Five Thoughts: City 3-1 Everton

Shaun Botterill

A nervy start to the game then. To be expected following two consecutive defeats, polar opposites in terms of how they were suffered but both damaging nonetheless. When Everton took the lead on the quarter-hour mark with City once again providing a helping hand in their own downfall, there must have been a collective groan emitted from all City fans as thoughts of another defeat to Everton once again surfaced. Perhaps the departure of David Moyes has meant the spell has been lifted as City not only hit back within a minute but steadied themselves to go on and emerge as deserving 3-1 winners. One thing City don't receive enough credit for is the resolve the side possesses and has continually shown the past few years. This was again in evidence yesterday and with results elsewhere this weekend saw them move to within three points of top spot.

As much as we can laud the resolve and steeliness of the side this would be nothing without the considerable dash of artistry and panache sprinkled across the performance from David Silva. We saw against Bayern Munich (when admittedly the game had long since gone) the impact Silva can have and he was on top form yesterday, putting to rest any suggestions that he is not missed when out of the side. 98 touches, 75/86 passes completed with forty-two in the final third, six key passes, a strong overall presence in the final third areas and combining with Yaya Toure on 34 occasions. Not only a joy to watch but very effective too. Back from injury the hope is he can now put a consistent run of games and performances together.

A big decision it may have been but Joe Hart was not one of the six players who were axed from midweek. The correct decision too. Far better for a goalkeeper to work through issues in a 'live' match environment where the return of confidence is so marked. It was nervy, at times hesitant showing from Hart and he was not helped on the goal with Joleon Lescott's error in allowing Romelu Lukaku a shot on goal. Hart's impact on the goal was not without debate, with opinion most definitely split. With the defence of Hart sentiment undoubtedly played a part; without recent issues fresh in the mind would a more critical view have been taken on his failure to keep the goal out? By no means was it an error but given the lack of power and placement on Lukaku's shot Hart  would feel that he should have kept it out. Hart received plenty of support but the microscope will be firmly on him. A couple of decent performance away on international duty (where the glare will be intensified) will do wonders.

Just a few games back in the line-up having limped off on the opening weekend Vincent Kompany was forced out of the game yesterday; a groin injury again seemingly the issue. With Joleon Lescott preferred in the starting line-up this meant Matija Nastasic replaced Kompany from the bench and any recent concerns with his form were answered with perhaps his most composed performance of the season. The hope is that the international break can at least absorb some of the time out that is expected but there is undoubtedly concern given the fixtures on the horizon towards the end of the month. The nascent Lescott-Nastasic partnership struggled against Hull in their previous outing but acquitted themselves far better yesterday. Given the lack of other options the hope is that they build on this positive display.

A topic I keep coming back to is City's remarkable home form. Stretching back to the start of the 2010/11 season City's record is really something: P61 W49 D8 L4 F143 A41; meaning they have dropped just 28 points in taking 155 from a possible 183. Unsurprisingly, this is a Premier League best although United sit just a point behind with Chelsea (134) and Arsenal (121) both adrift. The problem? Whilst this has sustained City over the past couple of years their away form is some way off. They have taken 96 points from 180 over the same period (P60 W27 D15 L18) compared to United's 111, Arsenal's 105 and Chelsea's 87 (and you thought City were bad!). Following the international break City face four consecutive away games - West Ham and Chelsea in the Premier League, Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Long overdue but City really need improve their away return if they have genuine designs on a tilt at the title.

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