Naismith denies City victory
FA Premier League
Saturday 10 January 2015, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho (Lampard 82), Nasri (Kolarov 91), Navas, Silva, Jovetic (Aguero 67)
Unused: Caballero, Kompany, Sagna, Sinclair
Goals: Fernandinho 74
Booked: Mangala, Fernandinho
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: David Silva
Saturday saw Manchester City travel to Goodison Park to play Everton. It was a chance for the Blues to go top, but a trip to Merseyside is rarely easy for the Citizens who, aside from last season, have a shocking record there. Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany were back on the bench, providing a boost for City with key games against Arsenal and Chelsea coming up.
City started well, with David Silva once again in wonderful form, but were wasteful in front of goal. Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic were both guilty of missing good chances, failing to test Everton keeper Joel Robles. The hosts offered little in the way of an attacking threat, partly due to the excellence of Fernando in midfield. The Brazilian midfielder has struggled at times since his move from Porto, but was in imperious form here, nullifying numerous Everton attacks, and keeping the dangerous Ross Barkley quiet.
Despite City's dominance, Everton came closest to taking the lead just before half time. Romelu Lukaku forced a save from Joe Hart, and Seamus Coleman saw his effort strike the bar moments laters.
The second half saw a much more spirited Everton performance, with Lukaku in particular a threat. The Belgian forward gave Eliaquim Mangala a torrid time, and Hart had to make another smart save down low to his left. However, it was the away side who took a deserved lead with 15 minutes remaining. Silva's shot was saved by Robles after Nasri cut the ball back, but Fernandinho managed to divert the rebound home.
It looked like City were going to take all three points back to Manchester, but Everton responded instantly. A soft free kick was awarded against Pablo Zabaleta, and Steven Naismith glanced a header past Hart from Leighton Baines' cross.
A point at Goodison isn't necessarily a bad result, but manager Manuel Pellegrini will have been frustrated at his side's wastefulness in front of goal. He will hope the imminent signing of Wilfried Bony for £25m, plus the return of leading scorer Sergio Aguero, will go some way to rectifying that.