Everton’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City could have serious implications for both sides.
From City’s perspective, the result allowed Chelsea to move two points clear at the top of the table and could have dented their confidence. From an Everton point of view, it could be the game that turns their season around.
Pride in Defence
Having lost four straight Premier League games before scraping a late draw against West Ham United in the FA Cup, Everton will not have relished a visit from the champions. But they will take great heart from the point that they secured.
Roberto Martinez’s side will take particular pride in the fact that they restricted their visitors to just one goal. After conceding 33 goals in their first 20 games, looking particularly shaky when trying to play out from the back, Everton would have been well fancied by betting news services like bluesq.com to suffer a heavy defeat to City. But they held firm for the first 74 minutes until Fernandinho broke the deadlock. Against City, the likes of Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines started to show some of the steel that they had become famous for last season.
Threat up Front
At the other end of the field, Romelu Lukaku finally started receiving some of the service that he has desperately lacked in recent weeks and Steven Naismith bagged his first Premier League goal since October.
The pressure that Everton have been under at the back has only been added to by the lack of threat going forward. If Lukaku and Naismith can get back amongst the goals more regularly then Everton will be confident of picking up more points and rising back up the table.
Next up for Everton are West Ham, who they meet in an FA Cup replay on Tuesday night. With the confidence that they have gained by holding City, they might just upset the odds and make it past Sam Allardyce’s men. That would show that they really have turned a corner.