Bargain buys prove their worth at Goodison

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Roberto Mancini must dread these fixtures. Since taking charge at City, the Italian has lost six in eight against Everton and this was his fourth defeat in four Goodison visits. David Moyes holds the hex over Mancini. The key for the Toffees is transferring the winning formula that secured a 2-0 victory at home into away matches against the Premier League's best.

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Both Manchester clubs and Tottenham have fallen at Goodison this season, Liverpool and Arsenal drew, Chelsea escaped with a fortuitous victory. Everton have the measure of the top sides at home, but an away win against those same teams remains elusive; something Moyes will need to put right as the team chase European football.

After the Wigan performance, a reaction was required and Everton delivered. From first whistle to last, this was everything that last week was not. Even after the dismissal of Steven Pienaar, the players were unwavering in their pursuit of victory with resident scapegoats proving the doubters wrong.

By his own admittance, John Heitinga has fallen short this campaign, often looking a shadow of his best. He was back with a vengeance here; strong in the tackle, the accomplished reading of the game returned and Heitinga reminded fans of his capabilities.

The Dutchman produced his strongest display in months and backup keeper Jan Mucha went a step further; the Slovakian giving his best performance since his arrival. Nervy in the early stages, Mucha overcame his jitters and several sharp second-half saves ensured Everton maintained the advantage given to them by Leon Osman.

On his 300th Everton start, Osman fired the Blues ahead thanks to a crisp half volley. Captain for the day, he continues to rack up the appearance milestones after more than a decade at Goodison. Another player reaching a milestone was Nikica Jelavic, the Croatian arriving as a late substitute for his 50th Everton appearance.

Netting the decisive goal in injury time, Jelavic had the honour of scoring Everton's 600th home Premier League goal. Under pressure of late, the relief and joy from Jelavic, his team-mates and the fans was abundantly clear. Looking sharper in recent matches, the goal is reward for Jelavic's constant endeavours.

With under-pressure players performing, the other standout players highlight David Moyes' most impressive trait - his eye for a bargain. Costing a combined total of less than £600,000, Darron Gibson and Seamus Coleman were at the heart of everything good from the Blues.

Tenacious in the tackle, assured in possession and pressing the ball throughout, Gibson showed just what the midfield was missing against Wigan. Crucial to Everton and their style of play, the midfield man is quickly evolving into one of Moyes' best signings.

Compatriot Coleman continues to impress since returning from injury and this was his best showing yet. Making a superb headed clearance at the far post, he displayed his defensive improvements in the second half with the home side up against it. Improving in defence, strong in attack, Coleman is quickly filling the often contested right-back spot.

Light years ahead of the Wigan display, Everton require more of this in the remaining matches. Victor Anichebe summed up the determination shown here, relentless in attack, the forward gave Kolo Toure a nightmare afternoon. Improved in every department, the only downside is the loss of Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini. Picking up red and yellow cards respectively, the duo will sit out the next two matches.

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