Published on December 8th, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman2
Manchester City 1-0 Everton | The City Nitty Gritty
“A tainted victory”
It was another really important win for the Blues under difficult circumstances, and it keeps us within touching distance of Chelsea going into Christmas.
The injury to Sergio Aguero in the opening minutes of the game was a massive kick to the guts for everyone involved at Manchester City, and seeing the Argentinian go off in tears made it all the worse. However, I thought our response after that unfortunate incident was brilliant, and for the team to still stay focused and get the 3 points somewhat comfortably takes a lot of skill and professionalism.
I was both surprised and delighted to see Jose Pozo replace Sergio after the injury, as he was literally thrown in the deep end at such a crucial point in the game. But the Spaniard proved that he’s more than capable of handling pressure by how much confidence he played with, and that’s promising to see at such a young age. I think it would have been the wrong decision to bring Edin Dzeko on at that point, as he’d only just got back from injury and would have slowed the game down too much, so on that basis it was the correct decision by Manuel Pellegrini.
Even though I thought we deserved the win overall, you can’t deny that we had our fair share of luck on Saturday.
The penalty earned by James Milner was our first stroke of luck, as a lot of referees wouldn’t have given it due to the fact that there wasn’t a lot of intention from Phil Jagielka, but having said that – I’d still say that there was enough there to give it. I think James Milner’s reputation might have just swayed Andre Marriner’s decision in the end, as he isn’t the sort of player who goes down for no reason, and he even tried to carry on going once he was brought down – so you have to respect him for that.
We could have also possibly had 2 red cards throughout the course of the game. Eliaquim Mangala was the first to get lucky, as he planted his foot on the back of Samuel Eto’o during a corner for no reason, and if the referee had seen it properly then it would have been the Frenchman’s second red card in just 2 games. Fernando was also fortunate to stay on the pitch with his high boot on Gareth Barry, which subsequently struck him on the face, and I must admit I thought he was a goner the moment I saw it happen.
I suppose you do have to have an element of luck when playing at this sort of level, as we’ve seen the likes of United and Chelsea do it for years in the Premier League, but it still takes a little gloss off the victory anyway.
That doesn’t mean that there still wasn’t positives to take from the game, as there were plenty! Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure were absolutely unplayable at times, and I’d go as far as saying that it was Samir Nasri’s best performance in a blue shirt, but since football’s a team game – you have to say that there were lots of others who were influential to the win.
Joe Hart had a very mixed game, for most of the match he was carelessly giving away possession and took too long to distribute the ball, but his save to deny Romelu Lukaku’s volley was sensational, and just proves the theory that great players can still make a difference even when they’ve had a bad game.
Overall I thought it was a very entertaining game, we closed Everton down very well and won a lot more 50:50 battles than we normally do. But we made it unnecessarily difficult for ourselves towards the end of the game by bringing on Edin Dzeko, a player who we all know doesn’t work very hard, when Everton were beginning to get a bit of momentum. We’d have been better off leaving Pozo on the pitch instead, as he’s most like Aguero in the way in which he can keep the ball well and force the opposition into mistakes, but at least we still managed to hang on to the lead in the end.
Next up we play Roma in the UEFA Champions League, and if that game wasn’t hard enough already, we’ll have to do it without another one of our best players.
However, we proved that we are more than capable of winning without him at the weekend, and so they should try to take the same approach on Wednesday. It’s going to be another massive test for the Blues this week, but I have every confidence that they can pull through if they stay calm, focused and do what they do best!