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It was a night when one man brought handcuffs and Manchester City played as though in a straitjacket. They will go into February top of the league, encouraged by the fact that the last eight titles have been won by the team leading at this stage, but this was a dishevelled, almost perplexing performance on an evening that will otherwise be remembered for a pitch invader handcuffing himself to the goalposts.
Never before has a Premier League match been interrupted by a middle-aged man protesting about Ryanair's recruitment policies, on the apparent basis that his daughter did not get a job with the airline. Play was suspended for four minutes while a dozen or so stewards and police officers worked out how to release him, the solution arriving when a member of groundstaff found some bolt-cutters. In hindsight, City probably regret the game was not abandoned.
It was a surreal subplot to a match in which they rarely looked like a team good enough to challenge for the title. They have found Everton the nearest thing to a bogey club in recent years and Darron Gibson's second‑half winner, his first goal since signing from Manchester United last month, means they have won only two of their last 15 league games at Goodison.
Taking into account the fact Everton were missing their first-choice centre‑halves and had six outfield players on their bench with an average age below 20, it was worrying in the extreme for a side with City's ambitions. If they are going to hold off Manchester United, now level on points, they are going to need a dramatic improvement between now and May regardless of Mancini's insistence that it was all his fault.
Everton paraded £6million Nikica Jelavic on the pitch at half-time of their win over Manchester City after going to the wire to sign the Rangers striker.
But the deal was held up all day as manager David Moyes attempted to pull off a complicated transfer coup.
Moyes was involved in lengthy talks with Spurs over an elaborate deal to send Louis Saha to White Hart Lane, with Steven Pienaar coming back to Goodison in return.
Moyes had to break off talks to prepare his team for the game with Manchester City, which left precious little time to conclude the surprise transfer.
But by then he already had Jelavic in the bag.
As the two clubs thrashed out payment terms, he returned to his hotel to change for his introduction to the Toffees crowd.
Jelavic said: “It’s a new club, I’m just excited. I think this is the best league in world and I want to try myself here.
“Of course it will be harder but I’m ready for this challenge.”
The 26-year-old completed a medical and agreed personal terms at Everton’s Finch Farm training base.
He became Moyes’ third signing of the January window, following a loan for Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan and a permanent deal for Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson, who scored his first goal for the club against City.
Jelavic scored 36 goals in just 55 appearances for Rangers having been signed from Rapid Vienna for £4million in the summer of 2010.
Prior to his move to Scotland, Jelavic had scored 40 in 93 games in three seasons in the Austrian league.
EVERTON FC capped a triumphant transfer deadline day – featuring a defiant win over Manchester City – by sealing the capture of Steven Pienaar.
The loan signing of the 29-year-old playmaker, who left Everton FC to join Spurs 12 months ago, ended a whirlwind day for David Moyes, who also welcomed £5.5m striker Nikcia Jelavic from Rangers, and allowed Louis Saha to leave for White Hart Lane.
Moyes departed the ground after the 1-0 win over Premier League leaders City to finalise the Pienaar deal, which will last until the end of the season.
It appeared to have stalled when the South African was named in the Spurs squad that beat Wigan.
However, after his side’s 3-1 win, Harry Redknapp conceded he was still possibly willing to sanction Pienaar’s return to Merseyside, and Toffees officials completed the paperwork.
Pienaar pushed hard for a move back to the club which helped make him a star name before the 2010 World Cup, and was expected back at Finch Farm today.
Elsewhere, Jelavic, 26, was paraded on the pitch at half time after the Croatian international became Moyes' third signing of the window, following deals for Landon Donovan and Darron Gibson.
Earlier this week Everton this week sold Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to Spartak Moscow for £5m.
Jelavic, who watched as the Blues climbed to ninth in the table, will be available to make his first appearance in Saturday's trip to Wigan.
Meanwhile, Saha completed a free transfer to North London, which is understood to have helped paved the way for Pienaar’s return.
The 33-year-old had six months remaining on his current deal but has been allowed to move to White Hart Lane.
Saha has managed 20 appearances this season but has scored just twice.
EVERTON FC’S new signing Nikica Jelavic hopes to be able to continue his good goalscoring form in England having made the move from Rangers.
The 26-year-old, who signed a four-and-a-half-year deal, admits he is making a step up in terms of quality but hopes to be able to maintain the standards he has set for himself.
He scored 36 times in just 55 appearances for the Scottish club, having been signed for £4million in the summer of 2010 from Rapid Vienna.
“It is a big thing for me and it is a new step in my career, a step forward,” he said. “I am very pleased and very excited, it is a new challenge for me.
“The Scottish Premier League is not as high a level as here in England but I think it will help a lot as it is not so much a big difference.
“I think I can bring some good football and to score many goals and to try to win some trophies.”
Asked what his best attribute was, Jelavic added: “Scoring goals. In the last couple of seasons my record has shown that and hopefully I can continue that at Everton.”
The Croatia international becomes manager David Moyes’ third signing of the January transfer window, following a loan for Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan and a permanent deal for Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson.
He was introduced to the Goodison Park crowd during half-time of their 1-0 victory over Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.
And after only learning of the possibility of a move to Everton at the weekend Jelavic is keen to start helping out his new side as soon as possible.
“I can promise to the fans and people at the club I will do my best and score as many goals as possible,” he added on evertontv.
“I only found out about the move a few days ago and it is a dream come true. I know Everton are an outstanding Premier League club, even though this season they are not in as good a position.”