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Rags, Riches and My Christmas Wishes

By Santosh Benjamin :  20/12/2010 :  Comments (9) :
The build-up to the game had interesting news from both teams. Tevez, who had handed in a transfer request recently, had apparently withdrawn it before the game. (I actually think it was an accident as he probably thought it was an envelope with more money and a ticket for a Caribbean holiday.)

We had our own news with Moyes looking to make a few loan signings from none other than Man City themselves with Adebayor (no, thanks) and Santa Cruz (hmm, maybe) being mentioned. I myself had two Christmas wishes ? the first, to beat City and get some momentum going... and the second, hoping that there would be some loose cash lying around in the City dressing room which we could take and use to pay the loan signings and Saha?s hairdresser.

The fact that the game beat the big freeze itself must have been a big relief to the people at Sky since so many others had succumbed to it over the weekend. They must have sat down to watch a Man City side give Everton a good old-fashioned thrashing. Our team sheet shocked the life out of me as I saw that Anichebe had gotten the nod ahead of Beckford, Saha and Yakubu. Osman made a return to the side (like a brand new signing) after Pienaar failed to shake off his injury.

City started with Tevez and Balotelli as their strikers and overall looked a very good line-up (except for Jo, who surprisingly seems to be back in favour, on the bench). City looked to go top of the table at least until Christmas and we looked to distance ourselves from the Championship. Martin Tyler and Paul Walsh (detest him) were the commentators on TV.

The game started well and we looked up for it right away. In the fourth minute, Baines put in a cross which was over-hit. Coleman was sensible enough to get the ball back and cross back in to the six-yard box where Cahill met it at the near post and headed in past a helpless Hart. The home fans were stunned as Cahill rushed to the corner flag and punched it to oblivion.

We continued to pass the ball well although City started getting more of the ball. Zaballeta and Cahill then had a clash of heads which saw the Argentine go away for stitches. In the intervening time, Anichebe and Baines played a nice one-two on the left and the ball was crossed for Cahill who cushioned it back into the path of Baines who neatly curled the ball into the bottom left corner of the net with his right foot.

City were wondering if this was some sort of visit from the ghosts of Premier League past as we always seem to win at Eastlands of late. Surprisingly though, after that, we seemed to take our foot of the gas and let City back in. City dominated possession, corners and shots on goal as chances started appearing with regularity.

Silva had a great chance when through on the left but only hit the side netting. Zabaleta and his new head gear were providing a lot of width on the right. We crawled towards half-time with Fellaini getting booked for his troubles by old Peter Walton. At half-time I read the live forum on TW and hoped we could hold on and win.

City started where they left off and made a change with Adam Johnson replacing Milner in midfield. We seemed to be playing very deep and I was worried about the tactics. Vic went into the book for an innocuous bump into Hart which seemed more due to the slippery surface rather than anything else. A little later, he made a challenge on Zabaleta and I watched in horror as the ref gave him his marching orders for his second booking of the night. It's unbelievable how the commentators were equating this to the ref who missed sending Cattermole off in another weekend game since Cattermole is one of the mould of Barton, Roy Keane, etc who look to hurt the opposition.

City piled forward and desperate lunges and accidental handballs saw them off for a while (which Paul Walsh thought were all penalties, by the way). Eventually, City scored when Yaya Toure hit the ball across the goal and Jags accidentally helped it into the net. The crowd (and Paul Walsh, of course!) were up and yelling for the equalizer as we prayed that we could hold on.

Balotelli was played in on goal and chipped over an oncoming Howard but thankfully it hit the upright and although Jags? momentum kept him from clearing the rebound, Howard saved well from Tevez?s low shot.

Corners kept coming and Moyes brought on Saha for Osman and then, soon after that, Hibbert for the injured Jags. Saha actually seemed to hold up the ball at least for a few seconds before the next wave of City players attacked. Howard saved brilliantly from Kolarov and as the seconds ticked away, Jo came on for the injured Balotelli.

Toure made two cynical tackles to be sent off as time wore on as slowly as it possibly could. Four minutes of added time made my heart beat even faster. Moyes stood on the touchline (maybe hoping to tackle Mancini in a rematch of last year!) and cursed every decision that went against us. We got to nearly five minutes before the final whistle blew, making me get up and gesture rudely at the ref and City players on the screen.

The reaction from the players and Moyes was heartwarming as they hugged each other and pumped their fists. Wonderful present for all us Toffees and the hope that we can get out of the mire. Birmingham next and a tough game once again.

Player performances:

  • Howard: Outstanding game with help from his defenders.
  • Neville: A bleeding lower lip didn?t stop him marshalling the lads well. Good game.
  • JagIielka: Pretty good game. Hope the injury isn?t serious.
  • Distin: Immense game
  • Baines: Without Pienaar he did much less on the left but the goal he scored was a peach?and with his right foot too.
  • Coleman, Osman and Rodwell: Decent games
  • Fellaini: Was in danger of getting sent off for a while but broke up play well when he could.
  • Cahill: He just keeps scoring with his head. Will really miss him in Jan.
  • Anichebe: Did ok but not sure why he wants £30k per week. Subs:
  • Saha: Looked scary but held the ball up well when he was on.
  • Bily: Got back and defended a bit at the end which was nice to see.
  • Hibbert: Helped us hold on for the win

    Reader Comments

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    Sega Kana
    1   Posted 21/12/2010 at 08:49:34

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    I thought that Rodwell was ineffective in defense and attack. He seems lost and was supporting Fella or Coleman. Anichebe was running all over the pitch but unfortunately we won't see him for a while. Osman was flat after 20 mins... no contribution at all. Bily on yhe other hand played well. I think the cold winter suites him just right.

    A good 3 points and hopefully this is the begining ofn a 10-match winning streak. COYB!

    Chris Keightley
    2   Posted 21/12/2010 at 09:08:02

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    Sega, What shit. Rodwell was steady throughout and rarely gave away possesion, stick to your day job ? creating computer games!
    Sam Morrison
    3   Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:23:11

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    Agreed on Rodwell, but let's give him a bit of time. He's gone from being rationed the odd 10 mins to the starting line-up.

    I thought Anichebe played well save for his silly second yellow ? which is a fairly big drawback ? and the team defended brilliantly, esp Distin and Howard.

    But as others have pointed out elsewhere, we know we can perform when our backs are to the wall. We need to learn to attack the lesser teams now.

    Trevor Lynes
    4   Posted 21/12/2010 at 12:20:34

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    Unfortunately Jags went off injured and, let's face it... we have an already threadbare squad. The win was epic and I had my heart in my mouth a lot of the time.

    The defence and midfield were heroic with Felli doing a fine stint in midfield in front of them. Vic played well alone up front and was unlucky to get his first yellow card. Unfortunately, we had to play Vic and Ozzie who both struggled to last the 90 minutes so the win was despite all the problems we had with Arteta and Pienaar unavailable.

    As a team we are much better suited to away games as we are not expected to attack as much as we are at home. I just hope Jags is OK and nothing happens to Distin or Baines. Our defenders were immense and all deserve plaudits.

    Tony J Williams
    5   Posted 21/12/2010 at 12:46:06

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    Thought Fellaini was extremely lucky to stay on the pitch, even though Tevez was playacting, as he was not even touched.
    KPR Williams
    6   Posted 21/12/2010 at 14:11:26

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    That studs-showing stamping-in thing Fellaini is prone to doing will get him in all kinds of trouble. That said, Tevez is still a twat... hate that ? stay down and roll around until the card comes out then rise, Lazarus style, as if the card has healing property ? shite.
    Jamie Sweet
    7   Posted 21/12/2010 at 22:09:22

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    "Surprisingly though, after that, we seemed to take our foot of the gas and let City back in".

    Nothing surprising about it at all Santosh, that's always the way it will be under Moyes.

    He believes that the best form of defence is eleven men behind the ball (even at corners). I strongly question this strategy. Keep your shape and keep playing balanced attacking football I say. We hung on yesterday, but teams like City more often than not will find a hole in the bus you park especially when you try and park it too early.
    Christopher McCullough
    8   Posted 21/12/2010 at 22:30:31

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    For all his achievements I believe Jose Mourinho's most lasting impact on the world of football will be his very own entrance into its terminology. Not bad for a man whose third language is English.

    You can have your Champions' League, Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A but phrases such as "beautiful game", "School of Science", "game of two-halfs" etc are also impressive.
    Daniel Jesson
    9   Posted 22/12/2010 at 06:59:01

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    I'm sure this may come as a shock to some but as most of us Evertonians know, we have somewhat of a striker crisis on our hands and when TC goes on international duty; I think we could be in real big trouble.

    Anyway I just wanted to throw a name into the old pot for a possible transfer option that I think would be quite a coup..... Robbie Fowler?

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