Rather than Lukaku's opening goal being the catalyst to a great win, it marked the beginning of the end
There was more than a tinge of disappointment at Eastlands on Saturday as our unbeaten start to the season was surrendered with something of a whimper.
It had all started so promisingly.
Romelu Lukaku carried on where he left off against Newcastle, ruthlessly dispatching to put us in front early on. Rather than being the catalyst to a great win, it marked the beginning of the end as the lead lasted just 90 seconds.
Most of the game’s key events surrounded its stand out performer, Manchester City’s David Silva.
The Spanish schemer previously had just one assist in six games against us and has largely been ineffectual due to our compactness in midfield, usually leading to him drifting for space on the flanks.
In last season’s game, Silva created no scoring chances; however in this one, he set up no fewer than six and received double the amount of passes. Crucially, he was able to come off the left flank and receive inside in dangerous areas – often untracked – allowing him to play a part in all three City goals.
Overall, I felt we didn’t work hard enough off the ball and at times were overrun, lacking a Fellaini type who could hoover up the second balls, or Gareth Barry’s experience to slow play down.
In general, we were too easy to play through and lethargic in midfield, and up front Lukaku’s energy levels in particular plummeted alarmingly.
The Belgian – presumably due to stamina issues – was used as a substitute 15 times last season by WBA, and faded badly again although his service did evaporate considerably.
Workrate-wise, this was not what you would expect of an Everton team.
Whether Silva should have even been on the pitch was another story as referee Jon Moss – clearly way out of his depth – delivered a master class in poor officiating.
Sandwiched between his failure to spot two clear yellow card offences for Silva – which denied us counterattacking opportunities – was a common assault by Milner on McCarthy. His final act of ineptitude was to gave City a gift of a penalty after he had waved away a more credible shout for Lukaku in the first half. Let’s not kid ourselves though – City were the better side and we struggled to impose our game on them particularly in the second half, and didn’t defend well enough to get a result.
On the plus side, we won’t have to face a side as competent as City every week;nor will we have to encounter the calamitous Mr Moss who after this display should be demoted.
The start to the Martinez reign has been superb, however, and at least we have the tantalising prospect of Paul McShane on site at Goodison marking Lukaku next Saturday to look forward to.