Published on January 7th, 2016 | by Daniel Cheeseman1
Everton 2-1 Manchester City | Daniel Cheeseman
“The sticky Toffees”
Before I start, I’d just like to say that I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year – I can’t thank you enough for returning to read my first blog of 2016 and hopefully I can continue to produce content that’s of somewhat interest to you all! 🙂
Now, onto the tasty stuff!
I don’t think I’ve ever found myself describing City’s performances as ‘frustrating’ more than I have done already this season – and yesterday was no different.
Now that I’ve said that, I’m sure many of you will be thinking “he obviously didn’t watch City in the old days then if he thinks this is the most frustrating season!”, but I can assure you that I remember the bad times from when I was younger as if it were yesterday. The point I’m trying to make is that back then it wasn’t as frustrating as our expectation levels were really low, but now that they’re much higher due to the quality of the team and the money being thrown around, it makes it virtually impossible not to feel this way.
I’m by no means a sore loser, as the fact that we lost to Everton isn’t what disappointed me, but there’s such a thing as being gracious in defeat – and it feels like we haven’t done that once this season.
People might think I’m over-exaggerating as it’s ‘only’ the League Cup and there’s another leg still to come yet, but shouldn’t it still be a slight cause for concern that one of our strongest starting elevens (on paper) was outplayed and out-battled by a side that haven’t won at home since November?
It’s true that in bursts City looked a threat going forward, but the problem is that the key word there is “bursts” – and that’s not really good enough for a side with such great talent. Whenever the Blues didn’t have possession (which felt like most of the game) they looked uninterested and very ordinary, whereas Roberto Martinez’ side were comfortable on the ball and fought well to win it back throughout the match.
It was strange to see so many of our usually solid performers under performing. Yaya, Silva, de Bruyne and Aguero all looked a shadow of their former selves, the only players I thought deserved any credit were Sagna, Otamendi and possibly Caballero – other than that I thought the rest of the team were a 5 or a 6 out of 10 at best.
As if it wasn’t bad enough already, the icing on the cake came when Pellegrini decided to bring on Fernando for de Bruyne in extra time – while Everton were down to 10 men. If he’d have left the Belgian on or brought on Iheanacho or Sterling instead then the Blues would have been much better equipped to pile on the attack and possibly get another crucial away goal, but to everyone’s confusion and frustration it seemed that they were content with the score staying at 2-1.
There were other incidents in the game which I could talk about, for example the Navas penalty claim, but I don’t see much point as they were just specific moments, rather than the performance as a whole. But just for the record, even if we would have had a penalty it’d have felt unjustified to come away from Goodison with anything better than a defeat.
In the end the only consolation or excuse I can come up with for that performance is that it was only the first leg and so, whether morally right or wrong, the Blues felt they didn’t need to put in as much effort. On the positive side, at least we managed to score an away goal (and a great one at that) which could prove to be important should we only narrowly beat them at the Etihad later this month.
Pellegrini and co. will have the opportunity to redeem themselves this weekend if they can get a result at Norwich in the FA Cup, as I’m sure it’ll be a tough test, but to be honest if they play as they did on Wednesday night I can’t see much hope for them unfortunately!