Roberto Mancini had a headache from the moment Yaya Toure reported unfit with a migraine.
It didn’t get any better when Marouane ‘Microphone Head’ Fellaini and his mates pumped up the volume and blasted Manchester City’s last lingering title hopes to smithereens.
Once again City are left desolate and defeated by an Everton side who have the hex on the Etihad outfit… and probably will have until Arma’bleedin’geddon brings a merciful end to these trips to Merseyside.
Sadly, City are Premier League Champions in name only for a few matches more, before they have to give their prized possession over to the dark forces.
Perversely, this was a City side who, from the outset, were not up for the battle that lay ahead, not fit for purpose, quite simply not good enough.
Shorn of three vital vertebrae from their spine in the shape of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, City were shown to be lacking backbone at Goodison…for the umpteenth time over the years.
The loss of the skipper, the talisman and the super-striker would hit any team, but man-for-man City should still have had the edge on their neuralgia inducing nemesis.
In a demoralising display of déjà vu, Everton’s dogs of war savaged City’s best of breed pampered pooches and were thoroughly deserving of the spoils.
Of course it was all blood and thunder – it always is with Moyes’ boys – but someone forgot to tell Edin Dzeko who whinged and pouted instead of putting in a shift.
Leading the line? On this showing the Bosnian couldn’t hang out a washing line.
Roberto Mancini has done great things with Manchester City, but every once in a while he has a tactical aberration – and so it was with a three-man backline.
The best defence in the PL looked awkward and unbalanced as Everton carried the game to them from the off.
Early bookings for Fellaini and Pienaar came with the territory as Everton dispensed with the subtleties and set about tenderising the main course from Manchester, with heavy tackles on Milner and Barry.
Stand-in skipper Leon Osman was the unlikely architect of a masterpiece opening goal, a boomerang like strike from 30 yards that curved away from a nigh on cataleptic Joe Hart.
City should have been two down at this point – a disallowed Kevin Mirallas goal in the 14th minute was marginally onside thanks to Aleksander Kolarov’s heel.
The home side had a decent penalty shout when Matija Nastasic’s right arm prevented Fellaini’s forward progress. It was one of countless decisions that prat-like ref Lee Probert contrived to miss, screw up or just plain bottle.
City just couldn’t get going – a 38th minute long range shot by Carlos Tevez and a 42nd minute flicked header by Dzeko – being the best of a handful of underwhelming attempts on goal.
The second half saw City more purposeful. Garcia thwarted by a Distin intervention in the six yard box, Nastasic within a hair’s breadth from a Kolarov corner, a Jan Mucha double save from Tevez and Milner and finally a Zabaleta shot smothered when the City skipper took one touch too many.
Pernicious Pienaar saw red for a snide tackle down Garcia’s shin in the 61st minute, but still City couldn’t press home any advantage against the 10 men…until five minutes from time.
Carlos Tevez – perhaps the only City player to give a decent account of himself – struck a rising drive from 25 yards out to finally try and trouble Mucha.
The shot was intercepted by an airborne brillo pad with flailing limbs as Fellaini deflected the shot away, a good three yards inside the penalty area.
Astonishingly Probert signalled for a free kick on the edge of the box – no penalty and not even a second yellow for the Belgian bullyboy. The hunchback bowed to the pressure of the baying Evertonian hordes and completely bottled his responsibilities.
Shameful and indefensible and typical of the man’s total ineptitude.
With City throwing caution to the wind and their title hopes blowing out to the Mersey, Everton broke deep into added time with the felon Fellaini. The marauding mop head fed goal starved sub Jelavic, who proceeded to curl home the winner past a helpless Hart, as Everton wiped the floor with the crestfallen champions.
Goodison erupted, Moyes punched the air in celebration, his chairman Bill Kenwright cried and Mancini placed the order for a freshly severed horse head for Probert’s bed.
Moyes has now beaten Mancini six times in the PL – twice as many times as Slur Baconface. It’s an abysmal statistic, but amid all the outrage at City’s sustained shortcomings when they head west down the M62, let’s have a perspective.
City have lost four PL encounters in just under 12 months and are heading towards their second highest ever PL finish. They could be lifting their second FA Cup in three seasons in May and they will replenish their squad with quality signings this summer.
Sheikh Mansour had a five year plan to become PL champions. Roberto Mancini delivered it ahead of schedule last season. City’s Abu Dhabi owners are in this for the long haul and are laying sustainable foundations to put the club at the forefront of both English and European football for years to come.
However, this match DID highlight the need for managerial change at the end of this season for the benefit of Manchester City.
The sooner Moyes – Goodison’s gloating Glaswegian – buggers off the better!
This scribe is no turncoat or kneejerk reactionary – FORZA MANCINI.