much needed three points.
45 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:34:12
Great thread - it's nights like tonight that make you realise that yes when push comes to shove, we have one of the best team spirits in the EPL.
I know the 4-5-1 problem has been debated to death but your right, please DM use this springboard to go out and play attacking football at Goodison with more than one out-and-out striker.
Here is your chance to prove the doubters wrong (I want you out, btw) and stuff teams like Brum at home showing this same team spirit.
46 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:34:08
Fellaini fought in the middle, Howard pulled off some great saves in a season where he's not shown his best, Distin scared the shit out of me at times but always came through, Baines scored a cracking goal and Saha finally showed some strength and skill to hold the ball up!
Loved the way the players celebrated as a team after the goals and the final whistle! Fianally get the feeling that they need to fight for a decent league position!
47 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:43:52
Well done lads, the scenes at the end said a lot.
Time to crack on now and build on this! COYB!
48 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:49:09
The problem isn't against the top 4, 5 or 6.
We'll still be up there come May.
49 Posted 20/12/2010 at 23:38:06
I pointed out that no-one will stamp all over Jack and less so Fella.
Also said that if the right team is picked we can play 4-6-0 and win.
Victor, playing part left-back was super in fairness, and the subs were super. Sick note ran and won every header. Bily was fully acclimatised ? god, it was cold, but he showed more than in any game I have seen him. Tim Howard was superb ? especially at time wasting, almost Sothall-esque. Leon gave everything... my worry man Phil Jagielka was immense as was Distin, his run in the last minute too funny.
But I said to my neighbour that Citteh will run into the Fella and Jack and they are the best midfield in the League/Europe/World and tonight against probably the highest paid they were awesome.
Mr Moyes got it right tonight with the team selection, tactics and substitutions, and anyone who cannot see and respect that are deluded or churlish .
Read the comments above re the song, comments on here 4 5 9 18 19 and 27, particularly about the reaction of the players and interaction with the manager and fans at the end. True reflections of a great but again bitterly cold night.
City can have all the money in the world but you simply cannot buy our "Team effort" tonight ? nor the efforts of the fans and without pre-empting Ken's report, I am sure that's how it will be recorded.
Finally, if you get the chance, read the report of the distinguished Henry Winter in the Telegraph. "Handball" and "Two nil up...."
Where is MotD2 when you need it?
50 Posted 21/12/2010 at 00:09:19
And as for Henry Winter being distinguished, laughable! He talks rubbish, as do most Newspaper columnists
51 Posted 21/12/2010 at 00:44:40
A totally different performance today. Even Osman played well, at least in the first half. Anichebe looked decent but then screwed it all up with the red card.
Question is... can we repeat against Brum? Let's hope so.
Merry Xmas from Canada everyone.
52 Posted 21/12/2010 at 00:53:22
We're a much better side when Osman plays.
*Runs for cover!*
Seriously though, despite his deficiencies, he's a good and important player for us.
53 Posted 21/12/2010 at 04:42:08
It cannot be a coincidence that the first time we win is the time when he is fit to play.
Welcome back, Leon ? we have missed you.
54 Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:30:29
55 Posted 21/12/2010 at 13:05:52
Some great performances in that match. Howard and Distin stood out, as did Baines in the first half. Cahill always gets plaudits for goals but I thought he was a notch above everyone all night. Watching him organising the team, encouraging everyone, playing everywhere on the park, and being the one guy who was prepared to get the ball down and hold onto it when we were pegged back makes me think we have someone who is a lot more than just a scorer of important goals.
Spiritual leader and all that shite...
56 Posted 21/12/2010 at 22:39:49
Moyes turns his players into demons with hearts of lions when we play City, i'd love to see it in every game (as Brian Waring stated).
Against City there was a spirit and desire there that i'd love to see in every game, it's the David Moyes mantra that he showed when he first came to us, all full of fire and desire. I loved him for it. I think that's gone now.
If we'd shown this spirit against Liverpool alone in every game we would have beat them more than 4 times in the 20 games we've played them under Moyes. I'm using Liverpool as an example, because they are our hated rivals.
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