Bouncing back

Everton offered the perfect response to their FA Cup exit as Man City's title hopes were dented.

Last Updated: 16/03/13 at 17:14

David Moyes demanded a response from his Everton players after last weekend's FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic and the Scot will be delighted with what he saw against Manchester City. Everton didn't shirk a challenge, posed an attacking threat and defended with great discipline to keep in the hunt for European qualification.

As for City, it was another huge dent in the faltering defence of their Premier League title and yet another defeat against Everton, who have now won nine of the last 12 meetings. City rightly felt aggrieved at not being awarded a late penalty, but even a draw was hardly merited after a disappointing performance.

Selection

Everton boss Moyes made two changes to his starting line-up in response to last weekend's FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic. Darron Gibson replaced another former Manchester United player Phil Neville in midfield, while Victor Anichebe was given a start up front at the expense of the out-of-form Nikica Jelavic.

City made four changes to the team which hammered Barnsley as goalkeeper Joe Hart was predictably restored in place of Costel Pantilimon and Matija Nastasic came in for former Everton defender Joleon Lescott. Yaya Toure was ruled out with a migraine, so Javi Garcia was handed a midfield role and James Milner was selected ahead of Samir Nasri.

Tactics

Nothing out of the ordinary for Everton as Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar occupied the wide positions and Marouane Fellaini supplied the support for Anichebe. Even when Everton went down to 10 men, Moyes didn't panic as Fellaini dropped in alongside Darron Gibson, with Leon Osman moving wide. Effective substitutions ensured Everton were still a threat going forward and were not constantly pinned back despite their numerical disadvantage.

City started with a 3-4-3 formation, with Pablo Zabaleta, Kolo Toure and Nastasic at the back but, despite repeated experiments with this system this season, it doesn't seem to work. Mancini changed to a 4-4-2 before half-time, but it didn't make a great deal of difference and there was nothing inspired about City's changes once Pienaar had been sent off.

Substitutions

Everton's substitutions can sometimes appear a little predictable as, not for the first time this season, Steven Naismith came on for Mirallas with 20 minutes to go. However, Naismith did inject fresh energy into the team and ensured Everton were able to pose a threat going forward, even with 10 men. In the final minute, Moyes introduced Jelavic for Anichebe and the Croatian striker rewarded the decision by scoring the second goal - his first in the Premier League since early December.

City also made a first change with 20 minutes remaining as the more creative talents of Nasri were brought on for the industrious Barry, but to no great impact. Gael Clichy and Scott Sinclair replaced Toure and Milner with seven minutes left, but the duo offered little to trouble the home side.

Key Men

Seamus Coleman was excellent for Everton and allied a superb defensive performance by offering a constant menace down the right-hand side. His headed clearance to prevent Tevez meeting Aleksandar Kolarov's cross with nine minutes to go was magnificent. Jan Mucha was starting only his second Premier League game in goal for Everton, but he was a more than able deputy for the injured Tim Howard. Mucha produced a superb double stop to deny Tevez and Milner on 67 minutes before later rushing out of his goal to thwart Zabaleta.

It turned out to be a day when City's key men didn't really rise to the occasion, with Tevez perhaps the pick of the bunch. His effort never dipped and he came close on a couple of occasions, but City lacked in creativity and missed Yaya Toure. The Ivorian may not have been at his best consistently this season, but his presence was certainly missed at Goodison Park.

Referee

Lee Probert had probably one of the most difficult games to referee this season and left both camps feeling aggrieved at the final whistle. Probert wasn't responsible for Mirallas having a goal harshly ruled out for offside and he was spot on in booking Fellaini and Pienaar for rash first-half challenges. Though Moyes felt Pienaar wasn't unjustly sent off, Probert could easily have shown the midfielder a straight red card for his ugly challenge on Garcia. However, Probert then failed to book Milner for a poor tackle on Mirallas before infuriating City with four minutes to go when he awarded a free-kick, rather than penalty, when Fellaini handballed three yards inside the box.

Looking ahead

Speaking after the game, Osman challenged Everton to win their remaining nine games in order to qualify for Europe and three points will be expected at home to Stoke City after the international break. A home date with Queens Park Rangers is sandwiched by away games against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, and it is those two matches on their travels which are likely to define Everton's season now.

The title is now surely beyond City and the priority will be fending off Tottenham and Chelsea in the fight for second spot. A home meeting with Newcastle should offer City the chance to resume Premier League action in two weeks' time on a winning note before the Manchester derby follows. At the very least, City will target victory at Old Trafford to raise morale, even if it is likely to have little bearing on the title race.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

tk421
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

S

unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

megabrow (cufc)
A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

T

his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

hump3.
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

Footer 365

Premier League: David Silva inspires Manchester City to 3-0 win over Crystal Palace

Manchester City moved level on points with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Premier League: Joe Hart agrees long-term contract with Manchester City

Joe Hart has signed a new long-term contract which keeps him at Manchester City until the end of the 2018-19 season.

Premier League: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says Manchester United can still win title

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes Saturday's opponents Manchester United can still win the Barclays Premier League.

Mail Box

More Players In The Wrong Bloody Shirt

Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, who looks 'heart-breakingly well-suited to a Real Madrid shirt' according to one United fan. Plus, words from the good doctor and plenty more...

Players Plainly Wearing The Wrong Strip...

There are some players who just look plain daft in whatever shirt they're wearing. Like Cesc and Robin. It's a cracking mailbox with a load of different themes...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property