Date:Saturday January 16 2010
Manchester City did little to emphasise their stranglehold on the top four contingency with a lacklustre display witnessed at Everton's Goodison Park.
The Merseyside outfit contributed to a dismal day for Mancini's men with a battling, determined and aesthetically pleasing display which made them comfortable winners.
Goals from Piennar and Saha guided Everton to a phenomenal win and display that questions their substandard league position. Most notably for the away side, was the lack of performance and discipline again from record, marquee signing Robinho. After replacing the injury-prone Santa Cruz, Robinho was then removed himself, a lack of acknowledgment to both players and staff proved pivotal as he marched down the tunnel unaided.
Robinho wasn't the only non-performer for the Citizens, every area of the field was easily penetrated by Everton. Futile resistance from City, especially in a non-existent first half, brought back distant and discouraging memories from the display at Tottenham's White Hart Lane.
Title talk gathered around Eastlands after an emphatic 4-1 Monday night victory against Blackburn. However, after tonight's defeat, a top four position will again be seen as a remarkable achievement. The inconsistency of every Premier League side has given a number of teams hope to break into the top four, and with the power spending of the Blues, the expectations have been heavily placed.
The recent acquisition of Mancini has drastically improved us and has brought about a tremendous 100% return. Despite this, the well documented nature of his ability as a manager wouldn`t be greatly tested until today, with his first matches against weaker opposition. The cool tactician that Mancini has portrayed himself as disappeared on several occasions with outbursts of fury at his faltering side. Contrastingly, David Moyes hands on approach brought him great delight as his side picked off City with ease. The victory can again see Everton push towards a Europa League position. An achievement that would be considered on par as Manchester City making the top four.
In injury depleted side with little budget, Everton have often struggled this season. The team spirit instilled by Moyes though has left Everton fans witness a remarkable turnaround and fight back over recent weeks. Today's win saw Everton ecstatic and City exhausted.
After encouraging signs early on Manchester City wilted under constant Everton pressing. The harrying and destructive nature of Everton posed major problems for Mancini's men, dwelling on the ball too often and gifting possession to the home side.
As the half progressed signs of encouragement for the City faithful were decreasing. Lacklustre and lethargic displays have been uncommon under the new boss, however, today provided a greater test than expected. In possession we were bedraggled, out of it we were hopeless.
Both goals came from a terrific spell of football by Everton as the first half neared a close. Little comparison could be given to the referee and his official with two questionable decisions leading to Everton's goals.
Firstly, Pablo Zabaleta was deemed the offender on Saha, the striker tumbled on the edge of the box. A harsh decision, forgotten by terrible efforts in the City wall. As the wall broke, Piennar guided his free-kick into the bottom corner. Cue scenes of displeasure from both the manager and supports.
Saha then netted himself from the penalty spot. A decision that brought mass confusion from the City defence and even the reciprocate himself. Richards was penalised for a tug on Saha's shirt, notably the decision was given by the linesman after initial contact started outside the box.
With the groans exaggerated and growing we were left with little to cheer. On occasion we entered the Everton half, we did little to merit the unlikely comeback. Unfortunately instead of a courageous comeback, City were lucky to escape with only a 2-0 punishment. Both the superb Fellaini and the battling Cahill witnessed there headed efforts hit the frame of the opposition goal.
The final whistle was greeted with deafening cheers from the home fans. City were left shell-shocked.
An insufficient display compounded more misery on a disappointing score line. A defiant response is needed from City and no greater task beholds us than a Manchester derby this Tuesday.
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Date:Saturday January 16 2010
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