Saturday afternoon saw the most played fixture in the Premier League history as Everton hosted Aston Villa at Goodison Park.
This fixture, in recent years, has been the battle of the nearly men as both clung to shirts of the top four in their pursuit of Champions League football. Neither managed to utilise the decent chance they were offered at breaking into the top four and now find themselves in a different situation. Everton sold star play maker and top goalscorer on transfer deadline day whilst Aston Villa lost star wingers Stewart Downing and Ashley Young early.
SO how did Alex McLeish’s unbeaten Aston Villa sie fair in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park?
Shay Given: 6 – Couldn’t do much for either goal and produced some a fine save from Vellios and Tim Cahill. Moment of madness when running out of his box lost him the 7 to match…
Richard Dunne: 7 – Followed up his Irish heroics midweek with another fine display. Colossal in the air and made several quality clearances and blocks.
James Collins: 5/10 – Did nothing of note, for better or worse, and so scores a 5.
Stephen Warnock 4 – Got skinned at will by Seamus Coleman and deserved a yellow for that horrid challenge on Cahill. Unconvincing.
Alan Hutton: 4/10 – Not a very good debut. Quite negative in his passing and got robbed by Royston Drenthe in a situation that could have cost us. Didn’t do enough against Leighton Baines.
Stiliyan Petrov – 6 – Very poor in the first half but so was everyone. At least he tried a few vertical, attacking passes. Great goal gets him a 6.
Charles N’Zogbia – 5 Absolutely terrible first half, got into the game a bit more second half. Should have played RW so Gabby could track Baines.
Fabian Delph – 4 – Topsy turvy game. Gave away a ridiculous penalty and half a terrible first half but grew into it slightly in the second half.
Gabriel Agbonlahor – 5 – Got a nice headed goal, beating Distin in the air is no easy feat, but frustrated again with his lack of decision making and inability to realise his options quick enough.
Darren Bent – 5 – Looked hungry for a goal as usual but wasn’t fit and needs to re-learn the offside rule. Had a bad game from which we will move on quickly.
Emile Heskey – 4– Withdrawn very early because of a hamstring strain. Gets a 4 purely because he does this way too often. Annoying.
Marc Albrighton – 6 – Should have come on for Heskey instead of Barry Bannan. Was neat, tidy and positive when he did get on and provided a nice cross for the equaliser.
Barry Bannan – 5 – Tidy and neat in possession and had a good shot on goal in the first half. The penalty wasn’t given, but tripping up Baines was unbelievably stupid.
Stephen Ireland – 5 – Did nothing of note but at least showed Bannan that when an Everton player has the ball in the Villa box you don’t need to trip him over.
I’m not alone in wondering how Villa got a point yesterday. Everton controlled the game for the entirety of the first half and a fair chunk of the second half. Villa grew back into it and grabbed their goals at the right moments. With those penalty decisions going Villa’s way, luck was clearly with them. Had Fabian Delph not managed possibly one of the worst attempts at heading the ball the world has ever seen, they could have even sneaked 3 points!
Thoroughly unimpressed with that game, but a point gained nonetheless, so let’s roll on the next one!
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