Everton 4 - 0 Aston Villa
It seemed like quite a while since the last home game, and after giving my boss a hand moving some furniture in the morning, I was happy to drive on to the game, picking up Ste on the way and meeting Gary and Sue in the pub. We watched Manchester United snatch a very late winner in the game having just thrown away a goal lead. "That's the Man United of old" said Gary as they forced the ball in to win the game. It sure was.
There were no surprises with the team at all. Prior to the team news we had debated the options at left back in some depth with Galloway something of a doubt though we need not have worried as Galloway was passed fit.
We walked on to Goodison Park, everybody in winter attire, and were in our seats well in time for the clubs to pay tribute to those whom perished in the awful scenes in Paris last week, with the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise" booming out around the ground. It was nice to see quite a few French flags dotted around the stadium, particularly so in the away end in support of their French manager Remi Garde.
Michael Oliver got proceedings under way with Everton attacking towards the Park End in the first half. The first 15 minutes were quite the bore with Everton passing the ball around and wearing Aston Villa down. In contrast, Aston Villa were out to defend and didn't pass half way. Our patience with the ball finally told when Brad Guzan did well to save Gerard Deulofeu's drive, but he could only palm it as far as Barkley who just about stroked the ball home inside the post despite having the whole goal to aim at.
The goal seemed to galvanise Ross and Everton stepped it up a gear or two, whilst adding another goal or two. More great work by Deulofeu eventually resulted in Coleman doing well to dig out a good cross for Romelu Lukaku who headed the ball in; and just before the break Ross Barkley added his second and Everton's third, slamming the ball in after woeful Aston Villa defending presented him with a chance. Everton outstanding. Aston Villa completely absent.
We spent the last few minutes of the half discussing quite how pitifully Aston Villa were performing. To see a big club like that rock bottom and playing so poorly is a real shame. We were aghast at their display. One thing you can pretty much bank on when teams come to Goodison is their pressurising us at goal kicks as it's obvious we'll want to play it short. Quite why they instead camped in their own half allowing Howard, Stone and Fumes Mori pass the ball around and build an attack I just don't know. A really poor effort from the Villans and we took full advantage with Lukaku grabbing his second goal after a delightful through ball from Ross Barkley.
We could have scored more with any of several opportunities but 4-0 was more than adequate. For all that Aston Villa were bad, Everton were excellent, about as well as we've performed under Roberto Martinez. With Deulofeu and Lukaku in the team we'll nearly always score at least one goal per game. Kevin Mirallas reminded us of just what he can do also with an impressive cameo from the substitutes bench.
A great win which puts us into seventh place as we march on to Bournemouth. Let's hope we can keep on climbing.
Howard: Won't get many easier afternoons than that but the clean sheet will have pleased him. 7
Galloway: Coped fine and would have gotten his first Everton goal had Mirallas not got in his way. 7
Funes Mori: Made a few errors and doesn't win enough of his headers for me. Has made a steady start to his Everton career but there is definitely room for improvement. 6
Stones: Marshalled the defence well and classy on the ball as always. 8
Coleman: Not at his enterprising best but had a decent game. 7
McCarthy: Worked tirelessly throughout and won his midfield battles. His best performance for some time. 8
Barry: Solid and dependable. 8
Kone: Did some good things and worked quite hard. He's good at tracking back, winning the ball back and starting attacks. A good trait to have. 7
Deulofeu: Every time he gets the ball you expect something to happen...and it often does. It's hard to tell how long he will be with us but we should enjoy every minute as he's playing quite brilliantly. My man of the match. 8
Barkley: He really kicked on after his first goal and had a very positive game. Was taken off before he had the opportunity of a hat-trick. 8
Lukaku: Dominated his centre backs and two goals. You can't ask for more than that. 8
Mirallas (for Deulofeu): Had a very good 20 minutes in what was a good game to come in to. The only thing missing was a goal. He's looking hungry. I fancy him to play a decent role in the season yet. 7
Osman (for Barkley): Got involved though looked a little off the pace. 6
Gibson (for McCarthy): Don't really recall a lot of what he did so difficult to judge. 6