Everton 1 Manchester City 0: Lescott strike leaves City stranded

Defeat emphasises how much Eriksson needs the transfer window to provide a forward who knows how to score

So far this season, Sven Goran Eriksson has appeared to treat Manchester City's continued presence on the heels of the Premier League's leading group as if it were rather a pleasant surprise, resisting the temptation to over-enthuse at his team's remarkable home record and reacting to defeats as something to be expected at this embryonicstage of their development.

Last night, however, the sang-froid was not so easy to maintain. The prize for City, had they won here, would have been to establish themselves firmly in fourth place. Instead, after a performance that began slowly and still yielded nothing even after dominating the second half, they slipped to seventh, and Eriksson was not in an excusing mood.

"We started the game 40 minutes late," he said. "The second half was OK but in the first half we were kicking long balls – I counted 17 or 18 – and we are not good at that. In training they are forbidden. If we want to play that way I would have to sell half my players.

"We were not brave enough. Everton played an aggressive game, to try to prevent us from playing, but you have to be big enough to beat that if we want to be a great team. It was a matter of attitude."

Everton, thrown off-kilter by the effects on their roster of the African Nations Cup, were not particularly impressive, but a first-half goal by their central defender Joleon Lescott was enough to secure them the points despite a second half spent largely in rearguard mode, moving them up one place to fifth, although the satisfaction their manager, David Moyes, drew from victory, coming after the FA Cup defeat by Oldham and Lescott's own goal in the first-leg reverse against Chelsea in the Carling Cup, was tempered with a warning.

Moyes, missing Leon Osman and Andrew Johnson through injury and with Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Stephen Pienaar at the African Nations Cup, had to make more adjustments than he would prefer, and it showed in a performance that relied on grit and solid defending to obtain the desired result.

"We knew it would be hard with so many players missing and we came through it well," he said. "But it is going to be a difficult month for us."

The plus point was Mikel Arteta, who returned from suspension to be the catalyst for most of Everton's best attacking moves. But Moyes feels he works better with the underrated Osman to fetch and carry alongside him, and with Manuel Fernandes, the Portuguese inter-national, unable to begin his second loan spell because of late international clearance, it was a makeshift Everton line-up.

The surprise in City's starting XI had been Eriksson's preference for Nery Castillo, the Mexican who has part-funded his own move on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, ahead of Stephen Ireland. With Elano back after missing the FA Cup game at West Ham it gave the Swede the opportunity to play two creative players in the space behind Darius Vassell.

All this had promised an open, attacking contest but Castillo was ineffective and substituted in the second half, and with greater numbers in midfield it was Everton who tended to dictate. The 31st-minute goal that would ultimately prove decisive was not hard to foresee, certainlyafter Tim Cahill had almost broken through seven minutes earlier, drawing a superb save from Joe Hart before skewing a difficult follow-up over the bar.

When the goal came it was via Phil Neville's astute decision to pass the ball wide again to Artetaafter the Spaniard's corner from the right had been repelled. Arteta's second delivery was low and to the near post, where Lescott showed the finishing skills of a forward to flick the ball past Hart and score his sixth goal ofthe season.

City's transformation in the second half was extraordinary, suggesting that beneath Eriksson's cool exterior is a willingness, when occasion demands, to throw a few metaphorical tea- cups. Yet defensively Everton were resolute, and for all their dominance of possession in the second half City were never able to test Tim Howard seriously until Martin Petrov's stinging low drive in stoppage time.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?