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 Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham Premiership  Saturday 26 February 2005; 3:00pm
 Solano (46')
 
 
Half Time: 0-1
  Osman (18', 64')
Cahill (48')
 Attendance: 40,248 (Fixture 28) Referee: Graham Poll

Match Summary


Tim Cahill: Returns to the midfield with massive impact following a one-match ban

Tim Cahill returned after a one-match ban and David Moyes with Beattie the main absentee through suspension.  Stubbs picked up a knock in training and missed the game, along with McFadden and Watson. Plessis and Vaughan were on the bench again.

Everton started the game well and took a firm hold of the midfield as they started to build some nice moves that carried forward into attack, showing threatening intent on the Villa goal.

Kilbane went on a great run down the left, fed the ball to Cahill who fired in a superb cross in for Bent, but it was Leon Osman with the vital header at the far post who scored to set Everton on their way.

This was followed by another lovely move, which Bent finished off with a fine shot that went just wide.  But Villa put a good ball in from a free kick with Solano smacking the outside of the post.  The game was developing well, with Villa now showing some fight but Angel fired straight at Martyn.

Djemba-Djemba got himself booked for a tackle from behind but Carsley's free-kick was kept out as Everton's superior effort brought results in all areas of the field, with the Everton players looking bright and playing well in the first half and the visiting Blues making a lot of noise behind them.

The second half started dramatically for Villa with a goal inside the first minute through a Noel Solano tap-in.  But Everton were back in front inside 2 mins, a beautiful cross into the box by Bent after a nice pass from Hibbert, with Tim Cahill coming in as he only can, heading it firmly into the Villa net!  Copybook stuff from Timmy in a very lively game....

Djemba-Djemba (on a yellow already) got away with a crunching tackle on Cahill, and really should have walked.  He was then substituted by Lee Hendrie.

Cahill, who was having a superb game, fed Bent well and his shot needed a very good save to keep it out.  Next in line was Kilbane who also tested Sorenson.  Moments later, Osman had a glorious chance to make it three but he blazed fractionally over the bar.  Solano then chopped down Osman and got himself booked by Mr Poll as Everton piled on the pressure in a great game.

Arteta drove through to feed Osman well, and his shot again forced another vital save from Sorenson.  Everton kept attacking with venom, Bent, Chill, Arteta and Kilbane all combining well together.

Bent then won the ball off Villa deep in there own area and moved the ball intelligently to Cahill; another superb feed to Leon Osman, and wallop!  Neatly placed inside the post.  Piley on time!!!  Fantastic stuff from Everton.

Solano tested Martyn to make sure he was still alert but it was Bent who went on to create another great chance for Everton.  Cahill forced another superb save out of Sorenson as Everton produced a terrific display.  Everton could have easily scored six goals and been way out of sight.

A terrific shot from Solano smacked Martyn's crossbar just before Ferguson came on for Bent, but it could not dent the pride and purpose behind this great victory for Everton the first win at Villa Park in 18 years, and one of the best Everton performances under David Moyes.  Great stuff, lads!!!

Michael Kenrick


Match Preview

Given Everton's form since Boxing Day, it's amazing — not to mention pleasing — that they are still fourth in the Premiership.  The Blues' form since the elation of the derby win in early December reads more like that of a team languishing in the lower half of the table: played 10, won 3, scored just 10.

That's not negativity, it's the reality of our current situation.  If we continue with that sort of form, we will have lost that coveted Champions League spot by the end of March, probably sooner, with little hope of getting it back given Liverpool's comparatively easy run-in.

So, after the disappointing manner in which they've started 2005 and exited the FA Cup at the hands of the holders, how will David Moyes's boys respond?  The "us against the world" mentality that carried them into the top four in the first half of the season seems to have been eroded by fatigue, injuries, suspension, and maybe a touch of complacency, but the haranguing of the club and Evertonians in general by the press in the past week may provide just the siege mentality we'll need going into a tricky game with Aston Villa.

David O'Leary's side may have been struggling to live up to their lofty expectations this season, but they are very difficult to beat at home, where they have won five of the last nine.  Add to that the fact that Everton haven't won at Villa Park since the inception of the Premier League, and you have the makings of a match from which a point would be gratefully received.

But, as I've been harping on about for weeks now, the Blues must start thinking like a team challenging for Champions League qualification.  Having got into the top four and stayed there since September, the giddiness of our surprisingly high league position and the fact that we started with no such aspirations can no longer be accepted as excuses.  The platform is there to qualify for Europe's most lucrative league and has been for many weeks now.  It's time to do make concrete steps towards that goal again. , , , , .

The absence of James Beattie, who serves the second match of his three-game ban, will not help matters, nor will the anticipated absence of James McFadden with a hamstring strain.  Mikel Arteta also tweaked his hamstring during the game with Manchester United but is expected to start alongside Leon Osman, Lee Carsley, Kevin Kilbane and Tim Cahill, who returns from a one-match suspension.  It is not clear whether Duncan Ferguson has recovered from a back injury; if so, his role from the bench could be an important one.

Marcus Bent will once more be expected to plough a lonely furrow up front, while at the back Moyes must choose between David Weir and Joseph Yobo.  The Nigerian had an impressive game in the centre of defence last weekend before being moved into a less-familiar midfield role later on.  Alessandro Pistone should replace Gary Naysmith at left back after starting last week's cup tie on the bench, apparently because of a slight knock, although there is some doubt about this.

Villa welcome Darius Vassell back to the squad after breaking his ankle in October.  Short of match-fitness, he will start on the bench.  Defender Martin Lauersen will not play after the Midlander's midweek reserve fixture was postponed, denying the Dane an opportunity to prove his fitness.

This one looks to me to have a draw written all over it, but Everton's response to a difficult week will be key.  Expect them to start out with the customary 4-5-1 line-up and hope that, unlike against United, they approach the match overall with more intent to win.

One spanner in the works: Graham Poll is the match referee so, really, anything could happen.

Lyndon Lloyd



Matchday Stats

This will be the 197th meeting between Everton and Aston Villa in all competitions, and the 100th at Villa Park.  This match will continue the record set by the two teams of being the most common league fixture in English football history being the 180th league meeting between the two sides.

Everton's full record against Aston Villa is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

25

5

8

12

19

32

Division One

154

63

36

55

257

242

FA Cup

8

3

1

4

14

15

League Cup

9

2

4

3

10

10

TOTALS:

196

73

49

74

300

299

Our record away to Aston Villa is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

12

0

4

8

6

19

Division One

77

24

17

36

111

147

FA Cup

4

1

1

2

5

6

League Cup

6

0

4

2

4

6

TOTALS:

99

25

26

48

126

178

The last match between the sides was earlier this season on 30 October when a Marcus Bent goal cancelled out Lee Hendries opener as the teams drew 1-1 at Goodison Park.  The last match between the sides at Villa Park was on 25 October 2003 when the sides drew again, this time 0-0.

There have been 4 Everton hat-tricks against Aston Villa.  The last was on 10 December 1927 when Bill Dean scored a hat-trick at Villa Park in Evertons 3-2 victory.  The first hat-trick, scored by John Bell on 30 September 1895, was the first instance in the clubs history that a player has scored a hat-trick and been on the losing side.

The most common victory for Everton is 2-0 which has happened 16 times in Everton's 73 victories.  Villas most common victory over Everton is 2-1 which has happened 18 times in their 74 victories. The most common draw between the sides is 1-1, which has happened 23 times in the 49 draws between the sides.

Everton's record for 26 February is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

1

0

0

4

0

Division One

9

3

3

3

15

18

FA Cup

5

4

0

1

10

6

TOTALS:

15

8

3

4

29

24

This is the first meeting between the sides on this day.  The last match on this day was a 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra in the FA Cup 5th round replay in 2002, with the Everton goals coming from Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski.  The last Premier League match on this day was in 2000, when Everton secured a 4-0 victory away to West Ham United with the goals coming from a Nick Barmby hat-trick and Joe-Max Moore.

Alan Biley was born on this day in 1957 in Leighton Buzzard.  Signed from Derby County in July 1981, Alan made just 21 appearances, scoring 3 goals in the process, before he was sold to Portsmouth just over a year later in August 1982.

Kevin Ratcliffe and Neville Southall were both in the Welsh side that drew 1-1 with Norway on this day in 1985.

Gary Stevens was in the England side that defeated Israel 2-1 on this day in 1986.

Harry Makepeace made his final appearance for the Football League representative side in their 3-2 defeat against the Scottish League on this day in 1910.

Steve Flanagan


Determined Everton Thrash Villa

Strangely I didnt get the buzz when I woke up for the match.   Normally when I wake up and slowly realise Everton are playing, Im buzzing and cant wait to get there... but this time I was dragging myself out of bed.  Maybe I was dreading another Man Utd performance?

It was simple enough for us though.   All I had to do was get to Manchester Piccadilly by 12pm and I had a lift there and a lift back.  So, after a quick binge down the M6 we were parked up by 2pm.  We tried getting into a pub for a pint (the Cloak and Gown or somat like that) but they werent letting anyone in.  The bizzie told us there was no other pubs we could go to and wed have to make do with the off license.  Nice.  So we made our way straight to the ground. 

Around the stadium, Ive never seen so many people eating.  Everybody was munching Fish and Chips, a burger or a kebab or somat.  It was mad.  Anyway I was quite impressed with Villa Park and its the sort of stadium I like.  Simply in the middle of nowhere, but the stadium itself symbolises all the things Goodison Park should be.  Loads of corporate boxes to get the money, holds 45,000 and a decent atmosphere.  My only gripe is the facilities. 

I was a bit frustrated when I couldnt get a beer inside so, for the first time in quite a few years, we actually stood and watched the entire warm-up with the highlight for me being when the keepers were warming up and Wright tried booting it at the goal.  He missed and the ball went into the crowd.  Some fella shouted Thats why your on the bench.  Was pretty funny.  As was Graham Poll getting hit with a ball while warming up.  His response to try and score with it only to hit the side netting. 

As we were there so early, we got the team news early as well.  And we were surprised to see Stubbs was injured but that just meant Yobo playing instead.  Otherwise, it was what I expected with Arteta supposedly playing in the hole left by Gravesens departure in a 4-5-1 formation, with Cahill back from suspension also.

Well, after the match kicked off, I soon got the buzz thanks to Everton, who were simply fantastic.  The fans were great too and got behind the blues well.  Everton took the game to Villa from the off and dominated most of it.  However, it was Villa who had the first opening when Barry was played through from I think Salano (this, like pretty much everything Villa did was from a counter attack) but an excellent saving tackle from Yobo prevented him from having a strike on goal. 

Shortly afterwards Bent was played through by Arteta, with only an equally good tackle from Melburg saving Villa.  From the resulting corner, Carlseys cross was met by Yobo who headed it well wide.  We had a few set pieces also but Lee Carlseys delivery was never really up to scratch all game, unfortunately.

The first goal came when I though Villa were actually causing a few problems but this time it was us who counter-attacked to good effect.  Kilbane did the forward running this time.  He beat a couple of men before playing it out wide to the lively Cahill.  His cross from the left just missed Bent but took a bounce and Osman couldnt miss with his header from about a yard out.  Probably the easiest goal hell ever score and that was 1-0.  Villa seemed deflated there and then and you felt Everton could go on and win. 

A couple of minutes later, Cahill went on a similar run to that of Kilbanes for the goal and slipped Bent through.  Unfortunately his effort was about a foot wide.  Everton were dominant and could have scored a few more.  There was another great chance from a quick free-kick.  It was played quickly to Osman who played in a great ball.  Bent leaped and got contact but could only flick it away from Weir.  If Bent hadnt have touched it, it would have been a very easy goal for Weir.  There was also a long range effort from Pistone which was tricky for Sorensen, but he saved it well. 

Villa didnt really have a response with Djemba-Djemba, painfully (for Villa) unable to compete when not surrounded by quality players, his only option being to foul players and go down like a sack of spuds when challenged.  He did this to good effect, though, to win Villa a free-kick off Cahill.  That was about the closest they came to scoring all half.  Salano whipped it in.  Luckily it missed everybody but also missed the far post.  After that, there were two Hitzleberger efforts from the edge of the box, one which was charged down and the other which was comfortably smothered by Martyn.  Everton were just that comfortable.

At half-time we were treated to the T-Mobile keepy-upy guy which was good fun and then the teams came out.  Unbelievably, Villa had scored within about 30 seconds.  Yobo was made to pay for pissing about by Luke Moore.  His cross/shot was parried by Martyn but he could only push it out towards Angel.  It just evaded him but Salano was there to wellie it home from about a yard.  All that hard work undone.

Everton simply werent having it, though, and got back into the game very quickly.  It was a great determined response and straight away Hibbert's cross seemed to float in the air for ages.  Sorensen bottled it and didnt come for it and it was a fairly easy header for Cahill.  At first I thought it had been disallowed because Graham Poll blew his whistle and ran over towards the Everton players.  All he was doing was curbing the celebrations, however, and Everton were back in front.  Phew!

It was domination after that and Everton had several chances to get further clear but just didnt take them.  I was worried because weve all seen it happen before.  In no particular order these were just some of the chances:

  • The ball came out to Osman, but his half volley dipped about a foot over the bar.
  • Kilbane was free in the box but smashed it straight at Sorensen.
  • Bent went on a run and shot from about 20 yards,  tipped round the post by Sorensen.
  • Osman had a run and shot, tipped round the post by Sorensen
  • Bent and Arteta got in each others way from a Cahill cross and Bent whacked it well wide.

The third goal came from a great patient move.  Cahill was the key after good enterprising play with Arteta after Bent had been gifted the ball.  He danced into the area and waited a split-second for Osman to arrive before slidding a perfect cross-ball into his path.  When he did he was left with quite an easy task of steering it home.  3-1.  Game Over!

Prior to that, a desperate Villa had thrown on Hendrie and Vassell but to no avail.  It wasnt until it was 3-1 that Villa pressed a bit but even then it was quite comfortable for Everton.  We even had the luxury of Cahill flashing a header just wide.  Everton were determined and saw the game out well.  The closest Villa did come was a Solano effort which bounced back off the bar from 25 yards and a Luke Moore drive which flew past the post.  Martyn did have it covered, however.

Towards the end, the shattered Bent made way for Duncan Ferguson and Naysmith replaced the outstanding Cahill.  The Evertonians were cheering every pass by this point.  The atmosphere was brilliant.  I now certainly lad the buzz!

Even the trip back was quick; we were home by 19:30pm.  A great day and a great win!!!

Player Ratings:

  • Martyn: Seriously unthreatened all game.  Did what he had to do characteristically well though.  7
  • Pistone: Good solid stuff from Al; got on with his job.  7
  • Weir: Solid.  7
  • Yobo: The goal aside, he was simply outstanding.  7
  • Hibbert: Played well and his distribution was better than usual.  7
  • Carsley: Did his good usual quietly effective job.  7
  • Kilbane: Played a big role in the first goal and won countless headers in the second half..  Had a big influence on the outcome.  8
  • Cahill: We clearly missed him last week.  A massive influence.  A cracking player.  9
  • Arteta: My Man of the Match.  Very effective and intelligent and is going to have a huge influence on the rest of the season.  I still think he can be more positive and that theres more to come from him.  9
  • Osman: I know it sounds stupid because he scored two but I felt he had a quiet game, particularly in the first half.  Still, he was there when it mattered.  8
  • Bent: Worked and toiled up front on his own all game and did very well.  If only he could shoot.8
  • Ferguson: Not on long, cant really judge. 
  • Naysmith: Not on long, cant really judge.

Also, I though Graham Poll had a very good game.  Strange

Paul Traill

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ASTON VILLA (4-4-2)
  Sorensen
  de la Cruz
  Mellberg
  Ridgewell
  Samuel
  Solano 60'
  Djemba 34' (58' Hendrie 83')
  Hitzlsperger
Barry
  Angel
  L Moore (61' Vassell)
  Subs not used
  Laursen
  Postma
  Berson

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Martyn
  Hibbert
  Weir {c}
  Yobo
  Pistone
  Carsley
  Cahill (90' Naysmith)
  Arteta
  Osman
  Kilbane
  Bent (86' Ferguson)
Subs not used
  Wright
  Plessis
  Vaughan
  Unavailable
  Beattie (suspended)
  Stubbs (injured)
  McFadden (injured)
  Watson (injured)
  Li Tie (unfit)

Premiership Scores
Tuesday 22 Feb 2005
West Brom 0-0 Southamptn
Saturday 26 Feb 2005
Southamptn 1-1 Arsenal
Aston Villa 1-3 Everton
C Palace 2-0 Birmingham
Man Utd 2-1 Portsmouth
Tottenham 1-0 Fulham
Sunday 27 Feb 2005
Newcastle 2-1 Bolton
Middlesbro 2-2 Charlton
Monday 28 Feb 2005
Norwich 2-3 Man City






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