Everton 2 - 3 Manchester City
3 May 2014 was a strange day in the history of Everton Football Club. With a Champions League place to play for and only two games to go, about a quarter of the fanbase wanted us to lose all because, if Manchester City won, Liverpool may not win the title. This game decides nothing as Man City and Liverpool play two more yet... and football results are never straight forward, so who knows? It is still possible for the neighbours from hell.
The atmosphere was flat for large portions of the game due I believe to the fact we had already secured 5th place without kicking a ball prior to our kick-off time... and many thought that is where we will finish so not so much on this game when really there may have been. I have to nail my colours to the mast and say that I have witnessed Liverpool win Leagues, cups and European Cups, as well as piping us to league titles and cup finals. I have taken the taunts and nasty patronisation and I long for the day when we can again lord it over them... but never would I want my team to lose a game so that a team other than Liverpool can win the league. Hell, I want us to win leagues and cups and we won’t do that with a mind-set that worries more about them not winning than us winning!!!
The walk to the ground was in the company of fans in great numbers and in seemingly relaxed mood; no singing or chanting today and, even though the game was a sell-out, the queues at the ‘Fat Van’, ‘Blue Dragon’ and ‘The Chippy’ were small. On entering the ground, all fans were presented with a glossy magazine entitled ‘Your Everton’ with Kevin Mirallas on the cover; it depicts the season mainly in pictures. Quite impressive, I thought.
Z-Cars and a fine Goodison Roar to welcome the teams. City won the toss and elected to play toward the Park End and their own fans which led me to wonder if they were going for it early and putting the game to bed before the break. If that was the case, it didn’t work too well as, within 10 minutes, we were one up. We had started the game in "keep-ball, build up slow" mode and from such a move, which saw Baines and Naismith link up to feed Barkley some 25 yards out, in the blink of an eye he hit a looping shot with laser like accuracy over keeper Hart and into the top corner for a goal that had my mind wandering back to 2002 and that Rooney strike v Arsenal. It was replayed on the big screens about four times and seemed to get better each time.
Barkley was right up for this game and his next moment of note was when he surged and went passed City players posing as statues and into the area only to be unceremoniously dumped to the deck by Kompany which drew a mighty yell of ‘Penalty’ from players and fans alike but, in keeping with present day refereeing, fouls rarely take place in the box and this was reinforced a few minutes later when he was dumped again but this time some 15 yards shy of the penalty area and the ref had no hesitation in giving a foul. For those interested, our referee today was Lee Probert.
City were stung into action and put us under some pressure and I thought: "If we can see the next 10 minutes through, we can start to play again." Well, we got through the 10 okay... but just one minute later some slack defending allowed Aguero to get in at goal, but at a tight angle, yet he managed to smash it past Howard on his near post. They don’t show replays of opposition goals on the big screen but, from my seat, I thought Howard should have at least blocked the hole between him and the post; he didn’t... so 1-1 and then the scorer went down, limped off after treatment, and that was his job done for the day; Fernandinho took his place.
City now took the game more to us but we were coping well as the clock ticked to the break and I thought "If we can go in at 1-1, then the manager may consider his options..." as both Lukaku and Alcaraz were at best substandard; however, that went up in smoke as, just a minute to half-time, the hard-working Milner jinked down to the by line and crossed for Dzeko to head home. Not a bullet header by any means but Howard seemed to react late and the ball nestled. What a downer as the half-time whistle blew.
During the break we had the Under-9s Academy team presented and they were duly soaked by the jets of water from the sprinklers. At the Street End a ‘Hit the bar’ contest took place with the prize being a season ticket for next term and two of the lads did it to generous applause.
Second half started with a bang when the excellent Barkley surged again leaving defenders in his wake and his precise pass to the ever willing Naismith, who’s shot for the far corner was expertly fingertipped away by England’s Number One. That was close and brought the crowd to their feet; before they could sit down, a quick City break got at our back three and Nasri crossed for Dzeko unattended to hit home. The scoreboard said 1-3 but I consoled myself with the thought that we had all the half to mount a rescue mission. The City fans thought it was game over and entertained us with risqué songs regarding Gerrard’s slip and Ba’s goal.
The half wore on with us having the edge in possession but City looking dangerous going forward. Lukaku was looking pitiful up front and some were calling for change but none was forthcoming. Our build up was a little ponderous which in turn limited our effectiveness in the box until Baines abandoned the tippy tappy build up and headed for the by-line, crossed and the diving Lukaku connected and sent the ball to net via post. The roar was heard and the boisterous City fans were quieted as a draw was not what they wanted.We wanted a win so Jags was withdrawn and replaced with Deulofeu. We were going for it and City were rocked a little but they did attack when they could and, in one move that got into our box, caused mayhem as shots were blocked but we survived.
Barkley came away with the ball and Dzeko seemed to fall as Barkley eluded him and lay motionless on the pitch; the Ref signalled 'play on' and told Dzeko to get up. He remained lifeless so Everton kicked the ball out. The ref seemed to be imploring Dzeko to get up; he wouldn’t so, after a standoff, the ref signalled the City medics to enter the field followed by two stretcher bearers. Eventually he got up, walked off clutching his shoulder, then straight back on and was running about unimpeded. The Ref did show him yellow but really for that performance it should have been red. The lengthy shenanigans did however allow Roberto to have a team meeting amid much waving of arms. Also Osman was swopped with McGeady. The Dzeko theatrics had the desired effect and the game was sluggish and disrupted for a short while but he was vociferously booed each time he went near the ball.
As the clock ticked City were edgy as Everton strived to at least salvage a point and none more so than Barkley who was having the best game I have seen him have this season. He again ran with pace and power at the City rearguard and fed Deulofeu who with his one piece of magic in his cameo he jinked passed defenders in the box and shot from a tight angle but England’s Number One showed USA’s Number One how to do it and covered the near post and deflected the ball behind; so near yet so far.
Six minutes added time went up on the board and we redoubled our efforts but City were very adept at the "waste time, run the clock down" ploys and, even with one more minute added for time wasting, we never looked like getting the leveller. Final whistle and for me at least, sheer disappointment. We did manage a rousing Allez-Allez Oooh as well as a thunderous If yer know yer 'istory.
We were then invited to remain and the players would return to the arena to salute and thank the fans for their season-long support. They duly appeared with many bringing their children to parade with them. Roberto had the biggest cheer as he waved to the crowd whilst holding his new baby. His circuit of the ground was well received and he had the added bonus of his baby being fast asleep as he finished his circuit.
Overall, I enjoyed the game and the fact that we matched a very expensively assembled team as well as gaining the respect of the City management as witnessed by their team selection and wild joy when they made it 3-1. Although we see City having a large squad that can do battle on multi-fronts, it was interesting to note on checking both our and their squads on the back of the proey we have 32 listed players and they have only 25... so it seems we have a much bigger squad than them. Mind you, on closer examination, all theirs are high quality top-of-the-range players whilst many of ours have yet to play first team football.
Hull City next for the final game of this term and, whilst our place in the Europa League is assured without a qualifying match through our 5th place finish, and we can neither move up nor down the league, it would be nice to increase our points tally to 72 for the season... so I will see you there to roar them on to a Premier League record.
I hope they have more practice at playing three at the back as today it looked more ‘belt and braces’ than an ‘oiled machine’ with the participants looking more bemused than amused. UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (44)
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2 Posted 04/05/2014 at 02:57:20
Despite that, I thought we did fairly well although the defense was all at sea with the City goals.
I am a bit nervous about the summer transfers. I hope we hold onto Barkley, Stones and McCarthy. I hope we bring in some new blood to improve the quality and quantity but I am on the fence about keeping the loaners. However, I am optimistic based on Bob's first season in charge.
3 Posted 04/05/2014 at 03:08:11
Yes Kieran and you never will.
5 Posted 04/05/2014 at 04:37:46
"I defy any Everton fans, regardless of your desire to deny Liverpool a title, to not stand up and cheer at the top of your lungs at that moment of absolute magic from Ross Barkley."
Summarized it pretty well, I think!
6 Posted 04/05/2014 at 06:15:18
I awoke at 5am and looked at my phone. Any lingering doubts over my possible desire to see Everton lose this one were dispelled in a second. I was really disappointed to see we hadn't added to our points tally, although I had joked last week with some Man City friends over here that I would accept an "entertaining 2-3 defeat."
Be careful what you wish for, Andy
7 Posted 04/05/2014 at 06:23:31
8 Posted 04/05/2014 at 06:11:30
Barkley was on fire for most of the game and his goal was a contender for goal of the season.
All in all a good result for those fans who wanted to be beaten. For the fans who with more dignity the performance was not too shabby and we certainly gave the shitty fans some nail biting moments.
I hope that next season Roberto and the boys can build on this season and hopefully the future looks good.
9 Posted 04/05/2014 at 07:04:07
10 Posted 04/05/2014 at 07:08:31
11 Posted 04/05/2014 at 07:21:43
12 Posted 04/05/2014 at 07:39:25
13 Posted 04/05/2014 at 08:18:02
Hart made a fantastic save from Naismith that prevented it from going to 2-2 just seconds before City scored what proved to be the winning goal. He also made a good block late on from Deulofeu.
Whereas Howard really made little effort to prevent the first two goals. I accept that there was some poor defending prior to these efforts but, when that happens, you hope that your goalie can make a save - in this instance one, if not two.
14 Posted 04/05/2014 at 08:28:32
15 Posted 04/05/2014 at 08:43:29
E.mail the club ASAP they may have some left.
16 Posted 04/05/2014 at 09:19:31
17 Posted 04/05/2014 at 09:29:59
18 Posted 04/05/2014 at 10:15:32
19 Posted 04/05/2014 at 10:10:57
20 Posted 04/05/2014 at 10:46:42
That for me was far and away Barkley’s best ever performance. His passing, which I have previously regarded as poor, was excellent throughout and he was twisting away from players with ease. McCarthy worked non-stop as ever and I thought Leon had a good first half.
The problems for me were the back three and Lukaku. Jags looked well off the pace and Alcaraz, who I have quite liked in the past, looked like a fish out of water with poor mobility and surprisingly poor distribution. Stones had a decent game and our defence now needs a dominant centre-back to play alongside him. Howard was suspect on two of the goals committing the cardinal sin for a keeper of leaving his near post exposed.
As for Lukaku, he knows how to score goals but his approach play and first touch are atrocious and I hope we do not go near him for a permanent deal. I know he is only 20 and for a player of that age he is scoring very well but our gameplan is not to hit the front man and see if he can go it alone and score. We need one who can hold the ball and bring others into play and we break down so often when it hits him and bounces off to the opposition. There must be better alternatives out there... Bony looked very good to me at Goodison Park.
One final word: how has Naismith come on this season!!!! He looks an integral part of the team, links well with the midfield, scores goals, chases down defenders all match and to me has rammed the words of all his critics back down their throats. This lad never gives less than full commitment and if we get the right striker in for next season Nais will score more goals because Im afraid Lukaku doesnt lay many on for others.
Great season with good prospects ahead.
What has happened to George Green, anyone – I havent seen him mentioned re Under-18s or Under-21s lately?
21 Posted 04/05/2014 at 11:49:03
First things first, I never have and never will want Everton to lose a game. I am an Evertonian, it's my birthright, if a team gains advantage because we win; so be it.
I had what became a heated exchange with a fellow blue last week who pointed out that he was in the pub with a bunch of RS and they cheered when the og went in at Southampton. That's different to wanting your team to lose, when Ba scored after DJ-beater's slip, if a ref had been present I would've been booked for OTT celebrations — either support your team through thick and thin, or join the glory hunters and support Shitteh, or Manure or the shite or whoever's doing well.
A few points about the game; IMHO 3 at the back only works with a sweeper or spare man, because too often you see an attacker not being picked up (like Dzeko for both goals).
The tackle inside the box on Barkley was a penalty all day long, I've watched it about a dozen times and Kompany takes the man with minimal contact on the ball, and Del boy showed his best and worst sides with that superb dribble in the box, FFS lad look and you would've seen Nessy & Lukaku unmarked in the 6 yard area.
All-in-all, a great season with some memorable moments, but with 3 defeats in the last 4 games a disappointing end to the season.
22 Posted 04/05/2014 at 12:21:47
Then when Everton were in the ascendancy chasing an equaliser, with Barkley (best player in the premier league yesterday) on a charge towards the Man City goal, Dzeko goes down and would not get up until the stretcher bearers arrived on the field when Dzeko was beginning to get up.
This injury fein by Dzeko took nearly 5 minutes, which took the attacking impetuous and sting out of Everton, which did have a major effect on the closing moments of the game.
This is not the first time the top 4 clubs, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have cheated to gain advantages over Everton this season and in the past. And this cheating is not stopped out, will encourage other teams to follow likewise.
Such as, when your team is 1 up with 15miniutes to go and the opposition are pressuring the goal to get an equaliser or winner, suddenly out of blue due to a harmless push, player goes down and does a Dzeko. Or pretending to go off with an injury than run back on the field and score a goal like Aquero.
If Man City do win the premier league this season, cheating would have played some part in them winning it.
23 Posted 04/05/2014 at 14:08:10
If Probert had any love for us which, he obviously doesn't, we would have gotten the penalty in the box, Dzeko would have gotten a red, and we certainly would have gotten more than 6 minutes added time.
24 Posted 04/05/2014 at 15:36:30
25 Posted 04/05/2014 at 16:22:58
26 Posted 04/05/2014 at 16:06:59
If we are blaming our defence, all I see is Alcaraz was shite etc, watch the game again and then tell me that Jags and flavour of the month Stones were not equally palpable for City's goals... who was marking Dzeko for instance, who was the midfielder that was marking Toure?
If we are going to slate a player, let's get the facts right!
27 Posted 04/05/2014 at 16:51:06
Goal three: Stones got pulled out of position and allowed a cross into the box. Alcaraz pushes Dzeko into the space between the centre backs to mark at the back post. McCarthy is too slow to recover and Jags is in no man's land.
A catalogue of errors from all centre backs. All were culpable in some shape or form (even Bobby admitted there were soft goals to concede). Three very preventable goals. All centre-backs expecting the other to mark as there are three of them. Not great movement – just poor defending! No more three at the back please!!!
28 Posted 04/05/2014 at 17:09:20
Also his 'experimental' line-ups look dodgy and I think he was being a little 'too clever' yesterday.
I know it's a sin to criticise him for anything but there has never been a manager anywhere who doesn't drop the occasional bloomer which he can expect to get stick for!
29 Posted 04/05/2014 at 17:18:45
Every goal that's scored with the exception of a goal like Barkleys, could be argued was bad defending, even his you could say that the defender wasn't close enough!
My main point was if we are going to point the finger lets put the blame where its due, it wasn't just Alcaraz that was to blame.
30 Posted 04/05/2014 at 17:54:36
31 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:05:00
32 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:31:10
I have to agree that it didn't work out this time for various reasons, + its very difficult to contain a side like City for 90mins though.
I thought overall we could be proud of our performance, and I have to admit that I'm not too sorry about the result at the end.
33 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:47:39
34 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:49:15
35 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:55:00
A midfielder or striker will be given a couple of games to get up to speed with the pace when they haven't played in a while. A centre half isn't given that luxury. I wouldn't write Alcaraz off just yet.
I will judge Kone after he has been given a proper run of games in the team.
Trevor, I would agree completely about Martinez and the upcoming summer transfer window. He knew last summer he wasn't getting a lot of ,money. Only for the Felliani, he may not have gotten anything on Deadline day.
Shaun/Raymond, they were three very soft goals to concede yesterday and not like us at all this season. A game like yesterday really shows you the value of a settled centre half pairing. The thing is though, I would view the Hull game as a chance to try something different again next week. Why not start planning for next season. The more preparation the better the season we can have.
36 Posted 04/05/2014 at 18:57:50
The second goal is a classic example, easy enough to blame Baines for not closing the cross down, but in fact it was just a sublime bit of skill by Milner to step over and take the ball away in one movement followed by a world class header from Dzeko. That's what billions of pounds gets you.
Shaun #32 says they didn't have to ' show world class movement' but that is in fact what all three goals were. The first was Toure quickly moving the ball to Aguero who is a world class finisher, you might want to blame Howard but it was just a great finish. The third was a bit of Silva magic who put it on a plate for Dzeko.
City actually did pretty little but just showed the importance of quality players. Money always talks in the long run.
37 Posted 04/05/2014 at 19:37:43
Not always possible. That's why we are to finish fifth. But, at least, Bobby's hightened the barrier a little !
38 Posted 04/05/2014 at 19:51:58
Osman was next to useless as usual but the one major positive was Ross's performance, he didn't put a foot wrong and it seemed like everything thing he did was causing them problems. I just wish he had been more greedy because sometimes when a player is in the zone like that they can be unplayable.
It's been a decent season, let's hope we can build on it and bring the right players in during the Summer. Hopefully a couple more youth players can make the step up as well.
39 Posted 04/05/2014 at 19:42:14
As far as next seasons concerned Kieran, I don't think our esteemed manager will fail us, the problem is, will he have the money to go out and buy at Harrods, very probably not going off the boards past record, I fancy he will have to do with looking around Quicksave for a bargain.
If he had silly money to spend I would really fancy us for a CL place, as it is he has to be twice as good as your Rodgers, Mourinhos, Wengers, Pellegrinis and Utds manager to get us into the CL.
40 Posted 04/05/2014 at 20:24:18
If 'world class' includes 'cheating bastard', a la Suarez, I'd rather do without. Perhaps Maradona was better than Pele. Discuss.
Others like Revie's Leeds and our dearly beloved neighbours don't give a toss.
We do. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
41 Posted 04/05/2014 at 21:48:51
42 Posted 04/05/2014 at 22:15:43
"If Arsenal win the cup, Hull City will enter the third qualifying round, the sixth-placed team of the league will enter the play-off round, and the fifth-placed team of the league will enter the group stage."
So it looks like we'll have to support the Arse at Wembley, and another heart versus the head dilemma will be served up for us. All these moral choices are doing my head in.
43 Posted 05/05/2014 at 02:37:24
I view the upcoming FA Cup final as one I can be completely neutral in and just hope that the best side on the day wins; if that is Arsenal and that means we avoid an early competitive start to the season then that is fine by me.
Talking about dilemmas, the way things are shaping up in La Liga it could be that if Barca defeat Atletico in the last game of the season it hands the title to Real.
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