Everton 2 Manchester City 3

FA Premier League
Saturday 3 May 2014, 17.30 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Clichy, Milner, Garcia, Toure (Kolarov 66), Nasri (Silva 74), Dzeko Aguero (Fernandinho 28)
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Negredo, Jovetic
Goals: Aguero (22), Dzeko (43, 48)
Booked: Garcia, Demichelis, Dzeko

Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Joe Hart

Zabaleta under a challenge from Naismith.

Zabaleta under a challenge from Naismith.

The game had quite a muted start, with both teams just testing the water and seeing what was what. The visitors had the better of the early chances, but Garcia’s header from a corner was straight at the goalkeeper, before Zabaleta skied an effort from just inside the box, following a very cute ball from Aguero.

But Everton’s first effort of the match found the net. It was a superb effort on ten minutes from Barkley from 20 yards out, as he curled it over and around Hart and into the top corner. The City goalkeeper didn’t stand a chance and the visitors had it all to do.

Five minutes later, Toure should probably have equalised. Some neat build-up between Clichy and Nasri found the Ivorian inside the left corner of the box. Holding off Osman, Toure worked it towards the centre of the goal and blasted for the top corner – Howard was beaten, but it flashed over the bar.

The home side wanted a penalty for a Kompany tackle on Barkley, but the referee ruled the Belgian had won the ball and from that the visitors broke. The ball fell kindly for Garcia who slid it through to Toure in the middle. There, the Ivorian played it through for Aguero in space on the right and his effort beat Howard at the near post for the equaliser. It was joy short-lived, though, as Aguero injured himself in scoring.

It looked like the game was going to trundle to half time as City looked well below par, but the Blues somehow got themselves in front. Dzeko took too many touches when played through and his low cross was blocked by Howard. Milner picked up the rebound and produced a lovely turn to get a cross in, where Dzeko’s header found the bottom corner.

Demichelis battles with Lukaku in the air.

Demichelis battles with Lukaku in the air.

In the opening minute of the second half, Hart pulled out a brilliant save to keep the visitors in front. Barkley broke with the ball past Garcia – who couldn’t stop him on a yellow card – and played in Naismith, who went through on a one-on-one. Hart was out quickly and tipped the placed effort around the post.

Immediately, though, City went on to boost their advantage. Nasri did brilliantly to keep possession on the right and cut inside. The Frenchman drilled a ball across the face of goal and Dzeko stabbed it into the roof of the net. The home players appealed for offside, but he was level and the goal stood.

There was a response from Everton: City sat on their laurels and allowed the hosts to control possession. Happy to allow the hosts more of the ball, on 64 minutes they were punished. A ball in from the left from Baines was well met by Lukaku and his header hit the inside of the post and hit the back of the net. City wanted offside, but the linesman kept his flag down.

With 20 minutes to play, City had a golden chance to add to their lead again. A cute ball inside by Milner allowed Zabaleta to run clean through on goal, but his left footed drive was blocked by Howard. The rebound, picked up by Kolarov, was curled over the bar.

Ten minutes later, there was a truly bizarre passage of play. Dzeko, clearly needing medical attention, wasn’t allowed it by the referee and was instead booked for timewasting for not getting up from the ground. The referee remained steadfast and wouldn’t allow the physio on and Dzeko wasn’t moving. Eventually, he allowed the striker to get treatment and showed him the yellow card.

City were under immense pressure – Deulofeu wriggled through most of the City defence after Demichelis blocked Barkley’s cross to the edge of the box. He got through to a one-on-one with Hart, who pulled off another good save to get the ball behind.

Despite the late pressure and six (becoming seven through timewasting) added minutes, City held on to the rare win at Goodison Park and went back to the top of the table.

Manchester City 3 Everton 1

FA Premier League
Saturday 5 October 2013, 12.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c) (Nastasic 34), Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 58), Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Milner, Aguero (Nasri 79), Negredo
Unused: Pantilimon, Richards, Navas, Dzeko
Goals: Negredo (17), Aguero (45), Howard (og 69)
Booked: Kompany, Milner, Zabaleta, Silva, Fernandinho

Referee: Jon Moss
Man of the Match: David Silva

Everton1

Hart saves from Lukaku.

Ah, Everton at home. A write-off. A game City never win. Always a dull affair, that the visitors win by the odd goal. But maybe things have changed? The Toffees – under a brand new manager – have changed their style of play and are now more open and far less kick-and-rush. And, for the first time in a long time, the fans were treated to an entertaining match.

It was clear the away side were much changed from previous visits as the match opened with some end-to-end play. The first real chance fell to Toure, who smashed a shot from the edge of the box and Howard pushed it away, dealing well with the bounce right in front of him. Kolarov side-netted a free kick, convincing fans on the far side it was in, before Everton replied: Lukaku was close to rounding Hart, but the England keeper blocked the effort well.

But a disastrous offside trap from the hosts present the Belgian striker with a chance to open the scoring. A ball over the top landed nicely for Lukaku and he brushed Lescott aside to set up a one-on-one. His shot was low and hard, and Hart got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out. It was a difficult save, but he might feel he could have done better.

It took 92 seconds for the hosts to respond. In fact, following City’s kick off after conceding, the only Everton player to touch the ball before the equaliser was scored was Howard: It was neatly slotted through for Negredo to face him one-on-one and the shot clipped the keeper on its way into the net.

With 22 minutes played, City were close to going in front, as the frantic start showed few signs of slowing down. A corner on the right flank was played short by Milner and returned back to him by Silva. The England international’s cross was deflected onto the outside of the post.

Four minutes later and the home side should definitely have been in front. A free kick on the left flank was taken short by Toure and a neat flick between him and Silva put Aguero through on goal – but he missed, shooting wide of the far post on a one-on-one with Howard.

But there was a sting to come for the home fans. With nobody near him, Kompany went down and there was concern from his fellow defenders. The physios came on and the captain limped off – with concerns of his recent groin and thigh problems returning.

Everton2

Aguero celebrates his goal.

Another gilt-edged opportunity was missed by the hosts and, once more, it was Aguero: Uncharacteristically he took an airshot when clean through on goal, following a brilliant tackle by Negredo on Distin. It looked like it wasn’t going to be his day, as he volleyed wide from the left side of the box.

Never one to let his head drop, though, Aguero did get his goal and right on the stroke of half time. Silva played a brilliant slide-rule pass through for the Argentine to set him through on goal. Having missed two one-on-ones already, he buried the third, planting it neatly into the bottom corner. City went in at the break with the advantage.

Early in the second half, City were forced into another substitution, as Nastasic and Kolarov clashed. Both needed treatment, but the left back wasn’t able to continue, leaving the pitch for stitches to a head wound. It was a start to Blues in the wars – as Zabaleta soon needed attention to a cut above his eye.

If City fans were still smarting about some of the decisions leading to goals at Villa Park, though, they will have been relieved to see one go for the Blues just before the 70 minute mark. Zabaleta got the wrong side of Coleman and was nudged slightly. The full back went down easily and the referee pointed to the spot – but it was probably the wrong decision.

Aguero stepped up and forced the goal, but missed the penalty. His shot was tipped onto the post by Howard, but the Everton goalkeeper could do nothing as the ball bounced back onto his head and into the net. It’ll go down as a missed spot kick for the Argentine, but he’d done enough to get the Blues a two-goal advantage.

With that goal, the game began to slow down. City were content to keep possession and keep moving the Everton back line around without really threatening, while the visitors seemed to accept that their unbeaten start to the season was coming to a close.

A solid win in the end for the Blues and a good response to the last week.

Everton 2 Manchester City 0

FA Premier League
Saturday 16 March 2013, 12.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (c), K Toure (Sinclair 83), Nastasic, Milner (Clichy 83), Garcia, Barry (Nasri 70), Kolarov, Silva, Tevez, Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Razak, Lescott, Lopes
Goals:
Booked: Kolarov, Dzeko, Silva

Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

Everton1It was a lively start to the game, with both sides seemingly more interested in getting stuck in than shots on goal. Fellaini saw yellow for a late challenge on Milner, before Gibson hit the wall from a free kick, after Kolo Toure had fouled Anichebe. Hart was out quickly to punch a Baines cross, following a half-cleared corner. Everton had the ball in the net following a City clearance, but the flag was up for offside.

With 20 minutes played, it had been all the home side, but they had been unable to find the breakthrough. They had tried several crosses, most of which met the head of Kolo Toure, and City were holding out – just about. City’s first real bout of pressure allowed Silva to whip a free kick into the box, but neither Dzeko nor Milner could get a touch and Mucha could collect it.

A minute later and City had suddenly come to life: Tevez had an effort from the edge of the box and Mucha was able to hold it. Kolarov then found Dzeko in the box and his turn and shot was well blocked by the goalkeeper, before the Bosnian tried a curler from the left corner of the area. He couldn’t get enough bend on the ball, though, and it dropped nicely for Mucha to collect.

Despite the growing City pressure, it was the home side who took the lead. After a spell of Everton possession, Osman hit the ball from range and sliced through it, bending it away from Hart and into the top corner. The visitors were behind at Goodison once again.

After the goal, City virtually collapsed: Fellaini could have had a penalty when Nastasic blocked him off, before Anichebe turned and shot from the corner of the six-yard box, but skied his effort. Tevez tried another effort from 25 yards towards the back post, but it was just wide of the post. Dzeko couldn’t then flick a header towards the goal, as Kolarov’s cross was just too high for him.

City started the second half brighter: Kolarov volleyed high as it bounced to him from a cross from the right, before Milner nodded down for Garcia to shoot, but he couldn’t connect to the ball. Barry flicked a corner towards the back post and Nastasic was inches away from getting the vital touch, but he missed the ball too, and it bounced behind for a goal kick.

With 30 minutes to play, City were thrown a lifeline. Pienaar dived in on Garcia and raked his studs down the Spaniard’s shin. Having already been booked, he was always going to be shown a red card and the visitors had to face ten men.

Six minutes later, the visitors should have been level. Dzeko brilliantly played Tevez into the box and the Argentine’s effort was pushed out to Milner by Mucha. The midfielder hit it first time towards the goal, but the keeper was up quickly to make himself big and block behind for a corner. It really should have been the equaliser.

With just over ten minutes to play, it was Zabaleta who was denied by Mucha, again storming off his line to make himself big. Dzeko nodded the ball back across goal and found Silva in the box, who tried to work the opening to shoot. On his right foot, he decided to play Zabaleta in, who took a touch to blast, but the keeper pounced on his control. Coleman then put in a brilliant header to deny Tevez a free header at the back post.

With five minutes to play, Tevez smashed a shot from range and it was blocked by the arm of Fellaini inside the box. The referee, though, bottled the decision and gave it as a free kick outside the area. It couldn’t have been more blatant inside the box: The free kick hit the wall. It should have been a penalty.

With stoppage time over, Everton broke away with a two-on-one with Fellaini and Jelavic. The Belgian squared for the striker and his shot deflected off Clichy and over Hart into the top corner. City were toothless and got exactly what they deserved: Nothing.

Manchester City 1 Everton 1

FA Premier League
Saturday 1 December 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov (Zabaleta 8), Y Toure, Barry, Silva, Nasri, Tevez (Aguero 68), Dzeko (Balotelli 81)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Garcia, Sinclair
Goals: Tevez (pen 43)
Booked: Lescott, Zabaleta

Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

Everton1It was a slow start to the game and City weren’t quick in coming out of the blocks. Early on, the home side lost Kolarov to injury, before Maicon fizzed a great ball into the box for Dzeko to challenge. Howard got up above him to claim it and both players fell heavily, needing treatment. It was Everton’s turn to press moments later, but Baines’s cross wasn’t threatening anybody after some good build-up.

Just before the 25 minute mark, Nasri pulled away into space inside the box and found room to shoot, but it hit Dzeko and bounced behind for a goal kick. City were uninspiring and Everton were in control of the play, despite creating little for Joe Hart to stop. Soon, though, that had changed, as a ball from the left was met by Fellaini. Hart pulled off a brilliant save, but he could do nothing to stop the Belgian slotting the rebound into the net. Everton deserved their lead.

Two minutes later, City were almost level, but for a great save by Howard. Tevez found a pocket of space inside the box and flicked a header towards the back post as the cross dropped his way. It looked destined for the corner, but the visiting goalkeeper got across to push it behind for a corner. Dzeko then set himself up for a volley, via Silva and Barry, but Howard got that behind awkwardly.

From the resulting flag kick, City earned the chance to equalise. Dzeko went down under pressure from Fellaini and the referee agreed that he’d been dragged down by the Everton goalscorer and pointed straight to the spot. Tevez stepped up and, as Howard dived to his left, smashed the penalty right down the middle to level the scores.

City started the second half much better than they had the first. Tevez had a shot blocked at close range, before Distin took an airshot under pressure from the Argentine forward. Howard, though, was there to mop up the danger and City were looking much more like the team they normally do, rather than their first-half stifled selves. And that was almost summed up by Maicon, who powered into the Everton box and shot, but his effort was beaten away by Howard.

But the home side appeared to relax, and Everton were sniffing all three points. Zabaleta got up well to clear a corner, after Kompany had cleared a free kick from Baines. Dzeko tried to nod the ball down for Toure when he could have had an attempt on goal, before he tried the same for Aguero, but the Argentine couldn’t quite latch onto it before it was cleared.

With minutes to play, City stepped up the pressure with a series of corners, but that almost cost them as the visitors broke away. Everton had a four-on-three for a moment, but Zabaleta cynically brought down Jelavic to give the home side time to get back. He got booked and, from the free kick, Hart just about got the ball behind. It was an awkward save, but it earned City a point.

Everton 1 Manchester City 0

English Premier League
Tuesday 31 January 2012, 20.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott (Kolarov 68), Clichy, Barry (de Jong 86), Milner (A Johnson 61), Silva, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Savic, Razak
Goals:
Booked: Kompany, Lescott

Referee: Peter Walton
Man of the Match: James Milner

It was City with the opening possession of the game, but it was an Everton corner that almost brought the opening goal after five minutes. Hart couldn’t get near to the cross and it was headed beyond him by Stracqualursi, but the former Everton defender Lescott was on the line to head it clear. Richards then got himself into a shooting chance at the other end, but Howard saved well, when the full-back might have crossed.

Some patient build-up let Silva pick up the ball in the middle of the Everton half. He turned and drew two defenders, leaving space for Milner to pull wide. The Englishman’s cross was missed by Dzeko, but it fell to Clichy at the back post, whose effort was well over the bar. Dzeko had a shot blocked, before Milner couldn’t pick out Aguero after he’d breezed past Heitinga.

A quick free kick from Everton was almost their downfall after 23 minutes, as Clichy intercepted and a quick ball from Silva found Aguero. He pulled the ball down well, but couldn’t find the target, dragging his left footed effort just wide of the post from the edge of the area. Kompany was very harshly booked for a tangle with Cahill and, from the resulting free kick, it was a great block by Lescott on a Fellaini header to clear the ball from a corner.

With 36 minutes on the clock, City almost had themselves in front. Dzeko won the ball back in the Everton half and held the ball up well. He slipped it to the middle for Nasri and the Frenchman had no thought in his head other than to shoot. He did, he beat Howard, but it crashed down off the crossbar and away to safety. The game was the stopped in bizarre circumstances, after a fan ran onto the pitch and handcuffed himself to Joe Hart’s left hand post.

City looked to start the second half where they left off the first. It was Dzeko with the first chance after the break, as he headed towards goal from a Clichy cross, but it was an easy take for Howard. A clearance from Clichy then bounced nicely for Aguero to roll his man and break through on goal. His square ball, though, was behind Dzeko and Nasri picked up the pieces to shoot, but the effort was deflected over. Lescott could have earned City a penalty, but the referee decided he’d fouled Tim Howard and not the other way around.

Aguero tricked himself into the Everton box and was dispossessed by Fellaini. The referee looked twice, before waving play on, and it was a fair challenge. Dzeko couldn’t keep the ball as it was then cleared from the City defence and, from the change of possession, a poor touch from Donovan found Gibson, whose shot from the edge of the box deflected off Gareth Barry and beat Hart. City were behind on Merseyside again, largely against the run of play.

A Kolarov free kick needed two hands from Howard to punch the ball clear, before he returned a corner back into the box for Nasri in behind the back. The Frenchman’s pull back, though, bounced down onto the ground and rolled along the top of the bar and behind. Gibson had another volley from the edge of the box after Richards couldn’t clear, but it was wide of Hart’s post.

City wanted a penalty for a possible handball by Neville, but it would have been a very harsh award as Kolarov smashed it against his arm. Richards was then fouled by a nasty challenge by Denthe, who only received a yellow card when he could have seen red. Richards then attempted an overhead kick from a Clichy cross, but it was well over the bar.

City were knocking on the Everton door, but the home side were getting men behind the ball and holding firm. The bus was firmly parked and City couldn’t find a way through. It was perhaps an undeserved victory for Everton, but it was the bogey team who took the points from the visitors once again.

Everton 2 Manchester City 1

Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 7 May 2011, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (Balotelli 80), Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Vieira (A Johnson 78), de Jong (Jo 90), Y Touré, Silva, Milner, Dzeko
Unused: Given, Boyata, McGivern, Wright-Phillips
Goals: Y Touré (28)
Booked: Kompany, Kolarov

Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong

The first action of the game saw a free kick to Everton on the left wing after Zabaleta was deemed to have fouled Arteta, but the neat idea to roll it back to Osman didn’t come off, when the Everton man skied his shot into the stand behind Hart’s goal.

City, though, responded on 8 minutes as Silva produced a wonderful piece of control inside the area after Kompany had played a high diagonal ball. He turned Hibbert inside out and flashed a shot across the goalmouth, but it was a yard wide of the post.

Three minutes later and City should have been in front. A delightful ball to the back post by Milner found Silva and he cushioned the ball down for the late arriving Vieira, but he put his side-footed volley over the bar from inside the six yard box, when he should have done a lot better.

Everton began to put the pressure on the visitors with a series of corners, but City were able to win the ball in the air and get it clear. Vieira tried to play Silva through, but his pass was just too heavy, before he then gave the ball away on the edge of the box, but de Jong was on hand to help out. An Everton free kick then deflected off the City wall for a corner.

City began to steady the ship and get their foot on the ball and they carved another golden chance as Silva broke into the box. He tried to square it past Howard, but was only able to pick out Everton shirts. A minute later, though, he found Touré on the right and he smashed it past Howard and into the top corner, giving the visitors the lead.

The visitors quickly had the chance to double the lead, as Dzeko tried a curler from the edge of the box, but his miss-hit it and Howard could catch. Silva then found him on the edge of the box and the Bosnian’s volley cannoned off Distin’s bottom and to safety, before Kolarov couldn’t squeeze a low cross past the front post.

Baines tried a low shot that was blocked by Kompany, before Silva almost found Touré in the box again, this time with a low cross, but the Ivorian couldn’t stretch enough to find the finish. Lescott was then unlucky to concede a free kick on Everton’s right flank, but Everton couldn’t find the ball into the box with a move off the training ground. Rodwell then headed wide from a Neville cross.

A brilliant piece of defending from Jagielka denied Kolarov a certain goal in the area, after some neat interplay between Silva and Touré left him through on goal, but the Everton centre-back got a foot on the ball before the Serbian could pull the trigger.

The first action of the second half saw Kompany pull out the best tackle he’s made all season. A Baines shot from a free kick deflected to the edge of the six yard box and seemed a simple tap in past Joe Hart, until the Belgian centre-back got his toe in first to force the ball behind for a corner. That led to a series of corners for the home side, but they couldn’t force the equaliser.

A defensive header by Dzeko from the final corner allowed City the chance to break away and Touré found himself through on goal, but he couldn’t force the ball past Howard on his one-on-one. Dzeko then headed inches wide, with Howard stranded, and Dzeko couldn’t find a shot in the box from a corner.

The Everton fans wanted a penalty on 54 minutes as Baines hit the deck in the area, but there was no appeal from the Everton full back and the referee turned the appeals down. Silva then put the ball into a dangerous area in the Everton box from a free kick, but Howard was out quickly to punch it clear.

Rodwell then tried a square pass in the City area, but all of the Everton attack had driven towards goal and the ball was behind everyone, allowing Milner to clear. Kolarov tried one of his long range efforts, but it was well wide of Howard’s goal. Rodwell then clattered through de Jong and picked up a yellow card and Kompany saw yellow for his reaction, too.

As the game ticked over the hour mark, Silva and Touré broke into the Everton half and released Dzeko onto the edge of the box. He ran at Distin and fired off a left foot shot that was inches wide of Howard left hand post.

And then, with 65 minutes played, Everton punished City for their slack finishing. Kompany lost Distin in the box from a set piece and he nodded past Hart to equalise for the home side against his former club. City should have been more than one goal in front and they paid the price for being wasteful.

Everton pushed for the second goal immediately and City were on the back foot. A free kick was just about cleared by Kompany and Zabaleta, before de Jong pulled off a great tackle on Cahill to deny him a shooting opportunity. Beckford was then flagged offside as he ran through to shoot, but his shot flashed wide anyway.

And City couldn’t hang on in there. Leon Osman rose higher than Kompany in the area and headed towards the back post, giving Hart no chance and pulling the home side in front from a losing position. It had been coming since the equaliser, but still harsh on City.

Balotelli then challenged Howard for the ball as it deflected towards the Everton keeper and he just got enough on it to get it clear. Milner picked up the loose ball and shot at goal. It was deflected and looped just over the bar for a corner. Johnson was causing problems and fired in a low cross, but it couldn’t find a City foot.

Hart launched a late free kick into the Everton box, but there wasn’t a City head to meet it and it transpired to be another defeat on Merseyside, again underserved against the Blue half, and City handed the chance for Tottenham to close the gap.

Manchester City 1 Everton 2

Barclay’s Premier League
Monday 20 December 2010, 20.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, K Touré, Kompany, Kolarov, Y Touré, Barry, Silva, Milner (A Johnson 45), Balotelli (Jo 83), Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Richards, Boateng, Vieira, Wright-Phillips
Goals: Jagielka (og 73)
Booked: Kompany, Barry, Kolo Touré
Sent Off: Kolo Touré

Referee: Peter Walton
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

Knowing they could be top of the league for Christmas with a victory, City started the game with some good possession. But, within just three minutes, it was all undone: a free header from Tim Cahill inside the six yard box put the visitors in front, with the home side’s defending leaving a lot to be desired.

And it could have been worse for City, who seemed to collectively be having a bad game. David Silva, Yaya Touré and Vincent Kompany all gave the ball away as City looked to set off on the attack, setting Everton on dangerous counter attacks.

With 19 minutes on the clock, it did get worse. With Zabaleta off the pitch for treatment to a headwound, Cahill and Baines exploited the space and, after Kolo Touré couldn’t reach to intercept the first cross, the ball fell to Baines inside the box. He curled it around Joe Hart and into the net, with a first time hit on his wrong foot.

And City had a mountain to climb.

There were signs that the home side might get back into the game before the break, but chances were few and far between. Balotelli volleyed over from a corner, before City appealed for a handball in the box, but the referee waved the appeals away.

Zabaleta had a shot blocked in the box by what looked to be a stray arm from Phil Neville, but the referee was unmoved again, as Everton were camped in their area and City piled on the pressure. Despite the pressure, though, Howard wasn’t called into action.

Fellaini then went into the referee’s book for a stamping challenge that left Tevez on the deck, before a superb free kick from Kolarov was matched by Howard, springing to his left to touch it around the post. Yaya Touré then blasted over the bar, before City appealed a fourth time for a penalty – and another handball – against Phil Neville, but, again, it was waved away by the referee.

After half time, it really was all City… But it was Everton who had the goals and it was they who were content to defend deeply and park the bus. Kolarov troubled Howard with a long range effort, before the left back had another rasping effort, this time just wide, after Tevez had set him up.

Anichebe then saw yellow for a late tackle on Hart, before Kolarov wasted an opportunity to get a good ball into the box from a free kick, wide on the right.

With 30 minutes of the game to play, the visitors were reduced a man. Victor Anichebe brought down Zabaleta with a silly challenge as the City man was heading towards his own goal and the referee deemed it worthy of a second yellow card.

With 64 minutes played, City had another penalty shout – this time, handball by Jagielka, but the referee, once again, turned the appeal down. A minute later, Silva’s shot was blocked by Neville’s arm in the area again, but, despite the City players being convinced it was a spot kick, the referee waved play on.

Barry then put a volley over the bar as City took control of the game, but they were finding it hard to break down the ten men of Everton, who had become camped in their own half. Balotelli then had a great chance to shoot, but he slipped at the crucial moment and the ball dribbled behind for a goal kick.

With 20 minutes to play, though, City were back in the game. Yaya Touré’s driven cross towards the back post flicked off the knee of Jagielka and beat Tim Howard, reducing the home side to a one-goal deficit.

Three minutes later, it looked like City had equalised. Balotelli beat the offside trap to run on to a David Silva pass, but his deft flick over Howard rebounded back into play off the post, before Howard pulled off a world class stop to deny Tevez, who looked certain to score.

With five minutes to play, the City players were shaking their heads in disbelief as Peter Walton turned down another penalty appeal, as the ball struck Hibbert on the arm in the box and appeared to be a nailed on spot kick. He then endeared himself to the City fans further, by awarding a goal kick after Tim Howard had clearly tipped Yaya Touré’s effort wide.

City’s misery was then compounded, with two stoppage time yellow cards for Kolo Touré. First, he brought down Distin in the Everton half and prevented a breakaway, then, a minute later, did the same to Bilyaletdinov.

Everton’s only two shots on target were enough to steal the points, while City will be scratching their heads as to why their 32 efforts on goal yielded only four shots on target and one goal – a deflected cross.

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