Aguero (65mins), Dzeko (88mins)
- Matchday centre
- Match reports
- 11 November 2012 15:32
- Posted by Chris Bailey
City remain the only unbeaten side in all four divisions of the English pyramid.
On the 11th day of the 11th month, the Blues took this season’s tally without league defeat to 11.
That figure is swelled to 17 by the exploits at the end of the previous campaign and equalled a Club record.
Just for good measure it is now 35 EPL matches at the Etihad stronghold since an opposition side – Everton in this instance – waltzed away with the points.
Their 65th and 88th minute strikes cancelled out Steven Caulker’s 21st minute opener for the North London side.
Such is the style of these two sides that a sold out Etihad and millions watching around the world all expected an open contest and that for the most part is what they got though City dominated for long spells.
This was almost set up to be a classic gunslingers’ clash and once the attack and counter attack had played out to a conclusion it was the Champions who emerged from the smoke, chests puffed out and reputation intact.
There was good news for the home side before kick-off with David Silva declared fit for the first time in a month since he got injured playing for Spain. The impish skills and gossamer touch of the World Cup winner have undoubtedly been missed.
Although, not surprisingly, he was a little ring rusty at times Merlin – as he is known to his teammates – produced enough magic, including the ball for the winner, to suggest he isn’t far away from his beguiling best.
Maicon too returned from injury to sit on the bench and then make a second half appearance whilst the strikers’ shirts were handed to Argentine duo Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.
Mancini preferred the mobility and craft of the South Americans whereas counterpart AVB opted for the broadsword rather than the rapier selecting former Fulham battering ram Clint Dempsey to start alongside Blues old boy Manu Adebayor. The contrast in styles was fascinating.
The first half belonged to City everywhere except where it mattered on the scoreboard.
Caulker gave Spurs the lead with a soft header from yet another set piece but the Blues should have had one penalty – at least. It was an inconsistent half for referee Oliver.
Biggest and best spot kick shout of the half came when William Gallas handled Aguero’s flick and then manhandled the striker out of the way – the second was at least obstruction as Pablo Zabaleta was flattened inside the box by Tom Huddlestone.
Oliver waved both appeals away and generally failed to endear himself to the home fans notably when booking Zabaleta after what looked for the entire world a dive by Adebayor.
Having said all that for all the huff and puff City didn’t work Friedel hard enough or hardly at all. The saves he made were routine as he fell on efforts from Tevez and Zabaleta.
The second half was different as first Aguero pounced on a Yaya Toure through ball and a lucky break to level the scores and then, as he seems to do on a weekly basis, Dzeko rose from the bench and smashed high beyond Friedel.
Spurs though played their part and it took a fine Hart save from Gareth Bale to prevent a second for the visitors.
Crisis? What crisis? The title winners are alive and kicking.