Strikes from Mario Balotelli and James Milner condemn a disappointing Everton to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
David Moyes selection was typical. One without a recognised striker, persisting with midfielder Tim Cahill isolated up front on his own, with strikers Louis Saha, Apostolos Vellios and Denis Stracqualursi left looking on from the bench.
There was just the one change to the side that overcome Wigan last weekend, Phil Neville was brought back into the side to anchor an already defensive midfield with Jack Rodwell and Marouane Fellaini. Leon Osman was deployed out of position at left wing in favour of Royston Drenthe and Bilyaletdinov with Seamus Coleman on the right of midfield.
With a team set up to defend and frustrate from the off, Everton rarely didnÂ´t threaten Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
David Moyes was forced to introduce a striker when Tim Cahill was forced out of the action in the second period after picking up a nasty ankle injury after being stepped on by Vincent Kompany following CahillÂ´s late challenge on CityÂ´s skipper. The injured Tim Cahill was booked as he hobbled off the pitch, with referee Howard Webb looking to have a bet on Everton picking up over 5 yellow cards, booking any Everton challenge on a whim – 5 in total.
But Everton managed to frustrate Manchester City until the 68th minute, when £30m pound substitute Mario Balotelli stroked the ball past Tim Howard from outside the box, benefiting from a slight deflection off Jagielka as the ball nestled in the far corner to send City 1-0 up.
As the game entered stoppage time, James Milner capitalising the hesitancy of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin to intercept a poor misplaced Drenthe pass, racing onto SilvaÂ´s through ball before being left with a simple task of putting the ball beuond Tim Howard.