Wednesday, 24 March 2010

City 0 - 2 Everton

  • When the annals of 'typical City' are drawn up, hundreds of years from now, this will certainly get a paragraph or two. We'd just taken seven points from three straight away games, and we had a home game against a team eight points below us. Three points would send us into fourth place. But we blew it, as only we can: a good start was left un-converted, we conceded from a set-piece and could never quite get back into the game. Our first home defeat of the season, at the worst possible time.
  • After the win on Sunday, Mancini returned to his preferred 4-3-3 system. Carlos Tévez moved back up front, and Stephen Ireland was restored after a lengthy absence into his favoured attacking midfield role. And it started well enough: we dominated the first half hour, passing the ball smartly and smoothly. Tévez managed to engineer himself two or three half-opportunities, but was always denied by Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka.
  • But there's nothing worse than wasted pressure. Because it was Everton who struck first; Tim Cahill turning in a well-worked free-kick. Conceding from set plays to teams who specialise at them is just infuriating: unlearnt lessons like that make you wonder what the coaching staff do with their time. Conceding from a Tim Cahill header from a set-piece is almost as bad as conceding from a Rory Delap long throw - something we did twice last month.
  • From then on, Everton were the better side. With Ireland off injured we went 4-4-2 and lost our extra man in midfield. Pienaar and Mikel Arteta began to find more space and Everton could have scored a second. We had spells of pressure but had no better ideas than propelling the ball up towards Santa Cruz. It worked on Sunday, yes, but Phil Jagielka is no Chris Smalling. Again, Tévez almost worked himself some opportunities, but nothing came of them. Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz and Pablo Zabaleta shot over from distance.
  • It was no real surprise when Arteta scored their second, after a sharp break led by Cahill and Jack Rodwell. It's Everton's third consecutive win at Eastlands but it hurts more than the other two combined. David Moyes loves to suggest that City are a club lacking in spirit, but what better example that the traditional soul of Manchester City is alive and well than tonight? When we needed it most, we blew it. Advantage Tottenham.


Simon said...

The turning point in the game was the old-style reducer by Heitinga on Ireland. Before that Everton's attempts to isolate Tevez were failing miserably thanks in large part to Ireland's link-up play. Everton scored while Ireland was hobbling, and by the time City had regained some semblance of shape after the substitution, Everton had settled into the pattern of ultra-organised systematic defending at which they excel.

Blue Moon said...

It pains me to say this, but it may be time for Ireland to go somewhere else like Villa. Doesn't sound like he played poorly last night, but he is clearly not the same player he was last year, and he is regressing this year. Especially if we are going to continue to primarily be a counter-attacking side - he's not fast enough, and in a 4-3-3 / 4-5-1, your center forward is essentially your creative player with the wingers being the driving force taking people on. The middle three is just there to provide stability and occasional scoring, something Ireland has done little of this year.

wizzballs said...

decent read as ever, but please spare us the mind numbing 'typical city' line. it's such a lazy cliche, a total cop out... I'd much rather hear an original take on the story of our season as it is unfolding. the unpredictability of individual results is the essence of sport, it's hardly specific to football, let alone city, that 'poor' results follow impressive ones.