Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Premier League
 Saturday 5 October 2013; 12:45pm
3 1
Negredo (17'), Aguero (45'),
Howard (og:69')
Half Time: 2 - 1
Lukaku (16')
Attendance: 47,267
Fixture 7
Referee: Jon Moss

Match Report

If Everton's ascent to the top four on the back of last Monday's win over Newcastle United had led to some premature flights of Champions League fancy from some quarters, this lunchtime trip the Etihad Stadium served as something of a reality check.

The Blues' record as the only unbeaten side in the Premier League came to a disappointing end at the hands, to a large degree, of simple economics and some refereeing incompetence thrown in for good measure. There could be no argument over the result even if another dreadful penalty award in this fixture robbed Roberto Martinez's side of a crack at grabbing a late equaliser.

Despite another strong start and another impressive goal from Romelu Lukaku, a draw would have flattered Everton. They were unable to sustain their early momentum or contain the slick passing move that carved them open for Alvaro Negredo's leveller within a minute of the Blues going ahead. And when Sergio Aguero capitalised on a lapse in concentration on the stroke of half time to put Manuel Pellegrini's men ahead, there was an air of inevitabiity about the result.

Put simply, City did not have the off-day that Everton were hoping would follow their successive defeats to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich and, in the final reckoning, their galaxy of attacking talent was just too quick in mind and feet and too clinical in the final third, certainly in a manner that Everton couldn't emulate with any regularity.

For the bulk of the first half, though, this was the even and pulsating contest of its billing. Using the extra man in midfield to good effect, the Blues were able to carry out their now-familiar passing and possession strategy and though it was the home side who carried the greater threat in the opposition penalty area in the first quarter of an hour Tim Howard had to push Yaya Toure's placed shot behind for a corner and Aleksander Kolarov whipped a free kick into the side-netting it was Everton who drew first blood.

Phil Jagielka raked a long ball through the City defence where Lukaku gave Joleon Lescott the slip with consummate ease and fired a low shot that Joe Hart couldn't prevent from sneaking in the far corner by way of the goalkeeper's glove.

The home side hit right back, though, with a typically rapier-like passing exchange where Toure tucked a neat ball in between Jagielka and Seamus Coleman and Negredo couldn't miss with just Howard to beat.

City's speed on the counter would haunt Everton later in the half but it almost paid rapid dividends three minutes later when Ross Barkley eschewed a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box and was robbed as he tried to jink past his marker. Within seconds, Negredo looked in but Sylvain Distin defied his 35 years with excellent pace to get back and concede the corner.

Referee Jon Moss, one of those officials from whom you know there is going to be trouble as soon as you find out he will be the man in the middle, then embarked on a series of inconsistent decisions. First he harshly adjudged Kevin Mirallas of commiting a foul in a dangerous area and City almost created a carbon-copy of their goal but Aguero planted his shot wide of the far post; then, having correctly booked Vincent Kompany for chopping down Lukaku as he tried to race away on a breakaway, he let David Silva escape a yellow card for the exact infingement. (Silva would eventually and belatedly be booked in the second half, censure that should have seen him down the tunnel for an early bath.)

Insult was then added to later injury when Nastasic, on as a substitute for the injured Kompany, clearly shoved Lukaku over as he tried to keep the ball in by the byline but the referee simply signalled for a goalkick.

Undone by incisive passing for the first goal, Everton were forced to do some inward reflection for City's second. Still preoccupied by a spat between Coleman and Negredo in which the Irishman had accused the Spaniard of diving to try and win a penalty, the Blues allowed the home side to move the ball effortlessly and unimpeded from one box to the other where Silva, afforded all the space he needed by Leon Osman, fed Aguero who fired unerringly across Howard and into the far corner to make it 2-1.

Whether it was a sudden inferiority complex or just an inability to raise their game sufficiently after half time, the coordinated response that the traveling fans were hoping for from Everton never really materialised and the second 45 minutes were largely frustrating.

As has often been the case this season as Martinez struggles to find the right way of utilising his explosive talents, Mirallas had been drifting in and out of the game and yet had he managed to get a toe on a superb defence-splitting seven minutes into the second period, the Belgian would have been clean through on Hart. The ball squirted past him, though, and the chance evaporated.

It was a rare opportunity as Everton lost for long periods their ability to simply keep the ball or make anything stick up front. Steven Naismith, having his now-familiarly mercurial performance, nearly created a rare chance when he ghosted past Kolarov but his cross was too hard and ended up out for a throw-in on the far side.

Martinez moved to change things with an hour gone, withdrawing Mirallas for Gerard Deulofeu and Osman for Darron Gibson but the fresh legs had only been on the field a few minutes when referee Moss struck again with an incident distrubingly similar to one in this fixture last season where Marouane Fellaini was penalised for nothing.

Zabaleta's run into the box had not been tracked but as Coleman belatedly tried to get goal side, his outstretched arm brushed the Argentine and he simply crumpled to the ground in what would ordinarily have been a lame attempt to win a foul. Moss fell for it and pointed to the spot, Aguero took the penalty, Howard managed to paw it onto the post, only for the ball to bounce off the American's head an into the goal. It was that sort of day and that was more or less that as the Blues were largely a spent force.

Arouna Kone replaced the flagging Lukaku late on but offered little beyond an inexplicable daisy-cutter from 25-plus yards that Hart scooped up easily and the game fizzled out towards the final whistle and Everton's first defeat of the Premier League campaign.

This was, unfortunately, one of those games where the gulf in resources and, consequently, quality between City and Everton was cruelly underscored. Pellegrini's men were, as they should be with all that money and talent, just too good on the day and though Everton will count the cost of some slack defending, question their own inabiity to sustain the form they showed in patches in the first half and point to Moss' awful decision-making at crucial junctures, Martinez can have few qualms about the result.

Of course, though this does put the damper on that rising optimism, it is a long season and the top four or Europa League qualification is not out of the question if the manager can tinker with his team and start getting more consistency out of his players over the 90 minutes. Certainly, in Lukaku, they have the vital ingredient that was missing for the vast majority of David Moyes's reign and that is a reliable, powerful and clinical goalscorer. With better and more consistent service, the Belgian has the talent to score the goals to win Everton games but it does need to be provided more consistently.

The loss of Gareth Barry's calming influence and ability to break up opposition attacks was also a factor but so, too, was the shortage of ideas in the final third, particularly after City's defensive rock, Kompany, had left the fray. He will be back for the Hull game and it's by winning those sorts of games that the Blues will stay in the reckoning for Europe this season; a win at the Etihad would have been an unexpected bonus, but it wasn't to be.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Summary

A very good competitive first half saw Everton take the lead off a lovely long ball that Lukaku picked up and drove home off Hart. but City responded with a very good through ball that beat the defence, Negredo beating Howard. It was cat and mouse with good football from both sides but two penalty calls for Everton ignored, while refereeing in the build-up to City's second goal before the break causing concern to the Blues. Everton looked poor after the break and increasingly frustrated with the referee after a very poor penalty call allowed City to go further ahead. In the end, Everton offered no threat to Hart's goal.

Kevin Mirallas was fit enough to start but Darron Gibson with a possible knee injury preventing him from starting the game,  Gareth Barry was ineligible and Steven Pienaar missing with an injury (hamstring).

The early exchanges showed Everton's desire to keep possession and take the game to City while dictating the pace, but City looked to be the slightly better side when in possession.

A very good competitive first half saw Everton take the lead off a lovely long ball that Lukaku picked up and drove home off Hart. but City responded with a very good through ball, Negredo beating Howard. It was cat and mouse with good football from both sides but two penalty calls for Everton ignored, while refereeing in the build-up to City's second goal before the break causing concern to the Blues. Everton looked poor after the break and increasingly frustrated with the referee after a very poor penalty call allowed City to go further ahead. In the end, Everton offered no threat to Hart's goal.

Toure got a shot in for City that led to the first corner but it looked that Mirallas would make a good break down the left but he delayed a little and could not complete the pass to Lukaku. City came back and won a very soft free-kick off Osman. Kolarov whipped in it just outside Howard's post.

By the 10-minute mark, City were starting to take more control, despite some stalwart defending by the Blues, but Lukaku's touch on the outball was hugely disappointing, leading to a second City corner that was headed just over. Everton responded with another slow and patient build-up but when City got possession and came back at them in a really tense cat and mouse game.

A really nice, simple piece of football saw Everton take the lead with a lovely timed ball over the top from Jagielka that Lukaku ran onto, controls brilliantly and drives in off Hart's extended arm. But immediately Negredo had the equalizer, an easy through ball that beat the Everton defence.

Kompany picked up the first Yellow for a somewhat robust challenge. Kolarov then won another easy free-kick that City worked very well, Aguero easily in behind the defence, goal at his mercy, but he drove the shot wide of Howard's far post.

Some excellent determination by Everton saw Barkley resist well to scoop a nice ball in for Mirallas to force a good save off Hart but the Belgian was called offside. Another good break after a corner saw Lukaku cut down but Moss played advantage and it should have been a sweeping attack but Mirallas had strayed fractionally offside. Kompany sat down and needed replacing by Nastasic just after the half-hour.

The game was very well balanced with each side having good possession and building well. Naismith got the ball and looked to have been fouled inside the City area as he turned inside but somehow his body language gave the referee

Aguero had a great chance but wanted the ball on his right foot and stumbled awkwardly, squandering a very easy chance, and allowing Everton to counter again.

Naismith scooped a hopeful ball forward for Lukaku to chase but Nastasic was allowed to push him over just as he looked to collect the ball... Penalty?!? Er... no, not according to the increasingly questionable refereeing of Mr Jon Moss.

Aguero got free and fired another shot well wide before Negredo and Coleman set too a little bit after Negrodo dived on the slightest contact with Coleman... The two players squared up while Everton went forward, the referee following the play, and were still at it when the ball came back, with Distin and Jagielka out of position, allowing City to finally break them down, Aguero getting in behind and firing in very hard from a wide angle despite attention form Distin to beat Howard well with a fearsome shot.

Barkley was again guilty of losing the ball too easily and another chance developed for City, Jagielka rescuing it this time with a vital interception. Everton tried to break but Milner made a red-card challenge on McCarthy just as the move began, and Moss almost reluctantly showed him the yellow card as he blew for half-time, with Everton clearly annoyed at him for not disciplining Negredo in the build-up for City's second goal.

City's better pace and greater ball skills were evident after the break as Everton struggled to keep the ball long enough to create any threat. Some slick passing into the Everton area had the Blues transfixed at times as the home side threatened to destroy Everton's unbeaten record.

Barkley had a moment of tremendous vision, playing in Mirallas but it was just too heavy for the Belgian to put in the shot. Naismith's cross was needlessly overhit and Everton were soon under pressure again but Toure could only shoot high and wide

Naismith was guilty of pushing Kolarov into Negredo whose elbow caught Kolarov above the eye, causing a lot of bleeding. Clichy replaced him. Martinez had watched City's dominance since the break and decided to bring Gibson and Deulofeu on after the hour mark, in place of Osman and Mirallas.

The changes didn't seem to perk Everton up that much initially, as Zabaleta went off for treatment to a bloody nose. Everton were not passing the ball with enough accuracy while City swarmed forward with pace on each turnover, and it was all too predictable that the referee would give City a very soft penalty when Coleman gave Zabaleta the excuse to collapse in a heap under no pressure whatsoever. An obvious dive, as pointed out to the referee by Howard and Distin, both getting booked for protesting the disgusting spot-kick decision that Aguero converted cruelly off the back of Howard's head after the Everton keeper had pushed the ball onto the post with good anticipation, coming so close to saving it.

It needed some tremendous defence to dispossess Negredo who had got free on the left. Everton were simply too laclklustre when they did have possession, lacking the creativity and threat on the attack, with Deulofeu unable to do his magic. Lukaku was very poor with his touch. Zabaleta was carded when he chopped down Baines in full flow but the threat off the free-kick was weak, Distin heading into Hart's arms.

Coleman became the seventh player booked. With nothing to lose, Kone came on for Lukaku, who had offered little threat and been poor overall, apart from his goal that should have set Everton on course. Kone was far too easily dispossessed and it set up another City attack, where the ball seemed glued to the City players' feet, the Blues really struggling to raise their game.

To give them credit, they tried but the ball just would not run for them in the City area, and Naismith got carded for a foul. Kone got some space and chose to drive a low shot form way out straight at Hart; very poor. City were able to see the game out far too comfortably.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Six games into the 2013-14 season, Everton remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League as the frustration of three draws to start the campaign has given way to the immense satisfaction of recording three League wins on the bounce.

Monday's victory over Newcastle under the Goodison lights lifted the Blues into the familiar environs of the top four, a spot they held until Christmas last year after an unusually strong start under David Moyes, but they face their sternest test of Roberto Martinez's tenure so far when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.

The deposed Champions replaced Roberto Mancini with Manuel Pellegrini and spent big over the summer, leading many oddsmakers to install them alongside Chelsea as hot favourites to challenge Manchester United for the Premier League Title this season. However, erratic form thus far means that Martinez's Everton sit above them in the table coming into this weekend's programme.

Successive defeats to Aston Villa last Saturday and Bayern Munich have checked City's progress on the domestic and European fronts and led many to question whether the malaise that afflicted Mancini's expensively-assembled but disjointed side remains a blight on the Pellegrini reign.

Though their dressing down by Bayern took place on their own turf at the Etihad Stadium, their last home game in the Premier League was a comprehensive dismantling of neighbours Manchester United and there will likely be a forceful attempt by Pellegrini's men to make a statement of intent to get their season back on an even keel this weekend.

Martinez used his Thursday press conference to express that he is under no illusions about the size of the task that awaits his team but, by the same token, having seen off Chelsea already this season, his players will travel up the M62 with confidence that they can exploit any doubt in City's minds and spring a surprise.

Everton will have to do without new central midfield linchpin, Gareth Barry, though, as the loanee is ineligible to face his parent club and with Darron Gibson struggling to attain 100% fitnessafter mostly recovering from a knee injury,Martinez may have to do some reorganising in midfield.

He has options, however, including James McCarthy being asked to fill in as the holding midfielder alongside Leon Osman and deploying Steven Naismith wide right, or handing John Heitinga a rare appearance in the defensive midfield role and keeping McCarthy further forward.

Naismith may end up being a guaranteed starter anyway as Kevin Mirallas is a doubt after twisting his ankle taking a corner in the first half on Monday night but it's hard to see any changes in defence or up front.

This side of Manchester has been a relatively happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years, of course, where they have won on four of their last six visits and might have triumphed again last season were it not for a scandalous decision by referee Lee Probert that gifted City an equaliser via the penalty spot.

What should be uppermost in Martinez's mind is that, if his team can get at City and strike early, they can hopefully unsettle them and grow further those seeds of self-doubt in the former Champions' minds. As Villa and Cardiff before them demonstrated, they can be vulnerable when seriously examined and there is opportunity there for Everton while Romelu Lukaku is on the prowl.

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
Key Links
  Match Reports
  Home Teamsheet
  Everton Teamsheet
  Premier League Scores
  Premier League Table
  Match Preview
Match Reports
2013-14 Reports Index
< Newcastle (H) Hull City (H) >
 Everton fans' reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Report
 Paul Traill Report
MAN CITY (4-4-2)
  Zabaleta booked:78'
  Kolarov (58' Clichy)
  Kompany booked:25' (33' Nastasic)
  Milner booked:45+2'
  Fernandinho booked:89'
  Silva booked:74'
  Aguero (79' Nasri)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard booked:65'
  Distin booked:65'
  Coleman booked:88'
  Osman (63' Gibson)
  Naismith booked:87'
  Mirallas (63' Deulofeu)
  Lukaku (82' Kone)
  Subs not used
  Barry (inelligible)
  Alcaraz (injured)
  McAleny (injured)
  Pienaar (injured)
  Duffy (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)

Premier League Scores
Cardiff 1 - 2 Newcastle
Fulham 1 - 0 Stoke City
Hull 0 - 0 Aston Villa
Liverpool 3 - 1 C Palace
Man City 3 - 1 Everton
Sunderland1 1 - 2 Man United
Norwich 1 - 3 Chelsea
So'hampton 2 - 0 Swansea
Tottenham 0 - 3 West Ham
West Brom 1 - 1 Arsenal

Team Pts
1 Arsenal 16
2 Liverpool 16
3 Chelsea 14
4 Southampton 14
5 Manchester City 13
6 Tottenham Hotspur 13
7 Everton 12
8 Hull City 11
9 Manchester United 10
10 Aston Villa 10
11 Newcastle United 10
12 West Bromwich Albion 9
13 Cardiff City 9
14 West Ham United 8
15 Swansea City 7
16 Stoke City 7
17 Norwich City 7
17 Fulham 7
19 Crystal Palace 3
20 Sunderland 1

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.