There were enough talking points thrown up by the Merseyside derby to keep a couple of Soccer Report Extra podcasts and a few Fox Soccer Reports fully stocked…..and that was just the first half.
The sending off of Everton’s Jack Rodwell can be put down to little else than referee error. Martin Atkinson had a great view of the incident and although the challenge from Rodwell was full-blooded it looked perfectly legal – both in real-time and on replay.
The contact made with Luis Suarez came after contact with the ball and although the sequence does not guarantee innocence the challenge on the Liverpool forward amounted to as much a case of the Liverpool player failing to avoid Rodwell as it was Rodwell making contact with Suarez.
Not surprisingly, with a man advantage, Liverpool manufactured more chances than the home side and of better quality as the graphics below show.
You might be able to point to a Liverpool midfield that was more workman like than creative but in the end it was patience that triumphed. That patience was epitomized by the performance of Lucas Leiva.
He is never going to be mistaken for an inventive player but the Brazilian concentrated on playing simple passes and mostly into wide positions. It kept Everton running and as the game moved into the final the home side visibly tired.
Not surprisingly for Everton it was an uphill struggle after Rodwell was ordered off. Marouane Fellaini was at the heart of the Everton midfield. He worked tirelessly for the cause tackling, passing and driving his side forward.
A couple of weeks ago a “Sack Steve Kean” march proved to be the under-card for a stirring 4-3 win over Arsenal. But any thought that the “Kean must go” committee had been disbanded was put to rest during a 4-0 hammering inflicted by visiting Manchester City.
It was the third time this season that City have won by four clear goals.
In the first half City had been ponderous in their build-up and had allowed Blackburn to get players behind the ball. But the second half brought two goals in a three-minute spell just before the hour mark.
Two more goals were added as City moved up a gear or two.
The statistics reflect the domination of City:
Pass completion rate % 90/76
Attempts on goal 19/6
Crosses attempted 22/14
Worth noting that Yaya Toure attempted 103 passes and completed 93 of them.
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