03/05/2014 15:45 BST | Updated 03/05/2014 16:59 BST

Everton 2-3 Manchester City: Joe Hart, Martin Tyler And More Talking Points

Manchester City are two games away from a fourth English championship following a hard-fought 3-2 victory at bogey team Everton.

Ross Barkley's magnificent opener was cancelled out by City striker Sergio Agüero before an Edin Džeko double. Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit with 25 minutes remaining, only for City to hold on for a valuable three points.

Here are five talking points...


"I'm bored," Gary Neville complained as the first-half petered out. There were three goals and a comeback in the first 45, but his gripe continued Sky's vehemently disappointed tone with Everton's effort. Martin Tyler described the celebrations to Ross Barkley's pearler as "mixed" when it looked anything but, while Neville suggested Roberto Martínez would have to "ask questions" of his team's performance going into the interval. They were trailing a superior team by just one goal and, despite their recent record, cannot be expected to beat Manchester City at Goodison Park every time.

"We haven't seen too many halves like this in the Premier League," Tyler remarked in his tedious and prolonged critique of the Goodison faithful. The atmosphere was uncharacteristically dormant, but the vast majority of Evertonians just do not want Liverpool to win a first title since 1990. Yet they did not implore their team to throw the game, like Chelsea supporters did on the final day of the 1997-98 season against a doomed Bolton, whose defeat saw them relegated, rather than Everton.

If Sky are to condone their commentators criticising match-going supporters, then perhaps they should schedule more convenient kick-off times.


That 2-2 draw City suffered against Sunderland two weeks ago, three days after defeat at Anfield, appeared to represent the end of their title challenge with five games remaining. It was naive, though, to dismiss a team that recovered from an eight-point margin to win the title with six games to play two years ago, and City should now complete another superb comeback. The majority of their squad experienced the jubilance of that run-in and triumph over Manchester United, and their resilience is similar to that of Ferguson's great side.

City could complete another impressive comeback to win the title this month


It should not be even a debate, but speculation over whether Roy Hodgson will select Ross Barkley has ominously grown this week. His form this calendar year has been patchy, however his brilliant opener and foray into the City half to assist Steven Naismith's excellent opportunity again highlighted why his ticket to south America should already be booked. Effervescent and effective, he can adapt to a midfield or forward role with ease and is one of a handful of genuinely exciting English talents. Hodgson was in attendance at Goodison, and Barkley's exclusion from the 23-man party would be illogical.

Photo gallery Everton 2-3 City See Gallery


Joe Hart's form since his return to the City side in December has generated little acclaim. Rarely called upon to produce the spectacular, like a good refereeing performance, he has gone unnoticed, as Yaya Touré and David Silva, two of City's most influential players, have starred in recent months. At Goodison, though, Hart made two great saves to thwart Steven Naismith and Gerard Deulofeu with City just a goal ahead.

Hart saved brilliantly from Steven Naismith in the second-half

Visibly less cocksure these days, it was noticeable how he commandingly cajoled teammates and implored them to maintain their concentration levels as referee Lee Probert refused to allow physiotherapists to treat Edin Džeko. He has matured immensely over the last six months and is a better goalkeeper for the reality check administered by Manuel Pellegrini.


Aleksandar Kolarov's introduction was planned before Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit in the 65th minute, yet it was still a surprise Manuel Pellegrini went through with the substitution when it turned out Yaya Touré was the one who made way. Imperious again in midfield, it seemed wiser to retain Touré in the side and withdraw Samir Nasri so Touré could play off Džeko, especially since Sergio Agüero had departed injured and David Silva was not risked. When Silva finally emerged, City regained a measure of control they lacked without their three classiest players on the pitch.