LAST WEEKEND’S CHELSEA win at Anfield made it advantage Manchester City in the Premier League race. Manuel Pellegrini’s needed to overcome Everton at Goodison this evening before returning to Eastlands for their final two games of the season.
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16.57 – Good evening one. Good evening all.
Let me whet your collective football hunger with the two starting line-ups for this crucial Premier League clash of third and fifth.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Alcaraz, Baines; McCarthy, Osman, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku.
16.58 – That man Yaya Toure is in the starting line-up against and Edin Dzeko, who scored against Crystal Palace last weekend, is up front with Kun Aguero.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Garcia, Yaya Toure, Milner, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko.
Source: Sky Sports
“It would be very, very unfortunate to finish on 75 points and not get fourth spot… we have to do everything possible to get to 75 points.” Them’s fighting words from Roberto Martinez.
17.24 – Here’s the first Press Association picture from Goodison Park. Check your pulses, it’s Joe Hart in his Man City PJs.
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
17.27 – What do the Sky Sports lads have to say? Graeme Souness has doubts due to City’s loss to Wigan this season. “That puts a question mark on this City team.” I missed Jamie Redknapp. He probably said “literally” followed by something ground-breaking.
17.30 – Here’s a tale of my Fantasy Football woe before we kick-off. I went for broke this week, chasing some chaps 50-odd points ahead. My gamble was to swap Suarez with Aguero and make him captain. I also brought in Antonio Valencia for -4 points. The winger did not even play a minute for Manchester United today. United lost 1-0 to Sunderland. Here is our report:
17.31 – KICK-OFF
17.32 – 2 mins - Aguero canters down the left and cuts in but his pass cannot find Dzeko in the box.
Do Everton sit back and play rope-a-dope against a City team that need to win? The tactic worked well against Arsenal then Manchester United in recent weeks.
17.34 – 3 mins – A better Aguero cross but Dzeko is too slow to react this time. Garcia has a pop from 25 yards out but it strikes a Toffee.
17.37 – 6 mins - Both sides settle into a steady rhythm but Everton have yet to string together and meaningful possession in the City half.
17.39 – 8 mins - McCarthy caught in possession after a loose pass in his direction. Jagielka forced to give away a corner after hacking clear. Garcia rises highest but his header is straight at Howard.
17.40 – 9 mins - Aguero nips past a sliding Barkley and tees up Zabaleta but the right-back hits it into the troposphere.
17.41 – GOAL EVERTON!
17.44 – Everton 1-0 Man City (Barkley ’11)
Everton break up Coleman’s right flank. He finds Naismith who tees Barkley up. No-one is expecting him to curl in a 25-yarder but he does just that. Stunner.
17.44 – Here is the goal. Remarkable, clean strike.
17.47 – What did you make of that Noel Gallagher?
Source: EMPICS Sport
17.48 – 17 mins - Strangely muted atmosphere at Goodison. Everton lead but the City fans are making the most noise since that goal.
17.51 – 20 mins - Coleman breaks up the left wing but puts too much salt on his cross. Barkley then goes on a mazy run, is felled in the box and Everton appeal for a penalty. Kompany got the ball, however. Just about.
17.52 – GOAL! Everton 1-1 Man City (Aguero ’21)
17.54 – Toure slips in Aguero, who eases onto the throttle and smacks a slow shot between Howard and his near post. Goalkeeper will ask himself questions about that.
17.57 – 26 mins - Not looking good for Aguero who is down getting treatment on the halfway line. Three different injuries for the Argentine this season. He limps off and Fernandinho is on.
18.01 – 30 mins - Everton dictating the pace since that Aguero switch. City reorganising and Toure crafts a dangerous cut-back but Jagielka clears.
18.04 – 33 mins - City are keeping the home side at bay. Most of the action happening in the centre of the pitch but Joe Hart has not been troubled, or stirred, since the Barkley goal.
18.08 – We’ve posted up the game’s two goals for your visual pleasure. You can check them out here: This is the Ross Barkley crackerjack that has Man City sweating against Everton
18.09 – 38 mins - Dzeko having one of those languid games that often frustrate his supporters before his inevitable, headed goal contribution.
18.13 – 41 mins - Very flat out there at the moment. Not helping the tempo of the game at all. Interesting that Pellegrini did not put Negredo on when Aguero limped off. Naismith shoots wide from distance.
18.14 – GOAL! Everton 1-2 Man City (Dzeko ’43)
Oo-er, called that one. Milner makes a mug out of Baines and whips in a great cross from the right wing. Dzeko rises highest and unmarked to power past Howard from 10 yards out.
18.16 – This is the goal, in all its GIF glory:
18.17 – 46 mins - Coleman with a foray up the wing but he is shut down. Everton fans remaining pretty quiet as the City followers sing away.
Stones gets a cross in but Lukaku’s swipe goes well over.
18.18 – 48 mins - That is that for the first half and Pellegrini will be pleased with everything bar that Aguero injury.
18.20 – HALF-TIME
What do you Liverpool fans make of the muted atmosphere at Goodison Park so far? How are the nerves?
18.33 – This city fan got a little too excited and fell off his seat when Aguero scored. Where is he now?
18.34 – KICK-OFF
18.36 – 46 mins - What a save from Joe Hart! Naismith was sure he had scored but the England No.1 got his fingertips to it. Nice break and assist from Barkley but no goal.
18.38 – GOAL! Everton 1-3 Man City (Dzeko ’47)
That could be that. Nasri gets the ball in the box, his pass finds Dzeko on his lonesome from four yards out. Tap-in, goal. Noel Gallagher hugs his buddies in the comfy seated section.
18.39 – Here is that Hart save. City went straight up the other end of the pitch after Hart saved the resulting corner and scored.
Source: Sky Sports
18.41 – 51 mins - City losing the run of themselves. They left Di Michelis on his own at the back as they streamed forward. They lost the ball and the Greek was just in ahead of Naismith to nip the ball away and clear.
18.43 – 53 mins - Barkley wins a corner with a shot that is deflected wide. One man versus 11 men it has often seemed.
18.48 – 58 mins - City content to sit back and pounce in numbers when everton attacks break down. 14 league goals from Dzeko as he has enjoyed a return to form after being used mainly as a sub, and cup specialist, under Roberto Mancini.
18.51 – 61 mins - Everton slowly coming to life. I am sure Martinez tried to spur his side on at half-time but that early goal knocked the stuffing out of them. Lukaku tees up Osman for a swipe on goal but he is flagged offside.
18.55 – GOAL! Everton 2-3 Man City (Lukaku ’65)
Wonderful cross from Baines and Lukaku heads in off the post. No saving that. Kolarov comes on for Toure. A nervy finish coming up?
18.56 – City wanted offside for that goal but it was marginal. Lukaku did look at the linesman before celebrating. Possible tell-tale sign that the forward was not certain himself.
18.58 – 69 mins - Deulofeu is on for Jagielka as Everton press for the equaliser. I was expecting to have my feet up for the final 20 minutes but I may have to work/report up a storm. This could yet be a 4-4…
19.01 – 71 mins - Zabaleta should make it 4-2 but Naismith does well to put him off a clean strike. Howard saves well with his legs. City corner comes to now’t.
19.01 – 72 mins - City looking too flat now and are struggling to make passes stick.
19.03 – CITY SUB: Silva ON for Nasri.
19.07 – 76 mins - The Neviller is not impressed with City’s lack of urgency. The are ceding a lot of ball and territory to the Toffees. Naismith hits the deck after a Fernandinho nudge to the gullet. Weird bit of whispering in the ear there by the referee to the Scot.
78 mins - Kolarov, who has been a mix of bad and worse since coming on, gets in Dzeko’s way on the edge of the box. The Bosnian tries to tackle back and plays possum on the pitch after falling awkwardly. Ref Lee Probert is ready to book him whenever he gets off the deck. Stand-off as he will not allow a stretcher onto the pitch. Here it comes. Keystone cops malarkey.
19.12 – That delay for Dzeko was five minutes. He is holding his shoulder and City have used all their subs.
EVERTON SUB: McGeady is on.
19.13 – 83 mins - Here comes panto villain Dezko and Seamy Coleman gives him a verbal barrell for his antics. This will lead to injury time of at least six minutes.
19.14 – 85 mins - McGeady with a McGeady cross that beats no-one. Dzeko and Silva break up the left under a crescendo of boos. The Toffees faithful have awoken from their slumber.
19.17 – 88 mins – Everton have City pinned back as Deulofeu threatens down the right wing. City clear their lines but they are nervy. To the blimmin’ max.
19.18 – 89 mins - Fernandinho does really well to break up an Everton attack and almost slip Dzeko in but Howard rushes out to sweep up.
19.19 – 90 mins - Into injury time now and City are jogging about in a daze. SIX MINUTES ADDED TIME…
19.20 – 91 mins - Nervous City faces as Hart pumps a free deep into the Everton half.
19.20 – 92 mins - Silva earns City a corner. Exactly where they want to be. Short corner? Short odds.
19.21 – 93 mins - Corner is short and becomes a throw-in as Kompany jogs back to the centre of the City defence. Coleman picks Silva’s pocket to clear.
19.22 – 94 mins - Milner takes two throw-ins inside the Toffees before Silva is eventually dispossessed. Just under two minutes left.
19.23 – 94(ish) mins - Free conceded and that looks like that. Everton are fading.
19.25 – 95 mins - Dzeko nudges the ball out for an Everton throw. City are punting everything up-field. 30 seconds left.
19.25 – 96 mins - Flick on, Hart slides. Tangles with Alcaraz but no penalty.
19.26 – FULL-TIME
19.27 – Not Martinez’ style but Everton refused to pump long balls in the final stages. They passed the ball left to right with zero penetration for the final 90 seconds. City group hug it up at the final whistle. Two home games left now but nothing is yet written in stone.
Full-time: Everton 2-3 Manchester City