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Mancini savours ugly win

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Phil McNulty | 20:56 UK time, Saturday, 24 September 2011

Roberto Mancini - with fruit pastilles in one hand and Mario Balotelli in the other - savoured the taste of knowing Manchester City can win ugly as well as with beauty.

Sharing his favourite sweets with right-hand man Brian Kidd was just about the only pleasure Mancini enjoyed against obdurate Everton until Balotelli showed the other side of this peculiar footballing beast by proving the catalyst for victory.

Such was the relief around Etihad Stadium when Balotelli finally broke through Everton's royal blue wall of resistance shortly after emerging as a substitute that Mario, whose loved ones might even accept he can be a bit moody, ran into the waiting arms of a manager who has wanted to embrace him warmly by the throat on several occasions since his signing.

City have taken accolades for the finesse of performances such as the 5-1 win at Tottenham, but title challenges are not built on style alone. Mancini's side also needed to prove, to themselves as much as outsiders, that they could demonstrate persistence when faced with stubborn opponents intent on stifling their skills.

And that occasion arrived on Saturday. If Mancini has released the handbrake on City's attacking instincts, David Moyes was happy to try and park several buses in the way of Sergio Aguero and company.

Everton may have won on their last four visits to City but a point was clearly the prime objective this time as Moyes once again used Tim Cahill as an auxiliary attacker and devised a less than subtle ploy - sometimes legal, sometimes not - to subdue David Silva by detailing Jack Rodwell to shadow his every move.

Has Balotelli turned a corner with his mature performance after coming on against Everton? Photo: Getty

It was not an unqualified success despite Moyes' claim that Everton had "done a job" on the Spaniard. The close attention resulted in bookings for Rodwell and Phil Neville, while Silva hit a post before creating a late second for James Milner.

Of course the sums do not add up when you put the value of City's team against Everton's, so only the romantics would have expected Everton to stand toe to toe with City. They massed ranks around goalkeeper Tim Howard and set City a test of patience.

It took City 67 minutes to solve the puzzle. And while it was not the sort of show that destroyed Spurs, it was the type of result and performances that adds weight to the argument that City will mount a serious title challenge this season.

There are greater dimensions as well as greater talents in City's team this season. They overcame the frustrations Everton foisted upon them, along with the worries of the home support, to prevail.

Aguero has been the star performer for City this season, but on a day when he only flickered, someone else stepped forward to win the game. And it was thanks to a creative substitution from Mancini.

The sages - yes that would be plenty of us in the media area - raised our eyebrows knowingly when Balotelli was chosen ahead of Carlos Tevez to replace Edin Dzeko on the hour. What was Mancini doing? Well, he was making the move that would win the game as it turned out.

The manner of their win, a slow burner rather than spectacular, may be the template for many games at Etihad Stadium this season. Everton set out to spoil and subdue - but could not survive.

It was reminiscent of many games Everton have played at Old Trafford in recent years, when Manchester United have had to wait to win but win they did, and City can take heart from copying the way of many of the champions' victories.

And as a realist rather than a romantic, Mancini may just take as much pleasure from the grind of these three points as he might from a triumph laced with goals.

I asked Mancini if this was the case and he said: "Of course it is better to win and score lots of goals but this was difficult. We played very well and Everton defended behind the ball for the whole game.

"They are so strong, and it was not easy for us to find space or a solution, but we pushed for 90 minutes. In the end we deserved to win the game and I'm very happy with my players. They played a fantastic game."

For Everton manager Moyes the taste was more sour. He was angry at the award of a throw-in to City in the build up to Balotelli's goal and felt referee Howard Webb was swayed too easily by the crowd.

He had a case but in the end his tactics were shaped by the limitations of his squad, which persuaded him to start without a recognised striker and meant Everton barely tested City keeper Joe Hart in the entire 90 minutes.

Everton did not show the ambition of a team that has won at City on such a regular basis and once "Plan A" - defend at all costs and hope for a goal on the break - was rendered redundant by Balotelli's goal it was far too late to revert to any sort of "Plan B".

Moyes defiantly, and correctly, stated he was not "going to come here for the enjoyment of Manchester City" - but ultimately this was a joyless experience for Everton rather than their opponents.

City's cash has afforded them the luxury of a variety of game plans. And you suspect they will face many similar games to this at Etihad Stadium. Mancini will be heartened by this success as City start the season with a body of work that suggests they will give Manchester United and Chelsea a real run for their money this season.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

    What do you expect Everton to do?

    Would you go to the Camp Nou, Old Trafford and try and play them at their own game. The answer is NO. David Mayes did today what Man City did at Old Trafford, White Hart Lane and the Emirates last season.

    If we had gone to the Etihad today and tried playing attacking football, all that would have done is result in a cricket score and played in to Man City’s hands. David Silva was none existent today until Everton went 1-0 down. Rodwell did a good job keeping him quiet and was a little unlucky to get booked, as he got the ball first and more ball than he did man. As for Phil Neville David Silva crossed his path and went down like he'd been shot by a Royal Marine sniper!

    On another day the deflection off Phil Jagielka goes wide and we come away with a result, maybe even snatch a win. Everyone is then talking about a defensive master class. As it worked out, it didn’t quite come off and in the end we came away with nothing.

    Games like today is something Man City fans better get used to. Sides will go there to snatch a point not to play into Mancini's hands.

  • Comment number 4.

    Ah City this, City that. Win it and we'll believe... Chelsea are still the main threat to the holders.

  • Comment number 5.

    btw Phil, should have been at the Brittania. Stoke at home would (or should) scare barca

  • Comment number 6.

    Phil do you have an opinion on Alan Hansen's post match commentary? It's completely opposite to your view and in my opinion I think your opinion is the balanced one.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure that city would have been able to compete with the work rate of Everton if they had, quite rightly, had Kompany sent off for the ugly stamp?!

    Think City are doing well this season but there is still a long way to go and with Mancini "not having enough mifielders"(?!?!?!?!?!) they may struggle with the EPL and CL.

  • Comment number 8.

    Disappointed you've chosen not to highlight some of the more controversial parts of the game such as Kompany's violent stamp on Cahill, Fellaini being wiped out on the edge of the area in front of Webb, Lescott elbowing Cahill in the face or the throw-in that led directly to the first goal.

    But I guess having the ref onside is just one of those things that makes a successful club these days. Oh the joys of the modern money tainted game.

  • Comment number 9.

    #6

    Should Kompany have grown wings and hovered over Cahill as he slid in studs showing? Or perhaps he should have let Cahill break Kompany's leg?

    He jumped to get out of the way of a leg breaking challenge and landed on cahill, no intent it's called gravity

  • Comment number 10.

    Cahill was lucky to stay on. Hansen basically slandered Kompany on MOTD. Moyes came with a game plan which has worked before, but Mancini out thought him, put Silva in the middle, Aguerro on the right and Balotelli on the left, and won. Where was the praise for this by the "experts" on MOTD?

  • Comment number 11.

    #8

    Are you in dreamland? Only controversy was everton played 5-5-0 which worse than the 4-6-0 Scotland played against the czechs last year. Didn't play a striker and roughed up our players hence the 5 yellow cards

  • Comment number 12.

    The key questions all the would-be champions have to answer:

    1) Will they cope with key players getting injured?
    2) How will they deal with a loss of form/goals drying up?
    3) How will they cope with juggling the league & Champions League?

    For me City are good enough defensively to cope with a lack of goals. Their squad is big enough to cover injuries barring Silva or especially Hart. But picking yourself up for a weekend game after a massive midweek CL game is a new experience for them; after Napoli they dropped points at Fulham. Right now the City players will all be thinking about Bayern Munich - will they be able to raise their game again for Blackburn afterwards?

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 11

    "roughed up" are you joking? its a contact sport played at a fast pace and things happen.But there is no excuse for Kompany's stamp on cahill. I think you should ask Cahill who roughed up who?

    5 yellow cards because the ref was scared of the riches of Man City. Only good thing is the FA will have the opportunity to use the retrospective action against Kompany as somehow he wasn't sent off or even booked!

  • Comment number 14.

    #13

    You should open your eyes rather than listen to bias pundits / bitter managers.

    If Kompany didn't jump to avoid the tackle then Cahill would have broke one of his legs, in your opinion is that what he should have done? Ruined his career? Your opinion is a joke. Cahill should have seen straight red card, Torres was sent off for the same tackle.

  • Comment number 15.

    Really bitter Everton fans on here. You didn't come to win the game and you didn't so jog on. All the niggling fouls, rightly punished by Webb, the constant time-wasting by Howard (amazing how quickly he can take a goal-kick when they're behind) and not playing one forward despite having a few on the bench.

    As for the supposed stamp by Kompany - laughable. Only Moyes saw that. Cahill had just clattered him two-footed from behind and should have been the one sent off whatever that deluded idiot Hansen said.

    Great result from City showing patience, persistence and mental strength. Despite what the pundits say about having to get used to teams playing like that, no team that comes to the Etihad will be as negative as Everton were today. They even play like that at home. Moyes must be desperate to be sacked.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 12

    i agree with you that these are a few of the questions every League title challenger has to answer. Others would be....how do they cope with suspension? How do they react to a poor performance.

    I think City will cope pretty well with most of these to be honest, big squad and some real quality in there now. Aguero looks a class act, albeit having only played against some of the weaker teams.

    On how City pick themselves up to play against blackburn....not sure they will need to. Apart from 2/3 players Blackburn have an apalling team! City should walk all over them. Arsenal only didn't because defensively they are so poor at times!

  • Comment number 17.

    Everton came to the Etihad for one point today so they only lost one. Negative and unimaginative (and pretty much all that Everton have always been throughout the Moyes tenure), Moyes' tactics pretty much left them stranded should City score. Cahill was rightly booked for his challenge on Kompany for coming in late and should have had a yellow earlier for his incessant pulling on Lescott's shirt whenever Everton employed their limited punt up forward in the direction of Fellaini. Still if you get your opinion from MOTD highlights you could easily assume Everton deserved something.

  • Comment number 18.

    A fair write up and much, much objective than the 'lads' in the MOTD studio. I can only think that the 'controversy' over Vinnie & Cahill is some kind of smoke screen to deflect attention away from the way Everton set about trying to hospitalise David Silva. It shouldn't even be being talked about.

    Well played City!

  • Comment number 19.

    @ 14

    Which tackle of Cahill's are you talking about?! Must be one that I didn't see. the one i'm talking about is where he has slid one footed, non studs up around kompany to try to win the ball. Kompany then steps over the ball and stamps on his leg.

    the torres one is completely different. two footed entire body off the ground and lunged in with no control. definite red card and even AVB has said so.

    Cahill's wasn't similar in the slightest! maybe you should rewind and look at the Cahill tackle again!

  • Comment number 20.

    I will agree that Everton only came for a draw, they never went out to win the game and "parked the bus" but why not? i bet you are the same City fans defending them when they did it against every big team they played last year!!!

    the different in class between Everton and City is massive. City were always the favourite's and Everton were obviously just trying not to concede and maybe snatch one from a set piece. This tactic is used all over the EPL to great effect. Stoke did it brilliantly against many teams last year.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 16

    Fair point, bad example this week. But how about Villareal at home followed by United away later in October or Napoli away followed by Liverpool away in November?!

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    @ 15

    "Great result from City showing patience, persistence and mental strength. Despite what the pundits say about having to get used to teams playing like that"

    completely agree with this part of your post. Think it is a great result from City but also think they got a little bit of luck with the Cahill Kompany Incident, you can see from the replays that he steps over the ball and lands on Cahill who is making a legitimate attempt at the ball. Having said that, they did well to stretch a Everton team who came to play compact and stifle city. Everton got in their faces and city did well to combat this with excellent passing at times.

  • Comment number 24.

    It's all very well to say that Everton could not have played it any differently than they did. But they lost anyway so maybe it would have been more enjoyable for them (and everyone else) if they'd gone out trying to win it.

  • Comment number 25.

    Cahill is one of the dirtiest players in the league, he gets booked every other game, no way was that tackle legitimate

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 22

    it wasn't studs up! his studs were facing the ball and VK stepped over his foot and stamped on him! Ok, Cahill may have been slightly eager to win the ball, but VK was just horrendous! thuggery from a player I really admire! Disappointed!

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Liverpaul85.......were you there? I was. Everton not only played no strikers, they deployed dirty spoiling tactics every time City broke forward. Anti-football at its worst. Silva was specifically targetted for a roughing up, and rose to the challenge by playing a free role in the second half, avoiding injury and escaping the TWO players that man marked him in the first half. The MOTD experts clearly didnt watch the game and Howard Webb, if anything, was lenient on Everton, whose many fouls were deliberate, rather than honest attempts to win the ball.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ 28

    no i wasn't there. i have seen the full game though. you say its anti football, but when your playing a team that is THAT much better than you, why go out to try and play them at their own game? surely you just try and defend as well as possible and get in their faces to try and dislodge them. Not saying its the football i want to see, but sometimes it needs to be played to try and get a positive result.

    I agree that Silva rose to the challenge (and some!!) he is a phenomenal player and one who really makes city tick over. I'm glad he has avoided injury but i honestly believe the Everton players were trying to disjoint city as opposed to try to hurt them.

    *(look at the Liverpool fan defending Everton!!)*

  • Comment number 30.

    I don't think anyone will disagree that Everton's cynicism is a legitimate tactic. But to whine about it when it doesn't come off is disingenuous to say the least.

    And seriously Liverpaul85, if you think watching on TV where the cameras just follow the ball is enough to judge a game perhaps you should send in your application to The Guardian.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 30

    i am giving an opinion on what i saw. this may not be as comprehensive as some other fans that were at th game, but its still my opinion which i am entitled to give.

    Also, i think you will find that there are already a few City fans disagreeing that Everton's ploy of disjointing City is a legitimate tactic. Read posts above to see this.

  • Comment number 32.

    In the Premier League, we can already see a clear, familiar pattern emerging, even in this nascent stage of the season.

    Over the last 5-6 years, it's been a two-horse race between Manchester United and Chelsea (with the exception of a spluttering ''challenge'' from Liverpool a couple of seasons back, and a sporadic few years of ''flattering to deceive'' early to mid season form from Arsenal).

    Now - after spending three-quarters of a billion pounds on transfer fees and wages - we have a new kid on the block!

    Incredibly, I think that £700m-800m spending Manchester City will contest the top-3 places along with the well-established ''big 2''.

    Maybe even the 4-6 places in this season's PL will be filled by - ooh, I don't know - Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool?

    Best league in the world.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 32 the soul patch

    i am still waiting for you to get your speadsheet out and show me the points difference between 1st and 20th in the PL and La Liga over the last two years......

  • Comment number 34.

    BTW, BBC, Alan Hansen's performance on MOTD tonight was nothing short of scandalous.

  • Comment number 35.

    Evidence that Manchester City have the aura of title challengers, being able to win ugly; mind you, you'd expect that from a team with the world's most highly-paid holding player in Yaya Toure, and such lavishly expensive defenders as... oh, Joleon Lescott, whose wildly overpriced sale (tapping up or otherwise) has practically kept Everton in business.

    Anyway, a case for the prosecution with Kompany's stamp, but it didn't look that clear to me from any of the angles shown, and Cahill was late too. Could have been a yellow card apiece, but you don't tend to spot two fouls at once, let's be honest. Everton probably got the right number of bookings, but most of them should have been in the second half for accumulated fouls, rather than in the first half for individual offences.

    Agreed that the post-CL games will be important. Will also be interesting to see what happens if City drop into the Europa League (which could happen in their tough group) - will they treat it like the Carling Cup with added overseas travel?

  • Comment number 36.

    @ 34

    i thought Lawrenson was worse! Really poor show tonight! Should be better watching MOTD2 tomorrow, at least savage will say what he actually thinks!

    @ 35

    I don't think that City played ugly today, thought they were quite expansive with their play and thas why they managed the 2 goals against a side set up to stop them playing any kind of passing game.

    Think your comment about the Lescott sale is slightly derogatory to be honest. hopefully you were being sarcastic with it.

  • Comment number 37.

    33. At 00:28 25th Sep 2011, Liverpaul85 wrote:
    @ 32 the soul patch

    i am still waiting for you to get your speadsheet out and show me the points difference between 1st and 20th in the PL and La Liga over the last two years......
    _________________________________________________________________

    It can be arranged. In fact, get off your lazy behind and research this stuff yourself. ;)

    Seriously though, 2 football seasons are not enough to form a statistically relevant dataset.

    For example, if we look at the Premier League, in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, then we'll see that the champions (Arsenal in 2003-04 and Chelsea in 2004-05) lost 1 game between them, over two seasons.

    Should it then be extrapolated - from those two seasons - that Premier League champions only lose 0.5 matches per season, and half of all Premier League champions go through the season unbeaten?

    This is why I think that a 5-year accumulation of results is, at least, a reasonable basis to from a statistical analysis of certain trends within leagues.

    Oh yeah, in answer to your question (however facetious it may have been):

    2010/11 England 47 Spain 66
    2009/10 England 67 Spain 65

  • Comment number 38.

    2009/10 England 67 Spain 65
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Correction: 2009/10 England 58 Spain 65

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 37

    I would research it myself, but when you have a spreadsheet of all the information...why bother?! Also don't have access to many sites on my work computer.

    Surprised at the difference in 2009/10 for the EPL to be honest, thought it was closer than that. But i think you can see from the 2010/11 season it was a far more competitive league. not saying it is of better or worse quality but more competitive when the difference between 1st and last is 21 points closer than LA Liga.

    also, I think if you look at the stats from a much longer period it becomes less and less relevant to todays league. Look at City 5 years ago, completely different team. Arsenal 5 years ago were challenging much better, Liverpool were closer. So i think the stats for the past 2/3 seasons are much more relevant to deciding which league is the more competitive.

    thanks again for the stats!

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 38

    Thought it would be more likely to be like that. you surely have to agree that the EPL is a closer run thing then than La Liga?!

  • Comment number 41.

    @ 21

    Yeah i agree with you that once the CL really gets under way, if city are gonna win the league they will need to get used to having a lot of big games in a short space of time.

    Do you think they will? they have players with CL experience so shouldn't be too hard.

  • Comment number 42.

    What an absolute disgrace that motd was. Hansen seems to hate city no matter what they do. Kompamy "stamps" on Cahill during that awful challenge and should be sent off??? Apparently City were "lucky" to win despite what anyone who watched the game would think. I wonder if he's even seen the game or if he's just watched the extremely selective highlights that they showed tonight. Think i've finally lost patience with motd now. At least I can watch highlights on the Internet.

  • Comment number 43.

    The analysis here by Mr McNulty is frankly laughable.

    And you call yourself a football pundit?

  • Comment number 44.

    Wondered how long it would be till the McNulty bashers came on.....

  • Comment number 45.

    I have already joked this season about how the BBC must be on some commission from Man City for providing excessive coverage on them but I'm actually starting to take myself seriously now. Another blog on them? Really? What strikes me more is the blatant favouritism towards them. This article seemingly makes no reference to the Kompany incident but rather goades them in glory for having "grit". Its laughable, tainted, one eyed journalism.

    It would be nice to hear more about the clubs that are actually doing something rather than ones that just spend their way to success.

  • Comment number 46.

    I cannot stand Everton, they should have gone down in 1994 and their fans appear to believe they're owed something. And don't get me started on their manager.

  • Comment number 47.

    Stuart@46.
    Very bitter comment from a bitter!
    Everton winning at the council house all those times must really have hurt you eh?
    Not content with your fellow berties coming over all saintly by portraying yourselves as football's saviours,when for years citeh have been more guilty than most in being a defensive team,especially for the 20yrs you struggled with relegation. The number of times Mancini has settled for a draw by taking off a striker or two need not be discussed here.
    The arrogance of citeh fans now is in contrast to my Everton friends,a great club which along with citeh and Villa,were the 3 clubs Mansour(?) was interested in buying into. Only the lottery/council funded ground swung the deal citeh's way.
    There by the grace of god comes to mind.
    Not sure on the whole history of the toffee's,but it's a great and proud one,founder members of the football league, continous top tier football since '54 and I think the 4th most successful team in the land.
    It's the sort of history citeh can only dream of and whilst you may win further cups with the mercenries you have...you can't buy class.
    In the meantime,my beloved Utd still top the league,which must really bug you considering your best start to a campaign for many years.
    Forever in our shadow.

  • Comment number 48.

    This season is looking like United and City well ahead of the rest, with Chelsea a clear third. Would still have to go with United for the title though.

  • Comment number 49.

    Well done CITY, sometimes its about hard work and not "beautiful" football. The Cahil incident is a bloody joke, never saw MOTD but Hansen must be on crack.

    We are "SPARTACUS".

  • Comment number 50.

    47.At 03:02 25th Sep 2011, 1878onwards wrote:
    Stuart@46.
    Very bitter comment from a bitter!
    Everton winning at the council house all those times must really have hurt you eh?
    Not content with your fellow berties coming over all saintly by portraying yourselves as football's saviours,when for years citeh have been more guilty than most in being a defensive team,especially for the 20yrs you struggled with relegation. The number of times Mancini has settled for a draw by taking off a striker or two need not be discussed here.
    The arrogance of citeh fans now is in contrast to my Everton friends,a great club which along with citeh and Villa,were the 3 clubs Mansour(?) was interested in buying into. Only the lottery/council funded ground swung the deal citeh's way.
    There by the grace of god comes to mind.
    Not sure on the whole history of the toffee's,but it's a great and proud one,founder members of the football league, continous top tier football since '54 and I think the 4th most successful team in the land.
    It's the sort of history citeh can only dream of and whilst you may win further cups with the mercenries you have...you can't buy class.
    In the meantime,my beloved Utd still top the league,which must really bug you considering your best start to a campaign for many years.
    Forever in our shadow
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Go to bed you a JOKE:

    Joke rhymes with STOKE who played you off the park today.

    WE DONT CARE ABOUT HISTORY, WE CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE.

    Development of Manchester, have a look at the PLAN.

    Happy Bertie

  • Comment number 51.

    I can't understand why people say Everton went to City aiming for the draw. The start of the match and the changes Moyes made indicate otherwise. Moyes man-marked David Silva, denying him space to fully apply his skills and it was a move that we might see many times this season but there is no wrong, neither surprise on that. With Nasri on an off day, City's creativeness was restricted and a 1-0 scoreline might reflect better to the match played.

    Everton demonstrated yesterday that you can have no big names in your team sheet but if you play like a team, you're strong. For a team that has just sold their play maker they gave a very good account of themselves. Rodwell did well in the ugly role he was asked to play. Baines was impressive, to me at least, while Vellios, the substitute, showed signs of a player who can become the next 'name' player in the Everton team. For a team that went to City for a 0-0, the Everton substitutes were quite positive. It was a match showing clearly that the Everton fans are wrong when they start asking for the manager's head on a plate, now and again, when results don't go their way.

    Perhaps Tevez would have been a better choice to accompany Aguero up front, for City, as, in my opinion, Dzeko was rather clumsy yesterday. Still though the next opponent for City midweek is Bayern Munich and we have to take that match coming into account when we talk about who was used and who not. Aquero didn't score but he was constant threat in the Everton box. It was one of those days when we call a manager genius for his choices in substitutions, as both Balotelli and Milner made their mark on the day.

    I belong in the group that have been surprised by Mancini's statement that he needs more midfielders but seeing David Silva restricted and Nasri on a lesser day, I see no wrong with adding creativeness since City can afford it. Still though, a Premiership team can only have 25 players and City have also Adams and De Jonk in midfield.

    Overall, Everton gave a good account for themselves, while City demonstrated they can win the matches they have to win, this season. There are positives for both teams. City have negotiated a tricky match successfully, while Everton can take courage from their display for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ 48.At 03:08 25th Sep 2011, SleepingSpurs wrote:
    This season is looking like United and City well ahead of the rest, with Chelsea a clear third. Would still have to go with United for the title though.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't think the season is that clear cut at all. Matches are just starting to come thick and fast, one after the other and it's going to be a long, long season.

    United made a brilliant start, gaining from Young, Cleverley, Jones blending with the rest seamlessly but they were always going to be at the top or not far away.

    City started impressively but they are not going to dominate every match ahead of them.

    Writing Chelsea off would be silly. Torres is coming back while Mata has added to Chelsea's quality and Sturridge added one more option up front. Luiz and Ramires have added strength to Chelsea, while many forget a certain man called Mr Essien.

    Spurs had to face both City and United at the start of the season but they'll fight for that fourth spot with Liverpool and Arsenal all the way. Keeping Modric will give fruit to their cause while Adebayor has already added power up front.

    No matter how much talk is being made about Andy Carroll, Liverpool have their captain back, Andy Carroll will improve, while Suarez is on fire. Bellamy has added options and width, while no matter how much talk is being made against Charlie Adam and Henderson, the Liverpool midfield looks much better than last season's. Liverpool will be stronger this season.

    On the other hand, Arsenal may be paying the price for denying to invest by losing Fabregas and Nasri but they haven't exactly dissolved. As the season progresses they'll be stronger. I remember another season when they lost in Old Trafford 6-1 but it didn't mean relegation either.

    It was always going to be the case of United, City and Chelsea being one knot ahead of the rest. As it was always going to be a case of Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs one knot ahead of the other 14 teams too.

    To me, what's unclear is at the bottom of the table. QPR, Swansea, Norwich already showed they're going to add flavour to the campaign, playing positive football all of them. Blackburn and Wigan must be already hearing alarm bells but, yet again, it was the same last season too for them.

    Logic and past experience shows that you cannot make predictions of a season from the 6th day into the new campaign. Only journalists do it with ease but, yet again, journalists always want to provoke interest i

  • Comment number 54.

    .....(52 continued)

    More than at any time since I've been following City, when one game is over, I'm already looking forward to the next one ( I think yesterday was a huge psychological, hard-earned win) but I have to say, it's especially true this week because the personification of "class" leaves with me with a very bitter taste in my mouth. I won't wish him well.

  • Comment number 55.

    .....(52 revised, after what misdemeanour, I'm not sure)

    Some people are making out Kompany's "foul" on Saha was a game changing decision. Alan Smith on Sky was saying how "unfortunate" he thought Everton were. He didn't see anything wrong with fouls on Barry, Rodwell's stamp on Silva's Achilles, Baines body checks on Aguero and Richards; the whole game hinged on Webb not giving Everton a free kick. You wouldn't believe a game of football had taken place, and that City had played most of it; that City were the better team. And that's the way Everton want it. And it's clear that certain parts of the media have their own agenda, are only too willing to accommodate them, and pundits like Smith's gear their versions of events to keeping their place on the gravy train. Bar the clearance off the line at the end of the game, Everton created little. Yes, they made it difficult for City, but you can't say on the run of play that City were less worthy than Everton of the 3 points. There was one team trying to play football, and another trying to kill it. The latter is exactly the kind of attritional football Alan Smith excelled in under George Graham,and symbolic of why England don't seem able to make the step up. It's anti-football. We won't make any progress until we encourage technique and ball retention rather than the opposite, i.e. trying to prevent opposition from doing it. And we won't do this until people like him are no longer having an influence.

    Don't know about the throw in before the Balotelli goal, or Kompany's challenge on Cahill (I truly didn't see them), but Rodwell's stamp on Silva's Achilles was a season (possibly longer) ending tackle, and for the Neville yellow card, you could see he was trying to clip Silva's heels (I think Silva exaggerated it, but I've got no sympathy with Neville, who was trying to be the hatchet man), not to mention his playing of the ball with his arm on the ground to prevent the ball running away towards a City player on the edge of the box (after he's already received a yellow) in the first half. This is spoiling, not football, and Moyes is very good at it. Give him a squad of galacticos with crowds expecting to see state of the art football, he'd be lost. And he needs to be called up on his use of adjectives. They don't hit a note with the reality, they're what we associate with football elsewhere, and which we shouldn't want to see in our game. More than at any time since I've been following City, when one game is over (yesterday was a big psychological, hard-earned win)

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 55.At 04:48 25th Sep 2011, Drooper_,

    Are you trying to get the title for the short sighted, club-following influenced view of a game? :)

    Replays showed that Rodwell's challenge on David Silva wasn't with malice intentions and David Silva playing for 90', providing the assist for the second goal proves just that.

    Phil Neville had a very good game for Everton. He was ever present in defence, while helping the attack too. What more can you ask from a man of his age? OK, he has the 'United' attachment but negating him that much reduces your postings' value to simple ranting.

    The fact of the matter is that you can't accuse players of other teams of playing dirty football, fanatically when you have in your team De Jonk and Balotelli (not to mention Viera) - referring to past examples of all three in a City shirt.

    Perhaps, Howard Webb should have shown yellow to Kompany too, since he had shown them to Everton players on similar instances.

    When you talk so lowly of Moyes, you will find few friends even amongst the supporters of your own club. You can't talk about Moyes like that when the manager of your club is Mancini. It was only last season when he was building double defensive walls, home and away. Or wasn't it?

    Galacticos? Ain't it a tad ambitious? I like the way City play this season, but let me remind you the so far performance of your galacticos this season:
    1. You went past Spurs flying - top marks
    2. You lost the Charity Shield, besides being 2 goals ahead at half time.
    3. You almost threw away a 3 goals lead at Reebok stadium against Bolton making their worst start into a season in the Premiership.
    4. You are lucky to not have lost your maiden Champions League, home match against Napoli but you certainly made the negotiation of the group stages quite uncomfortable.
    5. You eventually beat Everton at home but still without impressing.

    Galacticos? Are you kidding? Galacticos don't have a history of top players seeking transfer. City are a good side and add quality to the Premiership but you shouldn't lose reality, my friend.

  • Comment number 57.

    Started, am In.
    Wonder if I may be allowed to take a lil' part in the banter

  • Comment number 58.

    47.At 03:02 25th Sep 2011, 1878onwards wrote:
    Stuart@46.
    Very bitter comment from a bitter!
    Everton winning at the council house all those times must really have hurt you eh?
    Not content with your fellow berties coming over all saintly by portraying yourselves as football's saviours,when for years citeh have been more guilty than most in being a defensive team,especially for the 20yrs you struggled with relegation. The number of times Mancini has settled for a draw by taking off a striker or two need not be discussed here.
    The arrogance of citeh fans now is in contrast to my Everton friends,a great club which along with citeh and Villa,were the 3 clubs Mansour(?) was interested in buying into. Only the lottery/council funded ground swung the deal citeh's way.
    There by the grace of god comes to mind.
    Not sure on the whole history of the toffee's,but it's a great and proud one,founder members of the football league, continous top tier football since '54 and I think the 4th most successful team in the land.
    It's the sort of history citeh can only dream of and whilst you may win further cups with the mercenries you have...you can't buy class.
    In the meantime,my beloved Utd still top the league,which must really bug you considering your best start to a campaign for many years.
    Forever in our shadow
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We go back some months Football UK:

    I disagree with your assessment:

    Bolton half time score 2-1, Dzecko scored just after half-time.
    The Charity shield does not matter, its a friendly.

    We beat Everton 2-0, the performance does not matter.

    Napoli played well against us but we could and should have put it to bed early.

    UTD beat WBA with an own goal.

    UTD could not beat Benfica who are rated far below Napoli.

    UTD won last week when Chelsea were the better team.

    UTD were dominated by STOKE, a team CITY played off the park in the FA Cup Final.

    Conjecture, Opinion, we will see in OCTOBER.

    Cheers,

    Bertie Derby

  • Comment number 59.

    @11, @14, @15. Some laughable comments here by City fans who've clearly forgotten what life was like before cash.

    Firstly, you can call Everton's formation whatever you like but Cahill was very obviously playing as a lone striker. So let's stop being silly and acting like David Moyes had parked a ship in front of our goal.

    Calling Everton fans bitter when you sound upset that everton didn't roll over and die is also lauhable. Get used to it, not everyone can afford to squander 30m on a bench.

    Mancini didn't out-think Moyes at all. He out-spent him. The bookings in the first half - including the city one - were laughable. Fair play to Silva for having the nowse to get his markers booked, but that's what he did. It used to be a man's game. Now it's like rhythmic gymnastics.

    I sort of hope city win it this year, as the lesser of three evils, but it's horrible listening to their fans basically becoming just like the fans of every other club who've had insurmountable levels of cash dropped on them overnight.

  • Comment number 60.

    Although I didn't watch the match nor the highlights but, from the match reviews on bbc and sunsport it must have been a tough match for City to deal with, even while reading the live text on BBC, PHIL was briefly tweeting the hard nut which Everton presented to CITY which needed just more than the ordinary nut crackers we have, but, a large stone and it was Balotelli doing this.
    On another good day, i don't think CITY could have scored more than one goal.
    As for those slating Moyes for his Ultra-defensive pattern, mind you, it is said "Use what You HAVE to GET what You WANT", although it didn't work out for certain David the Son Of Moyes.

    Posting from Nigeria.
    Premier is so popular down here, that no one wants each weekend to pass without exciting Live Weekend Matches or Midweek Matches. We just love it and the debate over here is scintillating(did I say that!).
    Phil good article though.

  • Comment number 61.

    this match was a big test of city's potential to go the distance, and I think they passed with a good mark. Everton have a very good record against them and are a tough and uncompromising team, although I was a little disappointed at Moyes's tactics, which were borderline rough and I think a little more counter attacking would have given City more to think about. City have a tough champions league match in Munich this week and as was the case after Napoli, it will be interesting to see how they perform at the following weekend. I do think they have the squad, but a little like Spurs last season, there's a balancing act to achieve, and it's a hard one.

  • Comment number 62.

    @ 58.At 05:42 25th Sep 2011, Bertie Button,

    we are bound to disagree :)

    Allow me to inform you that the Charity Shield may be a "friendly" but it can give a lot of confidence to the winner, coming into the new season. Hopefully,City fans will realise that at some point in the future.

    I'm forgiven for not knowing the half time score for City at Reebok, I suppose. Still, the fact is you scored 3 and were in danger of dropping two points at the end. Or am I wrong?

    By making a comparison between City and United, based on this season's facts will always find you on the losing end. Let me tell you why:

    1. You had more chances than Napoli, I agree. I, too, wanted you to win. The fact of the matter though is that City were relieved to get the draw in the end. Napoli would never have had that air and flair at Old Trafford. And United didn't have to win in Lisbon. They got what they wanted, unlike City. To United it was a case of not losing on the away match - as simple as that. It will be a huge surprise if Man Utd do not top their group. How certain are City about theirs, though? Bayern Munich won in Spain.

    2. United won at WBA narrowly, according to the scoreline, but dominated the match, as even Roy Hodgson admitted. Last season, United had a much more difficult time there and still won the title.

    3. Chelsea had a much better performance this time round in Old Trafford but half time found them 3-0 behind. Premiership history shows that when United need to up their tempo in the second half, they always do. This time they didn't need to. It's what you won't hear from Andre Villas-Boas lips because it doesn't look good on him.

    4. Perhaps it was the time to drop points against Stoke. But, are you telling me that Britannia is a stadium for top teams to go and have fun? Don't ask other fans for the answer. Ask Mancini :)

    5. Are you making comparisons based on two seasons? You're writing about the F.A. Cup final, overlooking your performances against Stoke since Mancini's arrival. What exactly is your record against them?

    6. The story of the new season so far is this: no matter what City do, United do better. Any arguments?

    And last but not least, United have nothing to prove. They're the champions, the leaders and the team with most of Premiership titles, put all opponents together. United are the landmark City have to reach. It's nice to see City starting strongly because United started emphatically strong, for a change.
    %

  • Comment number 63.

    .

  • Comment number 64.

    #56, Football UK, you can't possibly know if Rodwell's challenge was malicious or not, and I'm afraid I don't buy into that players never go into a tackle to try and hurt someone. Malicious or not, it was a nasty one. Yes, Silva was able to continue and set up the second goal, but to say because he did so means Rodwell's tackle couldn't have been bad is nonsensical.

    To say that Phil Neville received a yellow card, and that I didn't have any sympathy with him, and then to say shortly afterwards the referee didn't spot his deliberate handball, isn't ranting. It's relating the facts.

    And yes, I can accuse players in other teams of dirty tactics, even when we have De Jong, Balotelli and Vieira at the club. I never said our players are innocent, or shouldn't be punished when they commit offences. But as neither De Jong or Vieira were playing yesterday, and Balotelli only played for 20 odd minutes, it's not too difficult to come to the conclusion that you're logic is ad hominem. On the yellow card for Kompany, I agree he was lucky to escape one. I never said he didn't deserve one.

    Regarding Moyes, I'm free to think of him as I wish, and don't express my view in need of brownie points. No doubt there are people who disagree with me, but when I said the same thing on another, more mature, web site last night, there were a lot of people who agreed with me.

    Finally, I think you're working yourself up a little. I never said City were galacticos. I used the word to try and make the point that I think David Moyes has done a great job with the resources he has, if you're happy to forfeit attractive football for the possibly more pragmatic limited ambition of containment football. That's served him well up till now, but as Alan Bennett once said, "you can only suck so much marrow out of a bone.(sic)" With the wealth and attraction that the EPL now has, there are more and more technical players and coaches more adept at overcoming the kind of football he plays. And if he had the resources? I think he would still be playing the same kind of football, because he doesn't know any other way. Mancini has showed this season that he's not just the Catanaccio disciple we feared. You might not agree with me. I might be wrong. But that's my opinion.

  • Comment number 65.

    Moyes and the Everton fans shouldn't keep going on about how much money City have spent - City have spent it, now move on.

    I didn't hear too much crying from Fulham fans last week - their team went and got a result (no matter how lucky) because they actually played some attacking football.

    You wouldn't have heard the Levante fans complaining last weekend either as they beat a Real Madrid side that cost more than the City one. I reckon that the Levante side cost less than Everton's.

    Play with the cards you have been dealt and stop complaining.

    I am all for a good physical game, but Everton did not show themselves in a good light with all the dirty fouls, the timewasting and the negative play. Don't complain that you haven't got any strikers when you have a more than capable one on the bench in Louis Saha. He troubled the City defence once he came on which is more than the Everton team had done all game.

    Cahill's 'challenge' was a very bad one. This sort of reckless play can finish another players' career and the punishment should have been a straight red. We don't need this kind of thuggery on a football pitch. That challenge kind of summed up Everton's negative approach to the game. Negative and dirty.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 64.At 06:42 25th Sep 2011, Drooper_,

    The detail is you're over-suspicious, Drooper_ :)

    We both watched the match. In truth, David Silva was marginalised by young Rodwell and he did what big name players always do: he got him yellow carded, in order to be breathing more freely. I'm afraid the same goes to the Neville yellow too.

    There were reasons of why I mentioned De Jonk, Vieira and Balotelli with regard to foul play. Leading a conversation there is no good so I'm leaving it there. Still, you're crying too loud about Neville and Rodwell. They're both not dirty players.

    Of course you can have your own opinion on Moyes. It's a free country. All I'm telling you is you're not going to find new friends with such arguments about him. Simples. Especially when your club's manager is as ambitious as Mancini.

    I'm not trying to gain points on my postings in this article written by Phil McNulty. If you read my postings you will only see a neutral's assessment on the game, that's all.

    You can't seriously suggest that, even with cash and top players at his disposal, Moyes would play the same formations because that's all he knows. Or did I get you wrong again like when you referred to galacticos? :)

    If there is one club in the premiership the fans of which can't say such things about Moyes it's City's fans. And it's exactly because Roberto Mancini applied cattenaccio big time last season. Do you forget that Moyes's substitutes yesterday were attacking options? Do you forget that, in the first 10 minutes, they were all over you? :)

    I don't have issues with Mancini. Actually, I like his honesty that it's there to see, many times, unlike many other managers.

    I don't know who Alan Bennet is. What I know is David Moyes took Everton to Champions League on a season when City were in the duldrums, having more or less equal budget to Everton's. Of course it's not of any importance that David Moyes is one of the few non top four managers who has claimed the Manager of the Year award. Details, you see :)

    Courses for horses, Drooper_.
    We can be exchanging comments all day long and, I can assure you, you will be in the losing end all day long. It's because City have everything to prove and United don't. Even Moyes has nothing to prove for his credentials.

    And, not to forget, I didn't only talk about galacticos on my last posting? What about the rest? :)

  • Comment number 67.

    'Aguero has been the star performer this season'..... Errr no! Silva by far has been the star performer this season!

  • Comment number 68.

    Mancini was bemoaning the fact that he had NDJ and Milner injured the other week so he was limited in his choice of midfield substitutions.

    Some people really need to read stuff themselves than rely on what the see in print.

  • Comment number 69.

    As a City fan I enjoy reading your analysis Phil as you always have a well-balanced and objective view. Unlike the City-knocking section of the media you criticise when it is warranted and praise when it is deserved.
    I have no issue with Moyes employing the tactics he did. The longer the game went on at 0-0 I could see Everton snatching a probably undeserved but all too familiar winner. As Phil says there was great satisfaction in overcoming the Everton gameplan and securing the victory. Something they probably wouldn't have managed a year ago.
    I had to smile though at the suggestion that the man to man marking of Silva was successful. I am reminded of a game I played in some years ago. The team we were playing had a renowned goal scorer. As we came off having lost 3-1 our centre-half said "I had that guy in my pocket". When we pointed out he'd scored their two winning goals he said "Yeah, but it was the only two touches he had". Silva still managed to lay on the winner, have one disallowed for off-side and won the man-of-the-match award. It could be argued that by then Everton had changed their tactics but I think it was Everton's earlier defensive tactics, where they literally had 11 players in their own penalty area on several occasions, rather than the marking job on Silva that kept City at bay.
    A mixture of breathtaking and ugly wins will do for City this season.

  • Comment number 70.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 71.

    As a City fan I have absolutely no problems with how Everton set up for the game. Why would you? You have to pick your battles and Moyes decided that was the best approach against a dangerous City side. To argue Everton should have been more attacking is ridiculous. Everton played well and it wouldn't have been too unfair on City had the game ended in a draw, though being able to bring such class off the bench proved the difference.. VK on Cahill was never a sending off. End of natter.

    If I had to chose a different side to support in the Prem it'd probably be Everton. They're a club who do things properly and manage to punch well above their weight with the resources they have. They remind me of City before the money arrived and hope they Manage a top-eight finish which would be some achievement.. To see people slagging Moyes is unbelievable..

    It's a shame to have people come on here and have a go at City for all the money that's been spent. From being a club that other fans liked to quite the opposite because of what has gone on isn't something I enjoy, but I know every single supporter of other clubs would swap places with us in a heartbeat to have the backing we do. All of the 'big' clubs have spent huge sums of money. Agreed, City have done the spending of United, Liverpool or Spurs within two years not five or six to accelerate the chances of success, but that is part and parcel of it these days. if you're from a skint club it's a bitter pill to swallow, but sadly you'll have to..

    City are a club with a proud history, so don't bin the past 100 years because of what has happened over the past decade (relegations and takeovers included)..

    Surely City getting this money has made the league much more interesting than it was four years ago? Rather than negativity and hatred towards City as we're now contenders (inevitably that will wind people up), why not see it as a new lease of life for what was becoming a sterile two-tier league?

  • Comment number 72.

    Moyes went out to ruin a paying spectacle and ended losing whilst showing no ambition what-so-ever. Where is the credit in that? He sacrificed 1 player just to stop Silva, who just wandered around leaving space for others as all good players will & took whatever influence Rodwell could have had away from Everton.

    Playing 5-5-0 and getting praise for it is strange. His whole tactics were to niggle and slow the game down and pray nothing goes in the other end, he may as well had a go as the worst he would have gotten was the same zero points. It doesnt have to be kamikaze tactics, just show some attacking ambition. What a waste of players like Fellaini.

    AVB summed it up perfectly on his pre game press conference, he said that one of the reasons he attacked at Old Trafford was because he has a responsibility to the fans to entertain them and be ambitious in the teams style of play. Moyes is under no pressure of losing his job so why park the bus?

    Cahill v Kompany to me was a rash tackle by Cahill that resulted in him getting hurt, but had Kompany not jumped out of the way then he himself would have been injured, it was a lunge.

    Also La Liga may have a greater points difference between bottom and top than ours but surely that is for 2 reasons. One being that the wealth of our league (whether earned or inherited wealth) has allowed more sides to compete behind the huge 3 clubs at the top. Secondly having watched Barcelona for years I believe they would finish miles clear over here as well and distort the finishing positions in our league.

    They have actually dropped 4 points themselves this season as opposed to our top sides 2. Yet having watched them dismantle a decent Athletico side last night they would cruise past most of our teams, Messi played on a different planet again (and people say Rooney is the best currently, Jesus).

    Throw in a superb Real side who swept Spurs away and a really promising Valencia and it does have strong sides too. On a side issue does anyone else think that Guardiola is revolutionising the way Football is played? Even Utd have tried to copy the way they move the ball & hunt after it in packs. Also the fact that the team plays footballers at centre half and no out and out centre forward (we are still obsessed with the big man up top) meaning the side is so fluent it is difficult to pick them up at times.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorry, but my opinion on every City post will be the same: give me the unlimited funds City have and *I* could build a winning team.

  • Comment number 74.

    Whilst City v Everton was the pick of the bunch for macm to blog on Stokes domination of man u would also be worth commenting on.

    Sounded a cracking game and Tony Pullis does appear to be doing very well not only on the Domestic Front but also in Europe so well done Stoke.

    As for those moaning about Evertons tactics being negative, i seem to recall City themselves were guilty of the same thing last year.

    I am curious how it is Torres was " unfortunate " to be sent off for a TWO FOOTED lunge but any other player from any other team committing a potential bone cruncher deserves all he gets. ????????????

    felt some sympathy for Bolton against my Arsenal, the sending of was a bit harsh and perhaps for these types of offence a 20 min sin bin should be introduced its a tad odd a guy who tugs a players shirt gets the same punishment as one that could have broken a players legs, i am correct that both Wheater and Torres both face 3 match bans? the formers offence hardly being serious enough to warrant such a suspension

    Liverpool struggle to beat Wolves ( so much for their title credentials then ) enough said.

    ohh i almost forgot;

    Up the Gunners!

  • Comment number 75.

    It's funny isn't it when football fans everywhere say things like yottskry has this season, whereas what we were hearing in the past few seasons was something like "money will not build you a winning team". As a City fan of over 40 years I am delighted that at long last we have a team that can be in contention for the Premiership title - am not interested in petty arguments like "we could do this or that if we had unlimited funds" - we have and you haven't, so get over yourselves and try to keep comments about the actual football on the pitch.

    yottskry - what exactly are your credentials to build a winning team, may I ask? I cannot see that you have posted much on football matters in recent weeks.

  • Comment number 76.

    So Everton a solid top 8 team play away to Man City with no strikers and just try to get a 0-0.

    Another nail in the coffin for those skywashed wallies who still think this is the most competitive and exciting league in the world!

  • Comment number 77.

    At 07:18 25th Sep 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    @ 64.At 06:42 25th Sep 2011, Drooper_,

    The detail is you're over-suspicious, Drooper_ :)

    We both watched the match. In truth, David Silva was marginalized by young Rodwell and he did what big name players always do: he got him yellow carded, in order to be breathing more freely.
    I'm afraid.......................We can be exchanging comments all day long and, I can assure you, you will be in the losing end all day long.

    Take a bow Son!!. You've won the debate already with that line, applaudisez.

  • Comment number 78.

    Morning everyone. Thanks for the replies. Almost as much interest in Everton's approach as City's win.

    Simple questions for City fans. Did you feel the manner of the win was another pointer to the fact that you are well equipped for a title challenge this year? Are you happy with Balotelli's progress? Is he now ready to really showcase his talent? And where does Carlos Tevez stand in the pecking order these days?

    To TB1878...all a bit if, but and maybe that. Of course I would not have expected Everton to go gung-ho, but a slight demonstration of attacking ambition might have helped, especially against a side they have been beating on a regular basis.

    Everton's Plan A seemed to be to try and get a draw and hope for a bit of luck to get a win. I am heartened to know that my opinion that should have shown more positive intent is shared by quite a few Everton supporters.

    It was ultimately a joyless and unsuccessful day for the Everton fans who made the trip to Manchester. What did you make of it all?

    Love to hear from more Everton fans on what they thought of David Moyes' approach yesterday. Understandable caution or negative? Let me know.

    And to Long Live the Goat...no I don't have an opinion on Alan Hansen's post-match opinion really. That is how he saw the game and the incidents and that is fine by me. You will rarely get unanimous agreement on a game where contentious moments occur.

    Plus an operational note you PulpGrape - I think you will find this is the first blog I have written on Manchester City this season, although there will be more.

  • Comment number 79.

    City fans have very short memory. It's only nine months since you came and "parked the bus" at the Emirates, and showed no attacking intent against the Arsenal.

  • Comment number 80.

    @75
    Yottskry plays Championship Manager periodically which he assumes qualifies him for putting together an EPL winning team. He forgets about such things as man management, credibility etc. In summary, he's just another bitter troll.

  • Comment number 81.

    You are on the button Phil; City will mount a serious title challenge this season.

    There isn't a team with City's kind of bench. It takes, guts, conviction and footie acumen to send in Balotelli ahead of Tevez.

    Judging from the passion shown in the goalscoring aftermath with Balotelli, for all you know Mancini may be giving some of his summer bitterness back to Carlos.

  • Comment number 82.

    @72 this is getting tedious. Moyes has used Cahill as a lone striker before, to varying extents of success. Probably because of his prodigious ability in the air gave us a direct route out. So let's knock the silly talk off.

    Moyes has a responsibility to the football club to ensure it gains as many points as possible. As someone once said, "if you want entertainment, go see the clowns". I'm getting bored of reading the same argument, which is effectively "wouldn't it be better if Everton tried to attack"?

    Better for whom? City fans? Why should he care about you? Everton fans? Some, perhaps, although I'd sooner see us put in a performance like that than go out swashbuckling like we didi at Arsenal 6 years ago, and lee 7-0 in the process.

    We died on our feet yesterday. I was proud of our performance. Any city fan who can't understand that, or who seeks to belittle it, has forgotten where they came from.

  • Comment number 83.

    My first reaction to Cahill/Kompany incident was Cahill dived feet first (as you do) to get the ball, and Kompany was expecting this and take the throw in because Cahill was never going to do anything else. Problem was Cahill's legs where kind of all over the place and Kompany could have either "levitated" (as someone else said) and then put his feet down away from his legs, or outside Harry Potter world did the unfortunate thing of putting his foot down to stay balanced - unfortunately Cahill's leg was there. It was just a unfortunate incident, but Cahill deserved the card for diving in - in my opinion of course. :)
    I don't like Moyes, but I do recognise him as a excellent manager who is really up against it this season. I hope Everton do well because they remind me now of how City used to be when we had no money.

  • Comment number 84.

    If you watch the games Everton have played against the so called big teams over the past two seasons, the games where we "parked the bus" we've lost, but in games where we've played our usual passing game, we've either won or lost a last minute equaliser. Thats what we did last season.

    As soon as moyes gave us the starting line up there was only one outcome, a city win, a lucky city win thanks to a deflection and a careless pass, but a city win all the same. In these sort of games, it can annoy me when moyes plays for a point, because we are so much more creative than that. Felli is not a striker, and cahill isn't quick so therefore not a striker too, and thats why we were never a goal threat. This meant that as they are both good in the air, the defence thought about the long ball all day long, which gave city the ball and passed us to death.

    Fair play City, moyes got his tactics wrong and mancini got his right.

  • Comment number 85.

    Of course Moyes can set up the team any way he wants to. He has no obligation to entertain City fans, his own fans, or the neutrals such as myself settling down for the game's early kick-off. The fact that we tend to exepct some sort of entertainment in the two hours between kick-off and the league table being updated is an irrelevance. We will tend to root for the side trying to win the game but again, Moyes is only interested in getting points and his side kept City at bay until Mancini's gamble.
    Also, Moyes' tactics were not necessarily dirty. Fouls tend to come up in these types of games due to player frustration, and players like Silva are so tricky and fast that they will often be caught and caught hard when there is no intent whatsoever. We can't be at all certain that Moyes told his players: 'remember tae take oot the wee Spaniard if ye git a chance, lads'. Or however Scottish people talk. I don't know; I haven't read 'Trainspotting' in ages.

  • Comment number 86.

    I have to give much credit to both managers.

    People can say as much as they like about the money factor, but without a good manager, money will end up as tool for other clubs to make a joke of you and hate you, as we found out during the Hughes’ era. And I have to say if it wasn’t for the unjustified support Hughes has received from McNaullty, Alan Green and other British journalist, we would have had Mancini a year earlier. Ballotilly is proven once again how good a player he is, I just hope people would stop using him as a punching bag and end up driving him back to Italy as was the case with Robinho. I find it ridiculous that his critics could focus on such narrow minded issues such as “using his IPad during an international game” and make it sound worst than a player who cheats on his pregnant wife with a prostitute.

    Moyes has done an amazing job at Everton, I have no idea how he still manages to bring out such outstanding performances from his players, considering Everton financial trouble. I just hope they will finish in the top half of the table or at least stay up so they would clear off their debt and have few quid to spend next year. Before the game started, I was a bit worried, considering the signing of Lescott had cost us 15 points in five encounters, and I was praying that the curse of Moyes’ anger of the saga will not cost us another three point.

  • Comment number 87.

    I would have played Drenthe and Saha from the start. We needed to give Man City something to think about in defense. Saha is more than capable of holding the ball up, can turn and run at the defense which would have put them on the back foot. Cahill is not an out and out striker and can play behind a front striker. Ans scores goals when he comes in the box late on. The goal against Liverpool last year shows that. Once Saha ran out of steam we could have put Velios up front.

    Man city are a very good team and I can understand Moyes went for a draw. We have a good defense and I still would have played a man on Silva as it did work.

    Webb's performance not 1 of his best but there you go. The Saha block in the second half was a joke. The better team on the day 1.

    Everton will do okay and be in the top ten. A couple of loan deals in January will help.

    A defender and sriker should be fine. If we can find any maybe Mancity will loan was Lescott?!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil, what do you expect Moyes to have done with the meagre resources available to him? Unleash Velios and Stracqualursi on the City defense? In my view Moyes went for the safety first approach which is fine any given day. And his plan to man mark Silva worked wonders for the first half hour. But Cahill spending most of the time in the midfield instead of the final 3rd helped City as Lescott and Kompany ventured forward and drove Everton's midfield further back. For an hour Everton looked like they would share the spoils but a moment of inspiration from Balotelli cost them. I wouldn't say Moyes shouldn't have done what he did. In fact he wasn't naive like say Steve Kean.

    http://442footballfever.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/tactically-speaking-city-vs-everton-irresistable-force-wins-over-the-immovable-object/

  • Comment number 89.

    Man City are the best team in the world and will win the English Premier League. In David Silva and Sergio Aguero they have the two best players in the Premier League and will win the league with their goals. In Gnégnéri Toure Yaya they have the best midfielder in the world and in Vincent Kompany, the best centre back.

    I expect that they will get over 93 points this season, and win the Premier League by over 8 points from their nearest rivals, probably Manchester United.

  • Comment number 90.

    I have to give much credit to both managers.

    People can say as much as they like about the money factor, but without a good manager, money will end up as tool for other clubs to make a joke of you and hate you, as we found out during the Hughes’ era. And I have to say if it wasn’t for the unjustified support Hughes has received from McNaullty, Alan Green and other British journalist, we would have had Mancini a year earlier. Mario Balotelli has proven once again how good a player he is, I just hope people would stop using him as a punching bag and end up driving him back to Italy as was the case with Robinho. I find it ridiculous that his critics could focus on such narrow minded issues such as “using his IPad during an international game” and make it sound worst than a player who cheats on his pregnant wife with a prostitute.

    Moyes has done an amazing job at Everton, I have no idea how he still manages to bring out such outstanding performances from his players, considering Everton financial trouble. I just hope they will finish in the top half of the table or at least stay up so they would clear off their debt and have few quid to spend next year. Before the game started, I was a bit worried, considering the signing of Lescott had cost us 15 points in five encounters, and I was praying that the curse of Moyes’ anger of the saga will not cost us another three point.

  • Comment number 91.

    It was a tough game for City. I thought Moyes tactic was spot on. No strikers, packed the midfield and man marked David Silva. Rodwell did a good job but Silva was always going to have his moments, you can't keep a player like that quiet for the entire game. For me he's the best player in the league right now followed by Rooney. Will be interesting to see how City will cope if he's injured, you can't replace a player like that unless you have Xavi/Iniesta/Fabregas on your bench.

  • Comment number 92.

    Subsea75.
    Robinho was'nt driven away to Italy...he could'nt wait to get away from your club.
    He set a pattern that has been fairly consistantand has became quite infectious and Adebayor caught the bug,who then passed the lurgy on to Bellamy. It has manifested itself in Tevez who but for the price tag would now be in Spain/Italy/Argentina.
    It's all very well signing a contract that gives you £200k a week but when the footballing day is over and the world's press is camped out 3 miles down the road,you do have a sense of isolation.
    The big story coming out of the council squat this week is the inflatable cover they will be using in the winter to enable the players to train in rainy/snowy weather. Unlike their neighbours,citeh have'nt indoor training facilities.I mean...it's not like Manchester is'nt use to the odd wet day,is it? And they've only been there 15yrs!Maybe training in the snow and looking across the way and seeing Utd players training in a covered,full size pitch..well, maybe a light in Robinho's head suddenly switched on.
    We await the impact that CL football will have on our noisy neighbours. Playing a league programme and CL is a different beast to the Europa league,with Napoli a wake up call.
    And I await the first conspiracy post form the berties on the Lague Cup with my beloved Utd drawing Aldershot and citeh going to premiership Wolves.
    The seaon begins to simmer nicely.

  • Comment number 93.

    Deja vu yesterday and as it worked for them last season hardly surprising Moyes should try the same tactic. The limitations of such an approach were evident this time as he had nowhere to go should City not become impatient and it was interesting that Mancini moved Silva into an auxiliary striker position for the start of the second half yesterday knowing Rodwell would follow and thus pushing Everton's midfield further on top of their own defence which allowed Nasri more time and space.

    What is more of a concern is how Yaya seems out of place in the quick passing, mobile scheme Mancini is seeking. Not quite hero to zero but De Jong is needed and dare I say Hargreaves may be worth a try?

  • Comment number 94.

    Football is a results game, Moyes knew he didn't really have a chance of winning the game so played defensive.

    And Bertie, your have a very short memory. What about your 2-2 against Fulham? Seem to forget them one with your analysis of United performances this season. An away draw in the champions league is a far better result than a home draw, against similar opponents. Plus the fact United used a squad of players that hadn't played much football this season. An away draw against Stoke is a good result for anyone, try asking Chelsea and Liverpool fans, and comparing to a win at Wembley is a completely different circumstance, as that is a neutral ground and not the Britannia.

  • Comment number 95.

    It's amazing how many people on here have been swayed by the MOTD "Soviet Justice Commission's" analysis of Cahill's lunge on Vincent Kompany and it's quite cringeworthy when David Moyes tries to pin all his teams' shortcomings on a World Cup referee.

  • Comment number 96.

    Don't see how Webb was swayed by the crowd to be honest, you could barely hear them for most of the game. But Webb did give a near perfect example of a 'homer' referee. It happens, so hopefully neither City fans nor the media will spend the rest of the season pretending as if it only happens at United like they usually do.

    Haven't got a clue why anyone would even be vaguely interested in Mancini sharing sweets with Brian Kidd, never mind what type of sweets they were.

    Pure chance that I caught this match on the television yesterday, but it turned out to be quite an interesting game. Having kept City at arms length fairly routinely for 65 or 70 minutes Everton came out a bit, almost nicked a goal, looked as if they would even, and then got caught out at the back. I suppose it's understandable to see this scenario as evidence that City are ready to fight for the title. But in reality I bet they've had games that have followed almost exactly the same pattern every year for ever, just like every other team. It's called football. Had Everton nicked the first goal and City had failed to equalise no doubt that would've been painted as evidence that City aren't quite ready. Yawn.

  • Comment number 97.

    @ 95.At 12:35 25th Sep 2011, Boris Da Blue wrote:
    It's amazing how many people on here have been swayed by the MOTD "Soviet Justice Commission's" analysis of Cahill's lunge on Vincent Kompany and it's quite cringeworthy when David Moyes tries to pin all his teams' shortcomings on a World Cup referee.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    It takes the biscuit when the Kompany stamp on Cahill suddenly becomes a Cahill launch on Kompany. Kompany knew what he was doing and watching where he was placing his foot and the weight of his body.

    Saddly, Howard Webb must have been on the wrong side of the pitch to watch Kompany on the act. Just like it wasn't easy to see it on MOTD. It took a camera recording from a different angle to catch the City culprit on the act.

    City are lucky they're not United, in this instance. Had Kompany been a United player, the F.A. would already be hot on his heels.

  • Comment number 98.

    A Bizarro Barcelona, if you will.

    "Less than a club."

    Always will be the 2nd club in Manchester.

  • Comment number 99.

    Kompany's "stamp" was a combo of evasive action & a "serves you right."

    Cahill's lunge was worthy of a straight red, similar to Torres challenge yesterday.

  • Comment number 100.

    76.At 09:42 25th Sep 2011, JamTay1 wrote:
    So Everton a solid top 8 team play away to Man City with no strikers and just try to get a 0-0.

    Another nail in the coffin for those skywashed wallies who still think this is the most competitive and exciting league in the world!

    ----------------------------------------

    This is football.
    If you want entertainment then watch Strictly Come Dancing.

 

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