Everton 2 Man City 3: Three talking points
Everton 2 Man City 3: Three talking points as the Citizens move to the top of the Premier League table
Could it be twice in a Blue Moon?
A few weeks ago, nobody was mentioning Manchester City and the title under the same breath. The outright favourites at the start of the season had seemingly blown their chances while Liverpool breezed their way to the top of the table. However, Jose Mourinho’s adamant claims that City were the ‘real’ league leaders due to their games in hand may just have been correct. Following slip ups by Liverpool (and Gerrard) and Chelsea, City have quietly gone about their business and picked up three wins on the bounce to reignite their title credentials. Two goals from Edin Dzeko mean City are potentially two wins away from their second title in three years. While it wasn’t the most comprehensive nor dominant of performances from the champions elect, they leave Goodison Park with a key three points. Manuel Pellegrini will look to focus his side on their possession retention in training to get his side over the line, and Roberto Martinez’s Everton are perfect models of that ethos.
Brilliant Barkley books Brazil berth
Ross Barkley couldn’t have hoped for a better afternoon, save an Everton victory. It’s easy to forget that this really is Barkley’s full season in the Toffees’ first team. The 20 year old capped a bursting performance with a stunning strike on 11 minutes, curling a first-time shot into the top corner with the inside of his boot from 25 yards. It got the crowd, including England manager Roy Hodgson, on their feet, and the young midfielder continued to stake his claim for a spot on the plane to Brazil with a fulsome and lively showing. Barkley’s relentless dribbles and one-two’s kept the City defence on its toes, and certainly has the makings of a future star.
Martinez experiment pays off in long term, but not today
There certainly can be no complaints from the stands about the appointment of Roberto Martinez as David Moyes’ successor, with the Spaniard’s focus on possession retention, counter attacking, and intense pressure in winning the ball back lauded by the fans. However, Martinez must be careful not to experiment too much, as the Everton faithful can be quick to turn. The 3-4-3 formation deployed against City turned sour as the midfield battle was yielded to the visitors from almost the first whistle. Leighton Baines looked far from comfortable in the advanced position he was asked to play, though a late rally could have vindicated Martinez’s decision. While the football was still exciting, fluid and attack minded, the untried formation perhaps lead to the home side’s undoing, especially against such a strong, battling opposition in City.