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Everton 1 City 0.

Frustrating. After the result and performance from Wednesday night, and with a chance to move upto seventh in the league, yesterdays game at Everton sees us remain in tenth place and now only a point about an Everton side who were rock bottom whilst we were flying after our victory against them at home back in October.

It is getting worrying that it is now fifteen games since we managed to post back to back victories together and it is now only one win in nine games away from home. It is a run of form which has seriously undermined hopes of achieving European qualification and left Pearce bemoaning:

"Sometimes on the road we do not seem to put as much sweat on our shirts as we should. We seem to sit back and wait for things to happen. We do not do the things we do in our own stadium when we have our tails up and we have 45,000 people behind us."We have to find that away from home and get points when we have a smaller amount of fans there, it's up to the players to do that."

I was suprised that Pearce opted to leave Cole out of the starting line-up, given the performance that he and Vassell showed on Wednesday night, and the midfield was outfought by the Everton trio of Cahill, Neville and , much in the same way that the midfield neither offered or created anything in the defeat at Bolton.

We have now got a very winnable game next Sunday at home to Charlton, where on recent form and results, we should romp home, before a very important and suddenly trickier looking FA Cup tie away at Aston Villa the week after.

It is also a concern that the longer the Barton issue drags on, the more of a destabilising effect it will have on the club. It is suprising to me the level of support Barton has had from sections of the crowd (although I wouldn't class it as pro-Barton behaviour as such) as I thought he would be the target for some time.

There has again been contrasting features in the Sunday papers with The Sunday Mirror (somewhat suprisingly) stating Barton is set to stay at the club, but others (News of The World I think) claiming he is holding out for a 'dream' move to Arsenal. To me, I think Bartons future depends on the exact motives for his transfer request - if it is solely down to money and he (impetiously) handed the transfer request in as he was 'backed into a corner' then I believe that he and the club will compromise on the contract offered and he will re-sign. However, if the motive is ambition and an Arsenal or Liverpool come in for him in the summer then he will depart and it will be upto the club to try and get the best possible fee for him - something they won't be in a strong position to do.

Match reports:
The Observer
BBC Sport