Saturday, 25 April 2009

Everton 1 - 2 City

  • The curse is broken. No away league win since August 2008, no away league win in change colours since August 2007. The demons were slain today by a performance that was competent and organised at the back, and incisive on the counter. This is how Premier League away games are played, and today we executed it perfectly. Seventh place is still on.
  • We saw today what we can do when unburdened by European football. As fun as our UEFA Cup run was, it was sixteen more games than we needed. It negatively impacted our Premier League performance, and may have cost us Europa League football in 2009/10. But we were fresh on Saturday, and Everton were tired, from their 120 minute semi-final last weekend and a midweek draw at Stamford Bridge. For one of the first times this season, we were fresher and sharper than the opposition.
  • City were better organised in defence than we've been for a while. Despite having much of the possession, Everton created few chances. The back five, individually and as a collective, performed very well. And they were expertly shielded by Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany. Before Dan Gosling's goal, Everton's only good chance was Marouane Fellaini's volley at Shay Given early in the second half.
  • And the other part of our game plan, rapid and razor sharp counter attacks, were perfect. The first goal was Elano putting Robinho through, the second was Robinho to Stephen Ireland. The pace of those two, along with the tireless if sometimes aimless running of Felipe Caicedo meant that we looked more dangerous going forward than Everton ever did. With Petrov and Wright-Phillips to come into the team, we're about to have some very good attacking options.
  • But Fulham won, and so we're still three points off Europa League football. We need two home wins and then probably two or three away points from Old Trafford and White Hart Lane. We can still do this.


Wigan Blue said...

Elano included in the right role again - another three points. Where would we have been if MH didn't have such a long learning curve?

TPB said...

When Eriksson put Elano out wide last year he was awful

JPB said...

True. But when Hughes put Elano out wide at Fratton Park he was awful. I don't know why - it's the position he plays sometimes for Brazil.