Everton lost 2-0 at home against Manchester City in the third round of games in the Premier League. We'll have our usual post-match comments, tactical analysis, and match report posts up later, but here are some quick thoughts from the game today.
The Blues had the chance to go top of the table in the Premier League today, probably the first time since the First Division was renamed? They bottled it though, playing in awe of their more-illustrious opponents.
The game could have been over in the first half hour. City looked incisive with their quick one-two passes. Howard was stellar in repelling the visitors even as the defence was in shambles at times.
Roberto Martinez had switched up Tom Cleverley and Arouna Kone for long periods today. Didn't really help though as Jesus Navas had Brendan Galloway's number all half long.
Poor Galloway, he had a hard time keeping up with Navas today, though he didn't have too much help either. His knee injury just before half time looked bad. Who plays left back for Everton now?
Romelu Lukaku played again with his back to goal, and resulted in long periods of absolute irrelevance on the pitch. He was always second to the ball to just about anything hoofed at him.
When the Blues did play their counter-attacking game like last weekend they looked sharp. They had their chances towards the end of the first half, and would end up regretting not getting one in goal.
Speaking of which, Lukaku did get the ball in the goal, but was called marginally offside. 50/50 that one. It was ironic that the assistant referee who raised his flag was the same official who looked like he had forgotten his eyesight at home during Liverpool's game last weekend.
The big topic of the day for the Blues will be how poor James McCarthy looked today. He was out of sorts most of the game, letting David Silva and Yaya Toure stride forward with impunity. His miscommunication with Tim Howard led to the second goal that broke the home side's back.
Now that we've mentioned Howard, let's talk about him too. For most of the game he was authoritative, claiming the ball, making saves, commanding his box. The he had one blip, letting Aleksandar Kolarov beat him at the near post from a nothing angle. He quickly redeemed himself by taking a shot in the face, before falling asleep as sub Samir Nasri strolled through the box and chipped him nonchalantly. We're all to used to this bipolar goalkeeping from Howard unfortunately.
Steven Naismith on for Kone is an odd substitution to make. If the Blues were up 1-0 at home at the time, then it's the right move. But behind, against a City side that had dominated the second half, yet looked uncomfortable when Everton ran at them, it was a no-brainer that one of Kevin Mirallas or Gerard Deulofeu should have come on after the first goal.
For long parts of the game, Roberto looked to have it right, and Everton were very much in it. The failure to play the deep ball and lack of width ultimately doomed the Toffees.
David Silva. Wow. Wouldn't it be great to have a player who roams free and controls the game with a flick of the boot like he does? Silva deserved a goal for his performance today, and only the upright denied him.
Encouraging though that we went toe-to-toe against a dominant City side who have yet to concede a goal in three games and have been quite imperious at times.
Another positive was how well Seamus Coleman and Tom Cleverley played together on the right. Coleman looks like he is back to the form from two season ago, both defending and attacking.
What else did you notice? Who would be your pick for Everton Man of the Match?