Everton vs. Manchester City: Rating Both Sets of Players
Everton did their best to erase the painful memories of last weekend's FA Cup exit by bouncing back with an emphatic 2-0 win over Manchester City.
Having dominated the early exchanges, the Toffees took the lead through Leon Osman's sensational long-range finish, which completely dumbfounded Joe Hart.
City were far more convincing after the break and were aided by the dismissal of Steven Pienaar for his second bookable offence, leaving the hosts 30 minutes to hang on with 10 men.
Despite some intense periods of pressure, David Moyes' side prevailed—and even added a late second, as Nikica Jelavic curled home to send Goodison Park into raptures.
Manchester City will point to a controversial missed penalty, when Marouane Fellaini clearly handled in the box, but Everton were equally unfortunate with Kevin Mirallas' early goal wrongly ruled out.
Here's a look at how both sets of players fared:
Jan Mucha: 8/10
From being thought of as a liability, Mucha transformed himself into a cult-hero among fans with some unorthodox, but nonetheless stunning late saves. He twice sprinted from his line to deny City players what looked certain goals and played a huge part in securing the points.
Seamus Coleman: 9/10
Coleman was the game's best player, despite costing significantly less than any other signing on the field. Bought for just £60,000, the Irishman gave Aleksandar Kolarov a torrid afternoon, tormenting him with some devastating runs. At the other end he gave his best defensive display in an Everton shirt, putting in one particularly crucial header during the closing stages.
Leighton Baines: 7/10
For once Baines was outshone by another full-back—Coleman—although the Englishman still produced a typically solid performance. His clash with James Milner was committed, all-action and entertaining viewing, with Baines narrowly bettering his international colleague. He only found a man with four of his 14 crosses, but did create the most chances for his side.
John Heitinga: 7/10
After a difficult few months at Goodison Park, this was undoubtedly Heitinga's best display of the season. He was unbeaten in challenges, timing his tackles to perfection and he was constantly alert to track and close down Carlos Tevez.
Sylvain Distin: 8/10
Facing his former side, Distin was colossal at the back, keeping the defence well organised and ensuring Edin Dzeko remained irrelevant for the majority of the contest. He was imperious in the air, clearing the ball more than any of his teammates and will feel disappointed not to have made more of a late header at goal.
Darron Gibson: 9/10
Gibson showed why his omission against Wigan was such a curious decision, putting in a superb performance for the Toffees. The Irishman was constantly seen sprinting all over the pitch, desperate to make up for his side's red card. He was Everton's top passer and disrupted a number of City attacks with an impressive seven interceptions.
Leon Osman: 8/10
Installed as the stand-in skipper, Osman took his goal superbly, hitting a curling effort past a helpless Joe Hart. His quick feet bought his side extra time and space in midfield, and he remained involved throughout, despite shuffling over to the left to compensate for the dismissal of Pienaar.
Kevin Mirallas: 7/10
As ever, the Belgian showed flashes of brilliance without ever being a constant presence in the game. He launched several breaks with some searing pace, but never quite delivered the end product to capitalise on his work. Was wrongly flagged offside early in the game after a stylish finish.
Steven Pienaar: 5/10
Pienaar was the only blot on his side's copybook, earning a second booking for a needless challenge early in the second half. Before that, he had been bright and effective, working both full-backs into pockets of space out wide.
Who was Everton's best player?
Marouane Fellaini: 7/10
After his lethargic showing against Wigan, Fellaini seemed far more motivated to perform in this game. He was slightly hampered by an early booking, but continued to harry and hassle opponents and showed good composure to set up Jelavic's goal.
Victor Anichebe: 8/10
A typically energetic performance from Anichebe, who was another to never stop running and kept every City defender on their toes. Wasted one half-chance but worked tirelessly for his side, occupying defenders, creating space for others and winning useful possession up the field.
Steven Naismith: 5/10
Brought on to shore up the right, the Scottish international closed down his opposite man well, but was unable to contribute much with the ball.
Nikica Jelavic: n/a
Jelavic came on for the last few minutes and was played in to score the decisive goal, which he showed impressive poise to finish. A strike he'll hope can spark a return to form.
Manchester City Ratings:
Joe Hart: 5/10
Not a great afternoon for Hart. He could do nothing about Jelavic's finish, but was left a little too static for Osman's goal and totally misjudged a cross that Distin should have capitalised on.
Pablo Zabaleta: 6/10
Zabaleta was solid enough in defence, sliding in well to halt a couple of dangerous Mirallas breaks. He helped move his side up the field with some precise passing and was denied by an impressive Mucha save towards the end.
Kolo Toure: 510
Involved in a constant scrap with Anichebe, Toure stuck to his defensive duties well, for the most part, but was rushed into conceding possession on a couple of occasions. Struggled with his 50-50s, losing every one of his five and was never quite able to install confidence into his defensive peers.
Matija Nastasic: 6/10
Nastasic dealt with Anichebe reasonably well on the occasions he ran down his channel, although he was unable to win much in the air and did not react quickly enough to prevent the home side's late strike. A peripheral performer for much of the game.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 4/10
Kolarov was given a tough afternoon against Coleman, failing to cope with the energetic Irishman. He did provide a number of chances for his side but won just 30 percent of his ground duels and lost possession 24 times, more than any other player.
Javi Garcia: 7/10
Comfortable in possession, Garcia helped raise the tempo for the visitors after the break, stroking the ball around well and showing an accurate lofted ball. He was his side's top passer, created a couple of chances and was Manchester City's main presence in midfield.
Gareth Barry: 5/10
An uncharacteristically shabby passing display from Barry, who connected with just 66 percent of his targets. He was never able to grab the initiative, even with the home side eventually losing a man, and was unsurprisingly replaced by Samir Nasri as City searched for some quicker ball in midfield.
James Milner: 6/10
Milner stuck to his task admirably, marshaling Baines throughout the game, although he never quite managed to completely suppress his influence. He blocked a number of potentially dangerous crosses, but was rarely a factor going forward and should have at least seen yellow for a number of clumsy challenges.
David Silva: 7/10
Despite his side's ineffectiveness in front of goal, Silva worked hard to provide others with opportunities and was let down by his teammates on a number of occasions. He created six chances, almost double as many as any other player, and was one of his side's better performers.
Who was Manchester City's best player?
Carlos Tevez: 6/10
Tevez looked City's most likely scorer, but while he was penetrative with the ball at his feet, he rarely found himself in with a genuine chance of scoring. He was unable to find an extra yard of space in the final third and found himself drifting further out wide as the game progressed.
Edin Dzeko: 5/10
It was a poor afternoon for the Bosnian, who found little joy in the air against the impressive Distin and struggled to make much of an impression throughout. Managed more shots on target than any other player but didn't overly trouble Mucha.
Samir Nasri: 6/10
Added with 20 minutes left, Nasri was tidy with the ball, accelerated the passing and helped maintain possession in dangerous areas, yet was unable to unlock the Everton defence.
Gael Clichy: n/a
Introduced in the 83rd minute, Clichy gave City more options on the left and delivered a few inviting crosses, but nothing that proved decisive.
Scott Sinclair: n/a
Similarly brought on in the closing stages, he had little time to make an impact.
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