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3 Thoughts- Defensive Steel, Midfield Madness and that traffic

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We concisely look over Wednesday night's fixture at the Etihad.

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As much as it will have frustrated a few Everton fans and obviously frustrated many Manchester City fans in attendance on Wednesday, Everton held firm. To go to City and prevent them from scoring at home is indeed an achievement in itself; in fact, nobody has been able to accomplish that feat since January of last year.

However, some fans may not be able realise such a good effort in defence due to the bewildering attempts going forward. It was simply non-existent for most of the game, but for snap chances falling to Leon Osman, Muhamed Besic and Romelu Lukaku across the 90 minutes.

Defensive Steel

We have been crying out for a performance like this all season from our defence. It was quite simply a well executed plan to nullify the City attacks and clear the ball in any way necessary. We went undoubtedly for a point and we got it. Ok, it maybe isn't glamorous nor a major contribution to our points tally in the league table, but if anything it proves that if we set out for something in mind we are capable of achieving it.

A special mention has to go to Tim Howard. Wednesday night's performance came out of nowhere, but he was exceptional in goal. The American did what he needed to and for one of few occasions this season, played his part in securing points for his side with his performance.

This defensive effort would have perfectly accompanied the attacking prowess we have displayed so far this season. If Ramiro Funes Mori, John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Howard can continue that kind of performance for the rest of the season we may just see them win games on their own.

Midfield Madness

It's important to point out here that this is not necessarily the fault of any of our players but once again falls to the arguably strange decisions our manager continues to make. Firstly, we will start with Leon Osman. Just how he merits a starting place amongst the current squad of players we have is outrageous and shouldn't be happening. Osman's best years have most certainly come and gone. If he did manage to grab a place in the team it most definitely wouldn't be on either wing. The Everton stalwart has lost his legs and what little pace he started out with has diminished over time. With Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and even Arouna Kone sat on the bench, it'll give you a firm idea of just how odd Martinez decision to play Osman was.

Due to the fact Roberto played a central midfielder on the wing, there wasn't a point in the game where we flooded the right hand side of their defence. Osman found himself drifting into a central midfield position leaving Leighton Baines' runs limited if not completely prevented. I accept that Gerard Deulofeu had a pretty average game and his engine and lack of fitness over 90 minutes is concerning. The young Spaniard was flagging come the 55th minute of the game and was eventually replaced on the 75th minute.

Although we had one average performance on one wing there simply was no excuse for the selection of Leon Osman on the other. There was also no exception for Steven Pienaar replacing Osman instead of Mirallas or Lennon. Pienaar has been sidelined for the best part of six months and all of a sudden is selected over two wingers that have spent the majority of the season stewing on the bench.

It's a typical saying in football, "select the best XI" I simply refuse to believe that the selections mentioned above are our best eleven. Far from it.

That traffic

On Wednesday night Manchester was predominantly a carpark. This was due to several crashes on the motorway into the city on both the entrance from the South and the entrance from the North, from where most of the Blues travelling support had been fighting their way through.

To add to road traffic issues the metro link through Manchester City centre was also down meaning access from the train stations was at a minimum. Factor all that in with typical midweek rush traffic within any city and you have yourself a mass of chaos.

In my opinion, it was wrong that both the Police and the Manchester City club stewards failed to make a decision to delay the kick off to allow fans arriving late to make the kick off or at least close to it. I had no issue getting to the stadium myself due to how early I left for the train station. In the ground both Manchester City and Everton fans were seen arriving as late as half time. The fact that travelling fans had to pay a steep £43 to buy a ticket for the game and only got to witness half of it is criminal.