Everton At The Double
Manchester City lose for the first time at Eastland`s as Everton kept their own European hopes alive with a gritty 2-0 win. Goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta put a dent in City`s Champions League hopes.
One simple phrase could typify the team tonight "Social Loafers". The term epitomises the inept, sub-standard performance which we believed we had eradicated, as Everton played their part in a clinical "smash and grab" performance. Social loafing sadly describes the lack of leadership which has become far too common, it also underpins the lack of creative ideas and a complete failure to perform as expected.
Everton never fail to surprise anyone even on their own poor afternoons. A gritty and determined side who courageously display all the mental attributes to perform at the top level are exactly the skills Everton possess. The lavishly treated stars in our blue half of Manchester fail to seize any opportunity to take a stranglehold in this seasons hotly contested race and we repeatedly portray a side that struggles to have that consistent edge.
Everton are not a side to be undermined as they have shown with destructive wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and a deserved double over us. They have consistent performers who have far surpassed their desired potential. Our constant nemesis Tim Cahill again caused havoc when in the opposition`s box; Arteta is a creative genius who is unbelievably unfortunate to be missing out this summer and Osman, Peinnar and Jagielka continue to perform at the highest standard. Contrast that to ourselves, a team who again fail to live up to expectations- excluding Carlos Tevez. Overall our performance was without the much needed desire and determination, we lacked any technical attributes which could have seen us break down a very resolute Everton defence. There was certain spells of play that could have merited a goal, however, a failure to create any noteworthy chances proved our downfall as we were continuously thwarted. We repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot and are in need for greater numbers on the pitch to stand up and be counted.
We began reasonably well and took the game to Everton. The away side were understandably on the back foot but we failed to capitalise on any possession we had. Tevez was industrious, his own craft and workmanship provided great entertainment as he wrestled away from the Everton defenders. He was simply a man on a mission as he looked to do all the work himself, he glided across the turf and his sheer tenacity and strength left him in great positions, but the defence continued to prevent his advances on the last hurdle. Everton are often seen as clinical and City should have taken note of the Tim Cahill goal that opened the scoring. Without any great pressure or perseverance, Everton had a free-kick in a dangerous position, their first serious opportunity of the evening. A well worked free-kick confused our backline and Cahill only needed one chance as he guided home a Baines cross. We were deflated and felt hard done by all our efforts had resulted in very little.
Feeling a sense of injustice we decided to raise our game and appease our spectators. The gritty and determined Everton side were back. Every chance was prevented, every attack was easily crossed off and they soaked up the pressure with minimal fuss. The frustration was growing but this was only the start of a hard day`s work for the Merseyside club. The game progressed in a similar vein, we rarely mounted an attack on Tim Howard as his combative defence would respond first. Our tactical changes did little to enforce anything spectacular and the feeling was Everton had us where they wanted. We tried without any real endeavour, we pressed without any notable urgency and we most importantly failed to seize control and gain a stranglehold on the occasion.
The groans were deafening amongst the terraces as we were losing much needed ground. However, Everton wouldn`t budge, they have a certain knack for picking teams off and this was proving the case. We were becoming desperate for any possible result as Kolo Toure was demonstrating with his ambitious charges down the pitch, but as always we lacked that cutting edge. Both teams were making their respective tactical changes and it was Everton and Moyes who we left delighted. Substitute Jack Rodwell gallivanted effortlessly towards our penalty box, his slick cut back found Arteta who again showed all it takes is once chance. First time, he showed precision and ability as he comfortably slotted home and evaporated any distant hopes we had.
An Everton win against us was become far too familiar, we failed to take our opportunity and lost our precious home record. We must show little comparison to this game in our forthcoming fixtures as the room for inconsistency is growing ever smaller. We were perhaps the better side but we failed to perform when it mattered. Hopefully this is a pivotal moment for us to improve rather than decline.