|photo by Moe_||via PhotoRee|
farlieonfootie braved the cold weather last night to watch Citteh - Everton from his warm living room couch. Below, some brief observations on the Sky Blues comedic attempts to take the top spot -- never mind the two games in hand -- in the EPL last night.
- With the opportunity to go top, City bottled it once again, contributing yet another exhibit favorable to the prosecution in the case of Doubters v. City's Title Prospects. For the record, today's game kept the number of goals scored at home by a City player at 8, in 9 games overall at Wastelands. That's some exciting offense, huh? Good thing they kept Carlos Tevez happy....
- Also for the record, from @seaningle: Last season through 18 games, City managed to gain 32 points and had a goal differential of +10. This season through 18 games, City have managed to gain 32 points and have a goal differential of +8. Bring back Mark Hughes!
- It says a lot about Manchester City's offense last night to note that their leading scorer was Phil Jagielka. Yes, the same Phil Jagielka who plays defense for Everton. And their best and most consistent offensive effort consisted of raising their arms, faces contorted in rage, screaming at the referee and appealing time and again for a hand ball on Everton.
- I loved Tim Cahill's goal to open the scoring for Everton. He was open due to the shocking marking by Kolo Toure, whose defensive positioning included holding his hands in the air to ask why his teammates didn't cover the Australian -- when Cahill was his responsibility...!
- The second goal was even sweeter, as City's defense did a perfect imitation of statues while Everton sashayed the ball through the box without opposition. The finish was smooth, and having picked Leighton Baines for my fantasy team made me celebrate the goal even more than usual. But the icing on the cake had to be the eruption of Mount Mancini, as the dapper Italian sprayed water bottles all over the pitch in reaction to Everton's second goal.
- At the end of the match, the possession read 67% to City and 33% to Everton; in addition, Everton was successful on 100% of its two shots on goal, while City managed to get 0% of their 25 shots past Tim Howard. But statistics sometimes lie, as the spirit in which Everton played the game can't be properly measured by mere numbers. Everton was stuck in all night, and left no loose ball unchallenged. I loved the gritty spirit with which they played, bodies flying every which way, and players readily laying down to block the ball despite the feeling of being hit by a frozen rock in the 20 degree air.
- Mario Balotelli is a smoldering mess. This guy would sneer at Santa Claus delivering gifts to orphans. He looks ready to erupt at any moment -- so stay tuned to this space.
- It's kinda sad but also a bit funny to see what's happened to James "Blinded by the Money" Milner. Here's a guy who was the unquestioned star of his team (Aston Villa) last season, a bright up and comer who scored countless important goals while basking in fan adulation and leading Villa to a respectable top half finish. This year, Milner gets substituted at half time after yet another completely ineffective performance, and he seems forgotten and overlooked, a dim star in the Man City firmament. The older you get, the more you realize there's a reason certain things, such as "Be careful what you wish for," are called truisms.
- Kolo Toure must have set a record tonight for the two closest yellow cards ever in his stoppage time sending off. 90 minutes = no cards, but a good impression of a frozen man. Minutes 91 and 92 = two yellow cards on awful challenges and a quick trip to the locker room in advance of the final whistle. And this guy was Captain last year? -- that's terrible judgment.