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Gibson Smash Stuns Manchester City

For a guy who had a tough time finding the pitch for Manchester United, Darron Gibson certainly helped his former employer on Tuesday. His 19-yard deflected strike beat Joe Hart at the hour mark, and Everton earned the home victory over league leading Manchester City.

Tim Howard and the Everton defense, playing without injured defenders Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, kept a clean sheet against a star-studded lineup for the Blues playing in their Milanesque red-and-black away kits. A somewhat makeshift central defense pairing of John Heitinga and Tony Hibbert were surprisingly hard-nosed, especially in defending the multitude of aerial attacks from the wings. While City poured on pressure through extended portions of the match, the closest the came to a tally was a Samir Nasri slice from nearly 30 yards that struck the corner of the woodwork.

The interesting tactical feature for Manchester City was playing a 4-4-2 with Samir Nasri paired in a deep central role with Gareth Barry. With James Milner playing to the right, he and David Silva would cut inside from the wings behind Gibson and Marouane Fellaini. The two central midfielders from Everton would be sucked upfield to get pressure on Nasri and Barry, and that left space for the wingers to wait for passes into the next layer. Unfortunately for the Blues, their two forwards, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero, were not particularly effective in the final third at finding space.

The Toffees were up to their usual game of aerial football, attempting to play balls to strong center forward types (Denis Stracqualursi and Tim Cahill in this match). In general, Gibson and Fellaini were quite generous in returning possession to City throughout the match. In the first half, they nearly scored off a corner as Stracqualursi headed the ball towards net. A saving clearance from Joleon Lescott kept the match level up until the Gibson goal.

That goal came at the end of a great run by Roysten Drenthe. As he came upon pressure, he laid a pass into space for Leighton Baines. The left back crossed from just outside the 18-yard line, and was initially thwarted by Vincent Kompany. The ball came to Landon Donovan, who couldn’t find a shot himself but set up Gibson streaking towards the area. The recent acquisition from the Red Devils hit a right footed shot that glanced off the defense and snuck inside the right post.

The match was stopped for nearly 5 minutes in the first half as a pitch invader decided to handcuff himself to the City goal. The scene was somewhat surreal as the police freed the intruder.

Everton did well to see out the match, and this is yet another time where Manchester City lacked the wherewithal to fight back to scrounge out even a single point from this match. While they were missing Mario Balotelli to suspension, the lineup certainly had enough quality to muster a goal against a makeshift back line for the Toffees. The Blues are now on level terms with their Manchester counterparts at the top of the table, with goal difference their only saving grace at this point. Their next test is against Fulham, a home match where they will need to return to form since United is back on track.


EVERTON (4-1-3-2) – Howard; Neville, Hibbert, Heitinga, Baines; Fellaini; Donovan, Gibson, Drenthe (Baxter 79′) ; Stracqualursi (Vellios 88′), Cahill
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2) – Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott (Kolarov 68′), Clichy; Milner (Johnson 61′), Nasri, Barry (de Jong 86′), Silva; Dzeko, Aguero

GOALS – Gibson (Donovan) 60′, 19 yards, right foot strike
DISCIPLINE – Everton 1 (Drenthe 77′, caution); Manchester City 2 (Kompany 34′, caution; Lescott 59′, caution)
SHOTS – Everton 9; Manchester City 20
SHOTS ON GOAL – Everton 5; Manchester City 12
FOULS – Everton 12; Manchester City 9


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  1. Jean

    February 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Man city may be getting Arab money, but they’re still overrated…

  2. Ardwickian

    February 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Like stamford bridge in dec,more recently the stadium of light,goodison exploded last night as if they had just beat Barcelona in a champions league semi,but this was little old CITY that they beat, the team with no history.we’ve come along way and will go much further.

  3. Harold

    February 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

    City’s loss yesterday was a huge boost for United. The next 4 games will go a long way to shaping the title race this season. United have Chelsea (away), Liverpool (home), Norwich (away) and Spurs (away). Come through those in touching distance of City and it will be very difficult to stop United winning the title

    • Why?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Utd have had that very same boost three times only to fall behind again I fully expect them to do over the next few games again. City away don’t look to clever at the minute but bad luck is more than playing it’s part in that, i.e. 2 clear pens not given again and a massively deflected goal again, I can’t see these evening themselves out at all. If City win it they will of more than earned it.

  4. Mufc77

    February 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I see the lead changing a couple more times over the coming months. However If we get maximum points against Chelsea and Liverpool we will be hard to stop from winning the title.

    Citys loss yesterday is massive as it gives us room to drop a couple more points and it won’t have a drastic impact on our chances.

  5. Christian

    February 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Still not worried. No Toure in midfield and Mancini’s experiment failed. It’s February and we’re right there. I’ll take it. Let the naysayers nay.

  6. jtm371

    February 1, 2012 at 7:45 am

    i am not going to say MUFC is going to win the tittle but if your a city fan you have to be worried when D Gibson beats you with a goal.i don’t know the last time one of his shots at MUFC came within ten yards of the goal.

    • MNUfan1991

      February 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

      He didn’t score much for us this season but his thunderbolts went in quite regularly in the years past. Every time he got the ball outside the box the fans would want him to smack it.

      • MNUfan1991

        February 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

        Also, good luck Gibbo. Sorry you didn’t make it at United but we all know you are a fine PL player.

    • Why?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      He didn’t his shot was going straight to Hart it took a massive defection.

  7. RBP

    February 1, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Beautiful result, hopefully Everton can sneak their way into a European spot, delusional as that idea may be.

    • Taylor

      February 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Who knows ? I certainly hope so. Let’s hope Gibson can do similar to what Phillip Neville has done for the Toffees

  8. jack

    February 1, 2012 at 1:08 am

    A tie doesn’t exist.

    There is no joint top.

    One team is top by goal differential. That is all.

    • The Gaffer

      February 1, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Jack, it’s not “goal differential.” It’s goal difference. And the two teams are joint top based on number of points earned. By goal difference, City is ahead of course.

      The Gaffer

    • Earl Reed

      February 1, 2012 at 7:37 am

      Goal difference is a tiebreaker, isn’t it Jack? Time for a lesson in logic: if there is a tiebreaker, mustn’t there be a tie???

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