Date:Sunday September 1 2013
Cardiff City Stadium
Saturday, August 31, 15:00
It was more for the same as Everton suffered their third consecutive draw to start the season, this time being held 0-0 by Cardiff. A combination of poor quality in the final third, poor finishing and poor refereeing decisions left Everton fans and Roberto Martinez frustrated as they head into the international break winless to start the season. I might as well point you to my Norwich or West Brom match reports as it was basically identical to those matches. Everton again dominated large parts of the game, with Cardiff happy to sit back and absorb pressure and try and strike on the counter, but Everton could not penetrate the Cardiff defence.
Everton were unchanged to the side that faced West Brom the previous week, with both Baines and Fellaini, who were heavily linked to moves to United starting. Cardiff also named an unchanged line up to the one that beat Manchester City the week before.
Everton began the match brightly, with the new style of football yet again on showcase with Everton dominating the possession, however not possessing a threat to the Cardiff goal. The first talking point from the match came inside the first 10mins, when Cardiff captain Craig Bellamy intentionally elbowed Leighton Baines in the face, but the action was unseen by the officials. The first attempt on goal came from impressive Everton youngster Ross Barkley when he was given a bit of space at the edge of the box courtesy of a clever piece of skill from Pienaar, however Barkley saw his shot deflected and go narrowly wide.
Cardiff, as they did against Manchester City, put heavy emphasis on set pieces and they nearly found some joy, with Whittingham's in-swinging corner nearly finding the net, however Howard was aware enough to claw the ball away to safety. Everton almost broke the deadlock courtesy of a couple of set pieces with both attempts falling to Belgian winger Kevin Mirallas, who was unmarked on both occasions in the 24th and 29th minute, but on both occasions saw his timid header go wide.
Then in the 41st minute came perhaps the biggest talking point when the referee failed to award Everton a penalty after Leighton Baines was tackled by Gary Medel. After some nice passing between Baines and PIenaar, Baines was charging into the box after beating one defender he found himself in the box and Gary Medel then made a sliding tackle which missed the ball and collected Baines, however, the referee saw fit not to award the penalty.
Then on the stroke of half time Everton produced their best chance of the match. Seamus Coleman found a bit of space on the right and put in a cross which saw Jelavic get to it first, however, his header was deflected off the Cardiff defender and which almost wrong footed the Cardiff keeper Marshall, however, he just did enough to recover and pull off a terrific save to keep the game at 0-0.
The 2nd half was more of the same as Everton looked to try and grab the goal with Cardiff happy to sit back. In the 52nd minute Ross Barkley managed to slip through Nikica Jelavic, however, the lack of confidence was evident as he saw his shot travel high and wide of the mark. Barkley then sent Mirallas through on goal, however, he took one too many touches and missed his chance to shoot.
Cardiff's best opportunity to score came just after the hour mark as the impressive Kim Bo-Kyung put Bellamy through on goal, however his heavy touch as he tried to round the stranded Howard meant that he lost the opportunity to shoot and saw the chance vanish.
After that, it was Everton who continued to push for a winner and the chance came with 2mins to go when Everton substitute Gerard Deulofeu put in a tantalising cross, however all four Everton players in the box were standing still and none of them took that chance to get on the end of the ball. Shortly after that, the match was ended in yet another draw for Everton.
The result meant Everton have drawn their first 3 games to start the season, and the manner of the draws are the most frustrating with Everton dominating large parts of the games, however, poor finishing and lack of quality in the final third has cost Everton dearly. Martinez can take solace that Everton did keep their second straight clean sheet, and defensively, we have looked solid, which was one of the main criticisms aimed at Martinez during his time at WIgan. Now Everton will have to wait a fortnight to try and get their first win of the season, with a tough home match against Chelsea, however, before that Everton will have to manage the pesky close of the transfer window, and from the looks of it, it will be a busy one for Everton.
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Date:Sunday September 1 2013
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