Game in a sentence

Everton continue to trouble the giants but fail to leave Etihad with a momentous win.

Observations

  • No Kevin Mirallas for Everton, but David Moyes & Co. would be relieved by the presence of Leighton Baines in the starting lineup. For City, Carlos Tevez drew his first start in three games, partnering with Edin Dzeko in Manchester City’s merry go round strike tandem.
  • Both keepers were called upon often. Tim Howard was the busier of the two in the early moments. The American battled with Dzeko in the box after an excellent cross from Maicon. Howard emerged unscathed. It’s been an up and down season for Everton’s last line of defense. After some egregious gaffes in the early going, Howard has performed well in recent weeks.
  • Another week, another slow start from Manchester City. Plodding was the word used by the announcer — an apt description in my mind. Everton were comfortable in the City half, but were unable to find a breakthrough after successful link play between Naismith, Osman and Fellaini.
  • Yaya Toure played much deeper — a sign of Mancini’s respect for Everton’s attacking prowess. With that the case, David Silva and Samir Nasri would have to be proactive in leading the City offense. They struggled in the first half. Enough so that Mancini chewed out Silva as both teams headed for the tunnel — a punishment normally reserved for Mario Balotelli.
  • The man with the magic hair — and magic touch — would open the scoring in the 33rd minute. Baines drifted in a well placed ball that Kompany could only get a slight touch on. Joe Hart did incredibly well to foil Fellaini’s first attempt, but the Belgian cleaned up the rebound to put Everton ahead. We saw what he can do in open space, his left footed strike against Arsenal was superb. This is the other side of Marouane Fellaini, a garbage man in the box. His price tag increases by the day.
  • Carloz Tevez was City’s best player on this day. Drawing bench duties in the past three games — Mancini claimed he was not at the peak of his powers, he’s a warlock now — the Argentinian striker created problems for Phil Jagielka throughout.
  • Penalty. From a corner, Dzeko was pulled down in the box by Fellaini in the 42nd minute. It’s a play that goes without punishment at least 10 times throughout the course of a weekend. In this case, Lee Probert ruled it a penalty, a decision that was correct in my books. Tevez converted. 1-1.
  • Maybe the brief exchange of words between Silva and Mancini sparked something in the home side, as the opening of the second half saw City up the tempo. Yaya pushed forward, but Dzeko was a liability up front. Eventually he would replaced by Balotelli, but the more controversial substitution before hand. Sergio Aguero came on for Carlos Tevez in the 68th, a move welcomed with a chorus of boos from the Etihad faithful.
  • Everton withstood the City onslaught, responding with a stretch of 10 dominating minutes of their own towards the end of the game. Nikica Jelavić’s late free kick was handled by Hart, who nearly made a mess of it. Both teams walk away with a point — two very different ones at that.
  • The Toffees had a stellar week, playing excellent football against two of the leagues best teams. Eventually they’ll need more than moral victories in these games. One point against the titans is no longer good enough for a team that is this good.
  • City’s slow starts — though their opponent today made nothing easy  — came back to haunt them again. Manchester United can move to the top of the table with a win against Reading.

Three stars

1. Marouane Fellaini

2. Carlos Tevez

3. Tim Howard