A game at last after those frustrating international fixtures. I watched a few of them and in the main I found them boring so it was off to the Etihad for a three o’clock kick-off on a Saturday. The team as transmitted to devices was a bit of a surprise but not much made of it or the choice of subs as Big Ron is trusted with such matters.
Lads who had been to the bookies told us according to the odds offered we had no chance. Whilst I conceded that they were favourites, I also had faith that we would be prepared to make a scrap of it and not let them dictate tempo and play through us. As it turned out, I was on the right track as we set up to defend at all costs but with always the chance of a break with a speedy three upfront who were also expected to drop in. I am always interested with how managers play these days... so, looking down on play, I recall seeing 4-3-3 – 4-4-2 – 4-5-1 – 4-6-0 but the one I thought imaginative was often when we managed to break and keep the ball you could see plainly a 1-5-5 which served a few purposes both offensively and defensively. I thought it was encouraging that, after two seasons relying on one way of playing, we were now having players thinking for themselves and one another. If this develops, I am sure we will move from Martinez-ism to Koeinez-ism to pure Koeman–ism quite quickly.
We were under pressure from the off and Man City seemed to be targeting Oviedo’s flank and the lad Sane was no mug. It was taking Oviedo a bit of time to try and work him out, even with a bit of help from Gana, and I must admit I thought Deulofeu could have done a bit more. On 15 minutes, we had been under pressure but Bolasie had not been in the game going forward as it was all on the opposite flank. 20 minutes came up and it had been all City with just a couple of breaks from us; it was sure nervy times and not a lot of noise from our end. One sustained spell of pressure by City had us twitching nervously and it only ended when De Bruyne hit a chance wildly into our end so we all had a cheer. Some pretty build-up play by City had Silva in but he shot over — we cheered again.
Deulofeu swapped wings with Bolasie and we created a break that got him on his bike but his crossfield ball to the unmarked Bolasie was a touch off and got intercepted. Coleman had Sterling squealing like a pig after a good solid tackle so we all cheered again but louder. The clock reached 35 minutes and hearts were still in mouths as we kicked, hoofed and scrapped for every ball as we ensured our ‘They shall not pass’ attitude prevailed.
At last, we had a spell of attacking in a move that saw us look for an opening and killer ball. We would get to the edge of their box and, if nothing on, pull out and start again (I saw that 1-5-5 formation in action) and it went on for about 4 minutes. Now 4 minutes is a long time in this game, and it only ended when Bolasie had a cross blocked after good work between him and Oviedo.
5 minutes to half-time and I thought, "If we can get in all-square, big Ron will be able to impart some Dutch straight-talking and have us ready to resume battle on the front foot and concede nothing early doors." Oh dear; as soon as I thought that, Jags trips a bloke in the box and a penalty is awarded. It was hard for anyone to complain about the decision. De Bruyne stepped up. ‘Oh Hell’, I thought... but, as boot hit leather, the sight of the Stek diving to his left and pushing the ball away had some 2.5k Blues into a frenzied contorted mass. The ref added two minutes. With blood pressure boiling and the lads toiling, we attack as Bolasie broke up a City attack and headed up field but this ran down the clock and the ref blew his whistle for the break. Phew!
Half-time: 0-0 and the chat was varied from “lucky” to “solid defending” and all praised our keeper.
Out for the second half and no changes for us. We attacked first and Bolasie got put in down our left and his cross was just about cleared by Stones on the stretch. We had another attack and Deulofeu was played in down our left by Bolasie and he cut inside and fired a shot of some force that had the keeper making a fine save by tipping it over his bar — good save, that.
On 55 minutes, both managers made subs. Aguero for City – ‘cos they can’t score... and McCarthy for us – ‘cos we don’t want them to. We were concentrating on defence big-style but always looking to see if we could break which to me was heartening. I reckon every Evertonian in the ground, management, players and fans would not perhaps admit it but they would have taken a point at that stage because, such was City’s pressure and our memory banks still full of game fade out from a previous life, leaving us still a little negative.
But this is a different era and on 63 minutes our brains lost a bit of the old and welcomed the new embryonic matter as we witnessed our rearguard battling away some sustained City pressure and a quick break down our left saw the ball reach Big Rom. He outpaced Clichy, bore down on goal and from slightly wide left hammered a hell of a shot past the keeper. Total pandemonium ensued. One up away at City and defending like demons... we could be on for a coupon buster.
Just five minutes later, however, Jags was at it again, tripping Silva in the box. “Penalty,” said the Ref. Aguero was on now so, again, I thought ‘Oh Hell’, but, Lo and Behold, the Stek was at it again and he flew through the air to his left and pushed the ball well away. Oh, the adulation from those from Merseyside. I said to my mate, ‘It must be our day!’
From the restart, City came again and again. The Stek had to fly through the air and claw away a goal-bound shot. But on 70-odd minutes, I suppose it had to happen, although Koeman will not think that, as someone dropped off to sleep. City were doing their probing around our box but, with No Entry signs everywhere, they played it wide to Silva who was in acres. Big Ron will know who should have been with him but, as it was, he was able to demonstrate how well he can deliver a cross when given time. The sub, Nolito was in the middle of the box and he rose seemingly unmarked and placed a header out of even Stek’s reach and into the corner. Drat, I mumbled.
City were buoyed by this and went for it but we manfully got right into ‘They shall not pass’ mode which was great to see. I can remember times when we would have folded. Not only did we get organised again, we broke when we could, and with some purpose, and City respected this by leaving men back. De Bruyne cut inside and, just when you thought he would pass it, he let go a humdinger and yet again the Stek flew through the air and clawed it away for a corner.
The ref adds 4 minutes both teams make subs. Funes Mori for us and Kompany for them. Kompany went centre forward for them but didn’t get a sniff. Mori kicked one and headed one away. It seems a long 4 minutes. Barry went down after a clash, we cleared a free kick. We are all whistling but the Ref wasn’t; we whistle louder – now he does. Yippee!
MotM — Saint Stek of Gwladys
All told, a great day out. Coming off the ground, I somehow felt we are turning a corner and, from conversations held, so are some others. I think it may well take the manager this season and next to have the type of player he wants for every position to fully allow him to play the way he really wants to. When it comes to promoting youngsters, I don’t think he is averse to that but he will want them to be of a standard that putting them in the first team will pose little risk. For example, I think he would have put Rooney in but not Dowell. I reckon this guy is here to win.’
Today’s display pleased me but I can’t wait to see how we approach the Burnley game. They will battle hard and we need to match it and take nothing for granted. Our players will need to put in a shift that matches today and not think, just because it’s not City, we can stroll it.
I wonder if we will get the docks site. If so, will we change our nickname to ‘The Dockers’?
See you soon.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (48)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 16/10/2016 at 00:58:18
2 Posted 16/10/2016 at 02:26:55
3 Posted 16/10/2016 at 04:36:33
That was a West Brom, Stoke in the old days type of performance. Similar to the opening game of the season when we were at home to Spurs. We sat back while the other side dominated the match. One day we get a draw. But, the vast majority of times, penalties will be scored and we will lose.
4 Posted 16/10/2016 at 06:32:50
Delaying the second penalty was very good. His positioning for their goal was poor but then again the majority of the team was exposed in that one play.
5 Posted 16/10/2016 at 06:58:45
Williams would make a far better captain. Even yesterday, he was the man doing the leading from the back. Jags looked knackered. I know he has a great following on TW and I'm not denying he's been a fantastic servant to the club, but in my opinion the time has come for him to spend a few games on the bench and for Funes Mori to be given a chance to develop a partnership with Williams.
I don't think we can look at a potential top 6 finish with two thirty-something centre-backs in there all season. Funes Mori has international experience, is hungry to play, and would offer better pace and commitment than Jags at this stage as well as offering a goal threat at set pieces.
A great result, yes, but we need to look at where things went wrong. Another day and Man City would have scored those two penalties and what, I wonder would people be saying about Jags if that had happened?
6 Posted 16/10/2016 at 07:04:47
7 Posted 16/10/2016 at 07:23:09
It's a bit like golf. When you put the card in with a reasonable score, nobody sees the individual shots if you play, you'll understand what I'm saying.
Personally, I thought Michael Oliver was a tad harsh with both penalties but, of course, he gets one chance to make the decision. Otherwise, I think his two yellow cards for us were also crap decisions that should not have marred the game that was played with excellent sportsmanship.
Clearly, we have a distance to go before we can say, hand on heart, that we are good enough to be up with the best but this game proves that we are moving in the right direction.
8 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:11:05
If we move to the docks, we can't have that nickname, Ken. After putting in a great performance yesterday full of hard work and industry, haven't you heard the song with the line "...and all the lazy dockers" in it? Stick to The Toffees no matter where we play.
9 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:15:59
To claim he is finished is ridiculous. He and Williams have already formed a solid partnership. Our defence is 2nd, I think, in the goals conceded league.
10 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:16:41
Williams and Stekelenburg where magnificent, Barry very good and Rom though not in the game much a class act. Gana had possibly his worst game (high standards set) but both Deulofeu and Bolasie were poor. If only Barkley was the player we hope he would be.
11 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:23:00
I wished we'd played like that in the second leg of the semi.
12 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:24:02
No, Koeman got it right but the penalties were enough for Brian Porter at #5 to bang the funeral drum for Jags. He will not be alone, I'm sure, as the few Evertonians left in the Freshy have him lined up to follow Howard, Ossie and Hibbo as 'the faithful servant we love to hate!' At least it means they'll leave Barry alone for a while!
13 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:45:51
14 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:55:24
Yes but we won't be playing Man City or Spurs every week. The penalties didn't go in and we won't be facing one (or two) every week.
The keeper is paid to make saves I couldn't care less if they were finger-tip, knee, head, or off his ears as long as the ball stays out!
15 Posted 16/10/2016 at 10:48:17
Lukaku up front is the business, even though he'll always been moaned at times by the few. It's our creative area which needs a pull up. It's about time Barkley or Deulofeu stood up to the plate and deliver. Neither has done enough, though in my opinion Deulofeu just won't cut it in the Premier League. He won't work enough, he's physically frightened, and his team attitude is questionable with his 'throw his arms into the air' attitude.
The signs are there, that we are progressing; certainly we are harder to beat, but to win anything you need to win games and that means creating and scoring goals.
I don't think, as you mentioned above Ken, that Koeman will give the kids a go this season, certainly whilst we remain in the Top 7. He just won't take the risk of the likes of Davies, Dowell, Walsh and new lad Dominic what's his name. Remain in Top 7 and there is a chance of European football next season which should attract the better players to join us.
16 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:11:26
As far as St Stek of Gwladys is concerned, I do like us having a keeper who can save penalties and dive full length to fingertip goal-bound shots on to the post. It's very disheartening for the opposition.
17 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:12:06
Although I agree with Brian (#5) that we can't carry on with such an old centre-back pairing for too long. Jags will do a hammy at some point and we will then see whether or not we have his replacement at the club already.
Our flair players are the main problem for me none have any consistency and a couple of them are a bit shy of work and aggression. Ron has clearly seen this as shown by his attempts to juggle these players around and use Cleverley (and McCarthy via the bench yesterday) in place of one of them and the next couple of transfer windows will be interesting.
But back to yesterday what marvellous performances by Williams and Stekelenburg and full credit to Ron and his fitness team for getting the team back to battling for a whole game, not running out of gas, and keeping a solid defensive line.
Oh, and what a goal from Rom!!!
18 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:19:42
This City team was always going to take the game to us, giving us a chance to catch them out. We managed it once or twice but only had three shots of which, two were on target. City had 19, 8 on target.
The problem will resurface at Burnley, and a scrappy point up there won't have the same sheen as the precious one gleaned yesterday, as they aren't a team of millionaires.
I am pleased with our tighter defence, and applaud Koeman for his efforts. We look harder to beat, fitter and more determined under his leadership. Reality though, is that he is a long way from the team he wants and our board must back him in the transfer market.
Our biggest need is for a clever, creative midfielder in the Arteta mold. Time and again we cough up possession, attracting pressure back on ourselves. Until we get this kind of player, we will remain in mid-table.
19 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:39:36
Jags is like Shawcross. Ungainly, stiff and devoid of technical ability. There are three facets to his game: Hoof it into Row Z. Hoof it up the park and hope for the best. Hoof the player instead.
Extremely lucky he had Stekelenburg and Williams present to mop up after him.
20 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:46:20
Before the game, we were given little chance, as Man City HAD to come good at home, after their loss at Spurs, which seemed like an age, cos of the international break! Being the eternal optimist, I figured, IF we could could keep them at bay, perhaps snatch a goal (or two) we could sneak a win, or a draw!
The first 20-30 minutes, we looked ragged, disjointed, but somehow we were still level, Man City looked a very decent side indeed, then Jags did a reverse leg sweep on Silva... in MMA it's ok, but in footy that's a pen! Stek produced a superb save from De Bruyne's pen & the blue hordes went ballistic, as if we had scored at the other end, maybe this was going to be our day & 0-0 it was at the half!
Deulofeu had a good chance early in the 2nd half, but his shot was comfortably turned over the bar by Bravo for our only corner of the game, I think? Unfortunately Del was more noticeable yet again, for his non-committal approach, offsides & general lethargy, he was subbed around the 55th min mark, to be replaced by a very committed James McCarthy, whom I thought balanced us a great deal more than with Del on the pitch (which is a shame, as Del should be offering a lot more). I was NOT expecting that from Macca, so it was a huge bonus, perhaps he's realized that to play in Koeman's team, it requires more effort than just running around as he did when Martinez was in charge!
In the 64th min, after another brilliant sliding stop by Jags, Gueye knocked a ball to Bolasie, who had nipped ahead of... guess who? John Stones of all people & sent a deft flick out wide to Rom, who took Clichy to the cleaners & scored a superb left-footed drive past Bravo, for his 6th goal in 8 games, which is what we expect from the big fella, not the sulky one in the 1st half, although once again, he was starved of any chances in all honesty!
Jags once again became the villain after 68 mins, as he tried to split Aguero in two at the top of the box, for another pen to City! It wasn't De Bruyne this time, but Aguero to take the pen (who had missed one for Argentina on Tuesday). Could Stek possibly save a 2nd pen? .he sure could, as he dived left & palmed away the kick, which was almost a carbon copy of the 1st half pen. Joy oh joy, we were still ahead! Alas, City would finally prevail around the 72nd min, as Silva had way too much time on the left wing (where was Coleman?) & crossed a superb ball over for the sub Nolito to out jump Barry, as Jags & Ash were out of position, to plant a header past our hero The Stek Man, to level the score at 1-1.
Stek produced another terrific save from a De Bruyne thunderbolt after 81 mins, that he managed to turn on to a post & ultimately for a corner! I noticed Stek grimaced & grabbed his groin area after making that save, I hope it was nothing more than a twinge & not an injury!
It was a tremendous, hard-earned point that the lads got today, against the league leaders on their own patch & one of the title contenders no doubt!
Koeman has instilled an ethos within the squad, we are slowly getting it together, we are a much more balanced side than last season for sure, but we are still a few years away from producing a squad like Man City have!
With Mosh getting us closer to fulfilling our dream of a Royal Blue Stadium down at the docks, being a Bluenose is looking rather good right now!
21 Posted 16/10/2016 at 11:53:15
22 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:03:04
For sure it was backs-to-the-wall stuff but I'm convinced the mental strength taken from the gritty draw will stand us in good stead for the games to come.
23 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:07:20
"Drat, I mumbled." That's more like it!
24 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:20:05
I didn't realise you were related to Dick Dastardly. Thank God you didn't have a 'double drat'!
25 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:22:05
Let's face it, Man City are the best team in the league so a point away is a good result.
Jags and Williams will do for this season. Having Holgate and Funes Mori as back-up isn't a bad thing either.
We have to be happy with Stekelenburg too him and Gana have been bargains.
26 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:34:49
"Similar to the opening game of the season when we were at home to Spurs. We sat back while the other side dominated the match."
So, you didn't go to that match then, David? Because, I remember us playing a high pressing game and being a far from the depressing defensive game you claim to have witnessed.
Only when we tired after an hour did Spurs get a sniff and if you want any proof, the BBC match report below will show just what a heap of crap your post is. And, be honest, the BBC are no fans of Everton. Koeman quoted his 70% fitness level after that game. We're fitter now.
No offence meant, mate, it's Sunday...
27 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:56:13
As for David Barks, we're all entitled to an opinion but I just wish I didn't have to be depressed by yours quite so often! Maybe I should just skip them.
28 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:57:11
The more times I see our goal, the more I appreciate the team play that went on. From the amazing clearance from Jags, then Oviedo picked up the loose ball, brilliant dummy to take the ball on to his left, cute pass to Rom, who alertly ran into the space to receive it, then, give and go leaving his marker nowhere. Gueye with the quick pass to Bolasie, who used his strength to hold off his man and flick it superbly on for Lukaku, the run and finish from there was awesome. Has to be goal of the weekend.
On top of that, on current form, we probably have the Premier League's best goalkeeper to date.
Next week, different game; different tactics... I would expect Koeman to put the learnings from the Bournemouth defeat into play against Burnley. Definite win required to keep the pace up at the top.
29 Posted 16/10/2016 at 13:41:39
30 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:04:22
32 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:17:48
Our defence played brilliantly despite Jag's two blunders, but let's not kid ourselves, most weeks that would have been 4-1. We are miles off the top 4, and we need better players, in midfield and up front.
Burnley will be a different kind of test let's hope the lads are as up for it next week.
33 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:39:28
One worthy even suggested Jags looked like he was 'armed with a stapler at the Maine Road Coral' whilst another claimed Pep had said he would rather have lost than ever play as we did.
It's good to piss THEM off, don't ya think!
34 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:45:18
David (#3), it's not our fault Man City are shit at taking penalties. And their manager wants shooting letting Aguero take another. Didn't he miss two in one game earlier this season? And he's missed a few in the Premier League as well. But that's their problem, not ours.
And all credit to Stekelenburg for the two penalty saves and countless others as well. That's why we have a keeper, David, to save the ball going in. Or would you rather we didn't play a keeper next week at Burnley? That'd get us far, wouldn't it? Yes, it was backs to the wall at times but we won't be the only side to go there this season and defend deep like that.
35 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:53:16
We learned mostly what we knew already. The manager is a good tactician who can vary the set-up and play in the course of the game. We are more solid defensively. We lack creativity and the capacity to hold the ball. Feed the Rom and he will score.
The new learning? We seem to have a goalkeeper!
36 Posted 16/10/2016 at 15:10:56
That just shows how thick your RS mates must be as yesterdays result was perfect from their perspective given the relative positions at the top of the table.
37 Posted 16/10/2016 at 15:21:54
Probably still not as many as we should but certainly there will be more chances created.
38 Posted 16/10/2016 at 15:49:02
I don't think anyone on these pages has suggested we can get into the top 4. Koeman is more aware than any of us to what it will take for him to move this club who the last 2 seasons finished below halfway, to challenging for a top 4 spot. Guardiola has taken over a highly talented group who have won the league twice in the last 5 years.
I would suggest 7th to 10th will be a good start for Koeman this season and the following season challenge for a top 6 place. I think everyone would agree his signings have looked good but he will need time to change not only the players but also, as he said before the game, their belief in themselves.
He has also improved the fitness of the squad, but he needs time and as a fan you want to see the changes having an effect. I think both his changes in personnel and style are slowly starting to evolve.
39 Posted 16/10/2016 at 16:23:13
40 Posted 16/10/2016 at 16:26:05
41 Posted 16/10/2016 at 16:44:19
I enjoy some of your posts, but I can't agree with the position you take here and in the post-match thread, in which you deride others for celebrating taking a merited and meritous point at Shitteh yesterday.
To claim as you do that yesterday was a "West Brom, Stoke in the old days type of performance ... Similar to the opening game of the season when we were at home to Spurs. We sat back while the other side dominated the match" is, IMO, not only nonsensical, but false.
I recall after the Spurs game you were similarly critical of the performance, again condemning fellow blues for what you view as meek acceptance of mediocrity.
Your comments here are a total misportrayal of the Spurs game, which for some reason you reference to the Shitteh game.
Against Spurs, we did NOT as you claim "... sat back while the other side dominated the match." We were the dominant side in the 1st half, pressing high all over the pitch, and should have gone in at the interval 2-0 up but for Deulofeu's miss on the stroke of half time.
The 2nd half, as anticipated by Koeman in his pre-match comments that the team were only 70% fit, we tired and Spurs improved. At no stage was it an out-and-out 'parking of the bus' you claim.
Like yesterday, it was circumstantial. That is, believe it or not, different teams present different challenges. The opposition also have a vested interest and ambitions to get a result from the game. They are not static traffic cones for us to pass around.
Quite clearly, as the goals against column demonstrates, we are defensively more resilient under Koeman. Quite clearly, as demonstrated against a variety of opposition, Koeman has greater tactical flexibility in how he sets up the team, both at kick off and within the game. Quite clearly, he is bold enough to make the best selection in the best interests of the team, regardless of reputations, as Ross discovered yesterday.
If we have ONLY played as you claim under Koeman Pullis-like-park-the-bus against all-comers in his 10 competitive games as Everton manager, you might have a point. But he hasn't, has he, David?
Without doubt, there have been very poor performances. Bournemouth away was abject. I don't believe we have yet seen a solid 90 minute performance across an entire game under Koeman. But equally, there have been for this supporter at least very impressive passages of play and enough encouragement to believe, given time, Koeman can get us playing consistently at a high enough level when we can realistically go to places like the Eitihad confident of getting a result, rather than re-enacting the Alamo.
I for one am willing to be patient and allow Koeman and the team more time to achieve what I hope most Blues desire a truly fearless and competitive side, capable of winning trophies.
If such tolerance constitutes in your eyes an acceptance of mediocrity and lack of ambition, so be it.
42 Posted 16/10/2016 at 16:55:08
43 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:42:32
Our problem is the same as what we have had for a number of years in that we do not have a player who can get the ball off the defense under pressure and hold onto the ball to make room for a defense-splitting pass to relieve the pressure.
Everton are under a rebuilding period from top to bottom with Koeman under the spotlight front and center with the added pressure of being in the results business, so not every game is going to fire up the supporters. Remember, City had a centre-half that cost more than our keeper, back 4 and the 2 holding midfielders combined, and he was left flat on his back when we scored.
Every player played as hard as they could for the full 90+ mins and that is a bonus from previous seasons, so there are gradual improvements that can gain momentum in the transfer market.
44 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:14:41
I am far more optimistic than many on this site; I genuinely believe we are only two players away from being a top side.
45 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:38:28
46 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:40:54
47 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:59:04
48 Posted 18/10/2016 at 07:44:57
If we are to be in Europe for next season, we need to gain points from games like this during this season. So I am happy to take the point against City and the point against Tottenham at this stage.
51 Posted 21/10/2016 at 15:26:43
The Chang Beer Stadium? Ugh... If ya know yer 'istory...
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.