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Everton thoughts

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The honeymoon period for Roberto Mancini was going to end sometime, but perhaps no-one imagined that when it did, the bubble was going to burst in such fashion.

With Liverpool and Tottenham dropping points earlier in the day, we were provided an opportunity to put daylight between ourselves and the teams immediately below us.

Instead we turned in a performance every bit as poor as some of the recent dark away days.

From the moment Roque Santa Cruz's wretched run of injuries continued with him being replaced barely five minutes into the game, things went badly wrong.

In possession we were harried by Everton at every opportunity, meaning we couldn't retain the ball for long enough spells to generate a meaningful attack. The midfield duo of Barry and de Jong in particular were overran by an Everton midfield superbly led the excellent Felliani.

The irony is that for as poor as our all-round performance was in the face of an impressive Everton side, it was two individual mistakes that cost us the goals. Firstly Pablo Zabaleta, for whom the word wreckless must have no meaning conceded another needless free-kick in a dangerous position. You could sense the collective groan from City fans far and wide when Steven Pienaar stepped up, and to his credit, perfectly placed it over the wall and beyond Shay Given. Questions perhaps though could be asked as to why de Jong and Bellamy were figures in the wall that was lined up.

Despite being comfortably second best for the majority of the first half, as time ticked down a 1-0 scoreline was not irretrievable but on the stroke of the whistle, it was Micah Richards turn for an abberation as he attempted to relieve Louis Saha of his shirt. It was neither subtle or momentary, and despite the vociferous and well attended protest, there was no argument about the decision.

At 2-0, there was little hope of a mounting a comeback and giving the ball away straight from the second half kick off signalled what was to come. It was only a surprise that Everton didn't further add to the scoreline. The introduction of Benjani for Petrov altered little, and the half was perhaps only noteworthy for the substitution of Robinho - himself of course an early substitute. There is probably no more damning indictement than a substitute himself being taken off, and for as inept as Robinho was, there could have been no complaints from any player had they seen their number on the board.

Robinho it was though, and it was a move seized upon by commentators, media and fans alike. The Brazilian has been synonomous with some of our dark days on the road, and for many I'm sure, a new low was reached. Whilst Robinho needs games, it is difficult to see a road back for him at the moment.

Mancini though was supportive of him in his post-match comments and was keener to pay tribute to Everton than to lambast the performance of his own side.

I'm sure though that when he looks again and reflects on the performance he will have learnt some important lessons about his side.