By William Wood | In Micah's Say
Manchester City recorded an impressive 2-1 away win against in-form Everton at Goodison Park, adding credence to their bid to qualify for the Europa League competition, and Micah reflected on a fine performance exclusively with MicahRichards.com.
The hosts went into the game riding high on the back of the FA Cup semi-final success over Manchester United, while City were looking to snatch a rare three points on the road – their first since August – and Micah was back in the line-up following Pablo Zabaleta’s injury.
Brazil international Robinho looked lively throughout, and he had an early shout for a penalty when he was seemingly brought down by Leon Osman, but the appeals were waved away.
Former Red Devils striker Louis Saha went close soon after, cutting in from the left and blasting a shot that was luckily straight at Given, while the Frenchman did find the net a minute later only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.
It was tit-for-tat attacking exchanges, and Robinho was next up to test Everton’s resolve as he jinxed his way past two defenders and fired towards goal only for the effort to reach Tim Howard’s grasp.
Howard was kept busy throughout the first half as the Brazilian forced him into action after 25 minutes, the American superbly palming his shot away, and he was almost set through on goal by Stephen Ireland only for Leighton Baines to slide in and make a crucial challenge.
However, Mark Hughes’ side finally found a way through an otherwise resolute defence as Robinho cut through the defence after a fine 40-yard pass from Elano and retained his nerve to slot the ball beyond Howard, silencing the critics who accuse him of only performing at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Shay Given had been fairly quiet for the first 45 minutes, but he was at his very best to deny Marouane Fellaini’s close-range volley after some fine work by Steven Pienaar, and City quickly doubled their lead to dampen spirits among the home faithful.
A fine block by Micah saw City break forward, Robinho turning provider as he slotted the ball to Ireland who subsequently found the net, though in the process of his defensive work Micah picked up an injury which forced him off the pitch.
Robinho was putting in one of his finest performances of the season and he could have had a second when he controlled a long-ball forward and crashed the ball towards goal, but Howard was alert to the danger.
David Moyes was livid on the touchline and he made a triple substitution in an attempt to turn the game around, but after going close to pulling a goal back Phil Jagielka went off injured two minutes later which meant The Toffees had to play out the remaining half an hour with just ten men.
That man Robinho was still posing the most danger to Everton and a fine run would have seen him score one of the goals of the season had he got more power on the shot that followed, while he went within inches of adding a third for City soon after.
There were some tentative moments for City, however, as Dan Gosling blasted beyond Given and into the back of the net with two minutes of stoppage time remaining, and after a frenzied finish the Eastlanders secured a well-earned three points.
“It was a great performance from all the lads, and to do it away from home and get the three points against Everton was pleasing,” Micah said.
“We fully deserved the win, especially as we limited them to only a few chances and could have a few more goals ourselves.”
The win means City remain just three points from seventh-placed Fulham, and the 20-year old is optimistic about their chances of qualifying for the revamped Europa League.
“All we can do is keep winning our games and hope that the teams around us slip up, but we’re quietly confident,” he added.
The England international was disappointed that his game was cut short with injury, and he will have scans to reveal the true extent of the damage.
“I twisted my knee when I went to block the shot, but it was worth it as it led to the second goal!” he continued.
“It’s sore but touchwood it’s nothing serious. I’ll get it looked at tomorrow and will keep you all updated as to what the damage is.”
The win and Micah’s solid performance was welcome relief given the pre-match speculation regarding a disagreement between Micah and Hughes, and the defender was quick to play down talk of a rift.
“What happened was blown out of all proportion, but the result and performance will say enough – that was key today,” Micah concluded.
“There’s absolutely no problem between me and the gaffer [Hughes]. We’re both winners and want the club to progress and be successful, and it was more passion than anything, and was a misunderstanding.”