Everton v Manchester City: Champions League Dreams Officially Over

Clive Brunskill

Although many people doubted Everton's drive to win before the match, they showed that they wanted to win as much as Man City but in the end failed to gather any points.

Everton started the match in an experimental 3-4-3 (or 3-4-2-1) which may have put doubts in a lot of Liverpool fans' minds. Manchester City started on the front foot gaining the upper hand in possession but a 11th minute wonder strike by Ross Barkley put Everton ahead and tossed out any doubt that Everton were playing to lose. An inspirational first half by Barkley should dispel any questions of whether he should go to Brazil for England. If you haven't seen the strike yet, you need to have a look:

An injured Sergio Aguero then leveled the scoring by leaping at a Yaya Toure pass in the 22nd minute. Aguero was soon taken off for Fernandinho. Everton also switched their formation into a 4-1-4-1 after the defense looked disjointed and unable to handle pressure. But the defense continued to show holes as Dzeko scored on a free header in the 43rd minute and once again after half time in the 48th minute on a side footed shot (from Nasri).

This second strike seemed to have destined Everton to defeat but the Blues kept fighting on holding the majority of possession. But a very inconsistent Lukaku then came out of nowhere to head a 65th minute cross from Baines into goal to give life back to Everton once again.

Martinez made two aggressive changes (Deulofeu for Jagielka and McGeady for Osman) in order to spur the team to at least a draw but Everton just could not find another goal and any slim chances of 4th place and Champions League football were shot down. Tottenham and Manchester United losses mean that Everton can also no longer finish below 5th now.

A great season has now almost come to end. While some may be disappointed by the lack of Champions League and a top 4 finish, no one could have dreamed of such a high finish before the beginning of what many were calling a "transition year".

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