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Villa Taken Apart By Fantastic Everton

By Paul Traill   ::  26/08/2012 Dave kindly offered to drive to Villa Park for yesterday’s match and it was a welcome change to sit back and enjoy the journey. Needless to say, we tucked into a few beers en-route before arriving at Villa Park and parking up well in time for the game… so early in fact we were in time for the lunchtime match in the pub. A Swansea win and Swansea top of the league as we went into kick off.

I’ve been to Villa Park a few times but this is the first time I’ve had quite a central view of the game. The seats were excellent, the weather nice and warm as referee Michael Oliver led the teams out. Everton looking smart in their white kit – I’m not convinced by the blue beach shorts mind!

Hibbert injured and so not involved with the addition of Steven Naismith the only change from Monday night's heroics against Manchester United. We looked strong. Looking at the Aston Villa line-up and in all fairness I struggled to recognize many of the players in their team. On paper, they didn’t look good.

On the pitch they looked poor also as Everton went for it from the off… so much so that we were ahead after only three minutes. I’d be interested to se how many passes proceeded the goal but it seemed a lovely passing move before Naismith teed up Pienaar who looked up, picked his spot and curled a lovely ball into the corner past Shay Given. 1 - 0 Everton and the away fans in delight.

Everton continued in the same vein, at the same tempo and on another day would have scored again earlier than we did – Jelavic heading two decent chances over the crossbar. We allowed Aston Villa a little possession for 10 minutes or so but they were unable to create anything and before long normal service was resumed – Jagielka, (of all people) getting down the right wing and putting a great cross in for Fellaini to meet. Quite how it got past Shay Given I really don’t know but anyway that was 2 - 0 and nobody could say it wasn’t deserved from Everton.

Ditto for 3 - 0. By this point, Aston Villa were simply all over the place and Everton took full advantage. A nice pass from Baines in to Jelavic and he did what he does best – one touch finishes into the onion bag. 3 - 0 and as the way it was going at the time you could only see Everton getting more goals in the second half…

This wasn’t to be though whilst it was eleven against eleven we strangely looked a lot more likely to add to our goals tally. The red card for Ciaran Clark was unfortunate as I couldn’t quite see how he could get out of Jelavic’s way after the Croat was put through very smartly by Gibson. Regardless he was given his marching orders and it was simply game over.

We took our foot of the gas, made some substitutions and Villa were give the luxury of some possession. The bleeders even went and scored – El Ahmadi trying his luck from distance and the swerve on the ball was enough to deceive Howard who really should have saved.

That was 3 - 1. Everton had some chances to add an extra goal but it wasn’t to be. Aston Villa even hit the post late on which could have resulted in a tense finish but that was that. An excellent away win at a ground where we almost exclusively always draw and when did we last win our first two games back to back? League Cup progress on Wednesday night and a win at West Brom next Saturday would be just fantastic going into the international break.

After the game we shuffled away, the journey back was just as easy as the journey to Villa Park and we were home for roughly 7:30pm. A classic away game and an awesome victory…

You sense something special could well be brewing with this team.

Player Ratings:

Howard: So little to do it was criminal but then he let in a rather soft goal. Needs to keep his concentration levels at a maximum throughout games…goals like that could be costly against better teams. 6

Baines: Nice set up for the second goal but I think he can still step up a couple of gears. Playing within himself I think. 6

Jagielka: Another great, solid performance by Jags with an assist to boot. Certainly justifying his place in the team ahead of Heitinga. 7

Distin: Just as solid as Jagielka. They should both get a rest on Wednesday against Leyton Orient. 7

Neville: Did just fine. 6

Gibson: My Man of the Match. He was excellent throughout I thought. So much so that we looked a little lost without him once he was substituted. Looks very settled. 8

Osman: Was neat and tidy throughout though unspectacular. He did step it up though once Gibson was substituted and got more solid and commanding. A decent game. Typical of what you expect from Osman really. 7

Pienaar: Scored an excellent goal but like Baines I feel he is still capable of stepping it up a couple of notches. Great to have him back though and I’m sure he’ll keep on improving over the next dozen games or so. 7

Naismith: Did OK. Got one assist. You can tell he’s still not all there fitness-wise but the minutes on the pitch will surely help. 6

Fellaini: Another excellent display and a goal from the giant Belgian. He's so difficult to dispossess when he has the ball. Will cause any teams problems the way he's playing I think. 8

Jelavic: Also, despite a nicely taken goal you get the impression he can step it up a bit. Great to see him getting of the mark though. 7

Coleman (for Naismith): Did Ok if not spectacular. Just toiled down the right wing and caused them a few problems. 6

Mirallas (for Gibson): I wasn’t sure this was really the right swap as losing Gibson seemed to set us back a bit. I think we’d have been better putting Mirallas on directly for Naismith. Regardless, great to see a new signing involved. I think he’ll need a bit of time to find his feet. Was unfortunate to stray offside for the goal he had disallowed. 6

Heitinga (for Jelavic): Filled a few holes in midfield with Mirallas going up front. Will presumably play on Wednesday night. 6

Reader Comments

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David Hallwood
338 Posted 26/08/2012 at 14:32:40
Good report Paul and agree on Gibson, I think sometimes football fans overlook the contribution of the Gibsons and Carsleys of the world in favour of the more flamboyant players. But even the most 'glass half empty' twebber has got to be delighted by not only the results but the manner in which we played.

Personally I wish the next 6 games were Citteh, Chelski and the RS home and away-yeah I know I'm getting carried away.

Paul Joy
363 Posted 26/08/2012 at 17:38:39
Gibbo was my pick too - he is a lot more than a defensive midfielder - the first time pass he played when he put Jelavic clean through for him to be brought down was the best piece of skill all game.
James Stewart
370 Posted 26/08/2012 at 18:01:43
Agree on Gibson although I thought most players were excellent. A little harsh with the ratings I don't remember too many better first half performances than that. Baines/Pienaar were different class attacking wise I would have given them both higher.
Paul Gladwell
371 Posted 26/08/2012 at 18:06:22
Piss poor marks out of ten those though Paul, I cannot recall a better away performance since we were the best in the land in those first 45 minutes, even Collymore said we look like a champions league team, we just need the numbers and I thought Naismith did more than ok, he offered a great workrate and his link up play was superb, he is going to be a serious player when he gathers more fitness.
Jim Knightley
373 Posted 26/08/2012 at 18:16:46
Yeah, I'd have been a bit kinda with the marks as well! If we take apart Villa with some 6's and 7s...imagine what we will play like when we hit average ratings of 8 and 9!
James Martin
374 Posted 26/08/2012 at 18:20:05
Does Fellaini get higher than everyone else just for trotting out onto the pitch? Pienaar was our best player against Villa closely followed by Gibson and Jelavic. Compared to the high of Monday night Fellaini had a quiet performance, certainly not worthy of the highest match rating.
David Sheen
379 Posted 26/08/2012 at 18:30:03
Cannot believe the marks out of 10 there. One of the best away performances by Everton under David Moyes and yet the average mark for the players does not even reach 7.

The team as a whole was superb. Having seen the game 3 times now. LOL. (Yes I was buzzing after that performance.) I will keep it short and just show my marks out of 10.

Howard: 6, Neville: 7, Jagielka: 7, Distin: 7, Baines: 9, Pienaar: 9, Osman: 7, Gibson: 8, Fellaini: 8, Naismith: 7, Jelavic: 8.

Baines and Pienaar were simply outstanding. Baines crosses were consistently excellent all through the game. It was such a shame that the game never ended 5 - 0. But yet again Villa score from 25-30 yards out against the run of play.

Gibson is so important for the shape of our team. Fellaini looks his best in the Cahill role.

Brian Denton
391 Posted 26/08/2012 at 19:44:50
That Villa goal was important though, because it meant that for one night at least the Shite were bottom of the table. If we'd won 3-0 or more it would have been Villa and a little bit of gloating would have been denied us. I've safely got the table screen grabbed. Just a shame that goal difference meant that it couldn't have been combined with us at the top !

Sorry. Being childish.

Tommy Davis
399 Posted 26/08/2012 at 20:16:36
Great report Paul & thanks! I'm not sure if most of the comments re: the ratings, were from people that attended the match or not, cos I do believe without doubt, you get a different perspective of the game, therefore perhaps the difference with the numbers?!?!?

Watching the game on tv, did give me flash backs of the mid 80's team(s), whilst that might be slightly unrealistic, it was a superb team performance, which is what we always seemed to do back then, played as a unit! One can only hope we can come even remotely close, over the full season!

Without doubt a great start, although after watching WBA the last 2 games, we will be put to the test at the Hawthorns & if we can get a victory there, well we can start dreaming a little more......perhaps?!?!? COYB!!!!

Jimmy Scales
407 Posted 26/08/2012 at 20:44:48
David, I feel more at ease with your player ratings, actually thought nace did really well. We did get caught napping down the wing once but overall a very energetic 65 mins or so.
Paul Gladwell
408 Posted 26/08/2012 at 20:50:49
Tommy I went and those ratings Paul gave were not enough, in my eyes.

Aside from the keeper, we warranted everyone an 8 with Pienaar, Gibson and Baines even higher.
Jamie Sweet
423 Posted 26/08/2012 at 22:27:45
In an age when the likes of Henderson and Allen cost £15m+, surely Gibson was one of the deals of the century!

And regardless of the Spurs fiasco, Pienaar still looks great value at £4.5m, Jelavic was an absolute steal, and Naismith has added quality in the attacking third for nowt.

If Mirallas can fulfill his potential, then £6m for that lad could also prove to be an incredible bit of business.

After a couple of really flat years in the transfer market, it's fair to say that Moyes has done some superb work on that front since January.

Doug Hast
475 Posted 27/08/2012 at 11:02:00
Gibson had another great game and has proved to be another of Moyes's great signings. Hhe's no glory hunter, just a player who does his job well with the talent and temperament that fits into an Everton team. We have now gone 14 games without a loss with him in the side, let's hope we can go at least another 14 games without losing...
Norman Merrill
485 Posted 27/08/2012 at 11:36:52
Jamie Sweet , 423. Your right to question the fee paid for Gibson, in comparison to the panic fees, paid by our neighbours.
But Darren does suffer fitness problems, if Everton can keep him fit, then he will certainly be a huge bonus.his distribution is second to none, long and short passes.
Anto Byrne
486 Posted 27/08/2012 at 11:18:49
I've given Moyes an eleven — his 10 years at the helm is now bearing fruit. Superkev looks the part and will score goals. Roll on the weekend!
Mohammed Horoub
504 Posted 27/08/2012 at 14:04:57
Brilliant performance on Saturday. While Villa were poor (I’m sure they will have to pay inflated prices in the next few days to appease their fans) our starting 11 brought everything to the game. Skill, work ethic, short balls, long balls, set pieces and the most important stat – Goals. (You can argue Given had a hand in the second.) Howard usually has 1 or 2 errors in him per season so looking at it in a positive sense it’s good he got it out of his system with a 3-goal lead.

Moyes has mentioned that he’s happy with the team but not happy with the squad and I still think there will be some player movement before the West Brom game. We still need 2 more premiership ready players. 1 Central Midfield and 1 RB/CB. I just read that Chelsea would consider loaning out Michael Essien Although he may be past his prime, I would love to see him come over in a loan move this year. His experience and winning mentality would be priceless. Boyata of Man City seems like a fringe player for them and maybe we can bring him in as the RB/CB cover we need.

Although our squad depth is worrying this is the first August in a long time where I would prefer that the deadline was yesterday and not the 31st. Saturday cannot come soon enough and if the same 11 that lined up against Villa are on the pitch then that would be good enough for me.

Brian Bates
550 Posted 27/08/2012 at 17:28:27
Ref. Mohammed above, i'd love Essien on loan as long as he's fit, but Boyata has just been loaned out to FC Twente

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