CITY 0 EVERTON 2
25th February 2008
scorers Yakubu(30), Lescott(38)
Everton Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Osman, Neville, Carsley, Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu – subs Fernandes(56), Johnson(67), Wessels(unused), Valente(unused), Anichebe(unused)
Everton thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win to complete a double over us.
It was always going to be tight but although we had plenty of possession, particularly in the second half, we didn’t have Everton’s steep. They did a really professional job on us.
They also showed why they bought Yakubu. He has his critics and he upset his manager recently by returning late from the Africa Cup of Nations. But he scores 15-20 goals a season and was a handful on Monday night.
I think our lads were playing for offside when Tim Cahill found Yakubu unmarked in the six yard box but you can’t afford to take that risk so close to your goal. I’ve always argued that prevention is better than the cure so you have to try to stop the opposition from getting balls in from wide positions.
Then Everton scored again soon afterwards when Richard Dunne got caught by the flight of the ball from Lee Carsley’s cross and Joleon Lescott, who scored Everton’s winner against us at Goodison Park last month, nodded it back over Joe Hart. It was a free header and we were 2-0 down.
Sven, who had started the game with the team that won at Old Trafford, quite rightly, sent on Elano at the start of the second half in place of Didi Hamann and later made two further substitutions in an effort to salvage the game. But Everton were very resolute and played with the confidence of a team in form and one that had just come off a really good result in Europe.
I seem to remember that City didn’t have a shot on target until the last minute at Goodison Park and it was pretty much the same story on Monday. If you don’t buy a raffle ticket you can’t expect to win the prize.
There was a lot of pressure on Benjani in his home debut and after what he had done at Old Trafford but I don’t think any of the City players reproduced their derby match form, although Joe Hart made some fine saves in front of the watching England coach Fabio Cal Joe will still have been very disappointed to let in two goals.
I thought it would be a bonus for us that Everton were without Mikel Arteta, who has been outstanding for them this season. But they were still too good for us and could have won by more than two goals. They certainly had a good case for at least one penalty for a blatant handball.
City’s frustration came to the boil when Martin Petrov got himself sent off in injury time for a show of petulance. He had done the same thing a few minutes earlier and got away with it. How stupid is that?
ADAPTED FROM GARY OWENS COLUMN IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 1ST MARCH 2008