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Aston Villa v Everton Vital's Match Report

Aston Villa 1
1 - 3
Everton 3

Villa Park


Attendance: 36 565


A new season and a new era was heralded in by a vibrant and colourful Villa Park as Paul Lambert's lions took to home turf for the first time this season. Banners, balloons and a Holte End in full voice welcomed the team to the pitch to the pumping riffs of legendary local band, Black Sabbath. The cleansing, spiritual rebirth of Aston Villa Football Club had begun. Unfortunately, a rampant dominating Everton had not read the script, so much so that after three minutes, Steven Naismith teed up Steven Pienaar who set the ball for a curling strike from the edge of the box, beating an out stretched Given.

David Moyes' Everton, a Premier League team 10 years in the making continued where they left off on Monday night, with high tempo, pulsating patterns of physically driven play against a Villa team who looked liked they'd just met each other on the bus. This was a rag bag, low tempo first half performance by Villa, indicative of the worst home games seen under McLeish. Charles N'Zogbia perhaps had the best chance to score. the Frenchman ran into the Everton half on the counter, passing the Everton fullback only to dither in the box and fluff his pass when a clear opportunity had presented itself for him to fire home.

Everton continued to command from Midfield. Bannan for all his ankle snapping puff had no answer to the colossal Fellaini or the cunning of Gibson, who sprayed the ball around nicely. Indeed, my one major tactical criticism would be the logic of playing Bannan in midfield. He looked woefully out of his depth and seemed soft in the tackle. So much so, he might as well have being playing in lingerie.

A second goal was coming and in the 31st minute it duly arrived. Given misread a Phil Jagielka cross, allowing Fellaini to head home with ease to double the lead. Misery was compounded further when Nikica Jelavic met Baines' good work on the left, to slot home a neat finish from inside the box in the 43rd minute. The whistle could not come soon enough for the deflated home crowd who continued to sing the manager's name.

Delfouneso, who seemed ineffective and without invention, was replaced at half-time by an energetic and purposeful Holman who brought a higher work rate and focus to the pitch. Unfortunately, Villa's afternoon then took a turn for the worse when, half-an hour from time, last man Clark tripped Jelavic on his way through to a goal scoring opportunity. Referee Michael Oliver delayed for a moment before producing a straight red.

Paul Lambert responded, making an immediate substitution, bringing on Lichaj for Bannan, the American slotting in a left-back. Baker moved along the line to form a centre-back partnership with shining light Vlaar, who continues to show touch, technique and quality throughout.

Ironically, Clark's dismissal seemed to rouse ten man Villa, who raised their tempo and penetration to provide more of a challenge to an Everton side who could be forgiven for assuming that the three points were already in the bag.

The home crowd were finally given something to cheer when El Ahmadi struck a swerving effort from 20 yrds out, beating a struggling Tim Howard in the 74th minute to pull it back to 3-1. Villa continued to move the ball well after the goal though struggled to find a clear opening until Holman, a few minutes from time, played a cutting ball in to the feet of late substitute Weimann, who shot onto Howard's post. Bent looked poised to bang the rebounding ball home, only for his shot to deflect wide.

Confidence is precious at this level and Aston Villa do not currently have a lot of it. There are, however, some small shoots of recovery. Passing in the 2nd half was neat, short and of a more technical style than see under McLeish, though we continue to lack the killer pass or touch we so desperately need, leaving Bent running about for little return.

Although I was not impressed with the partnership of Clark and Vlaar, Baker and Vlaar looked promising, with Lichaj at left back. Hopefully, Clark's absence will give Lambert a chance to run the rule of this pairing perhaps a little more.

El Ahmadi - cheered on by the supporters to the tune of 'Rock The Kasbah'- looks like a find at £2.5 million and Holman continues to show fight and enterprise in a team that seems lost without the outlet of Agbonlahor's pace.

After this early season showing be under no illusion whatsoever. Villa need to make some signings before Friday's deadline. We were physically light in midfield, with almost no one being able to link midfield to forward play. At times we were also merciless exposed on the flanks and our most clinical player, Bent, in impact terms, is a ghost. Credit, however, to a superb Everton team who look as though they are off to a flyer.

Date:Sunday August 26 2012
Time: 9:53AM


Great report, thanks Grizzly. Lets hope the next is a more cheerful one to do, albeit I agree, if we don't purchase and purchase well this week, I fear for this season greatly.
The Fear
26/08/2012 09:54:00
must admit Baker looks far stronger than Clark at the back but Everton were still cutting us apart due to no midfield cover whatsoever . It was men against Boys in the centre of midfield and that was down to a poor team selection by the new messiah
26/08/2012 10:07:00
There will be no signings, I said here on this site 18 months ago that Aston Villa as a club, is having a closing down sale, I still believe that, evrything Mr Lerner as done recently points towards him closing his ties with the club.
26/08/2012 10:13:00
Here we go again. Why, oh, why did Lerner not give the money he wanted to MON ? It would have saved him millions. He obviously is getting out. Hope he takes Faulkner with him. This is the end of AVFC>
26/08/2012 10:23:00
MON wasted the millions, we just needed a better manager after MON.

There will be signings this week eltoro, just no idea who, what quality etc. We need experience, we can't go for all youngsters as we have now. Bad times!
The Fear
26/08/2012 10:38:00
We were as bad as they were good though. We had Nathan Baker at left back, because (fair play to him too) Lambert refuses to play Warnock & Hutton because they're thugs. Baker's a centre back in the John Terry mould, firm tackling, good in the air, crap distribution, so whenever the ball came out to him he gave it away or just passed inside to Bannon, who has a much wider range of passes, all of which are equally rubbish. Add to this the fact that we started with Delfounso, who has failed to make an impact on the championship in numerous loan deals, then you can see why we were so sloppy. No service to Bent, who simply refused to make runs after a while, Nzogbia insisted that he'd avoid all misplaced passes by not passing at all, it was all a bit disheartening. Everton were crisp, they passed well, and they looked a real threat every time they came forward, and at one point they came forward quite a lot. Half way through the 2nd half, already 3-0 down, Clarke got sent off, perhaps slightly harshly (the ref had a stinker too), and that meant Baker moved inside, which then gave us a bit more steel at the back, and we brought a proper fullback on, Lichaj, who's limited perhaps, but probably good enough for the top flight if he keeps on improving. This just meant we were so much more balanced and for the last 20 mins or so we actually looked like we could be a threat ourselves. Not only did we score but Lichaj hit the post with the keeper well beaten, the rebound fell to Bent, but by this point a defender had got back to cover and cleared it off the line. 3-2 would've flattered us, but there were one or two signs that it can, and probably will improve. The thing we've got to work out fast is that some of our kids have promise, and some of them aren't good enough to play out of position, some of them not good enough at all. Today though, Lowton, Delfounso, Lichaj, Bannan, Clarke, Herd, Baker & Weimann all played, all are inexperienced and all apart from Lowton are products of the youth team. We need to sort the wheat from the chaff with these kids, get a good all round midfielder and a strike partner for Bent and we'll start picking up. Bannan's out of his depth, so is Delfounso, the jury are still out on Herd, Wiemann and Lichaj, but because of one thing or another (O'Niells spending big money on bench warmers) we simply have no other choice but to play them. Bring Agbonlahor and Dunne back from injury things will improve, 3 or 4 astute signings and we'll have the makings of a reasonable side which will be good enough to blood the kids when the time suits, rather than chucking them in at the deep end.
26/08/2012 11:30:00
Everton have looked very impressive since the start of the season, and it seems that moving Fellaini a little further forward in midfield has transformed the Toffees, as every player has taken something from the team's ability to dominate the midfield. Just as Villa used to look when the likes of Barry and Milner gave drive and creativity to Villa's midfield and the whole team benefited. A few more performances like this from Fellaini and the big boys are going to come knocking. Seeing Fulham's Dembélé strolling through Man United's midfield yesterday they definitely looked like they could do with the power of Fellaini. Everton look superb right now but that does not alter the realities of the Premiership these days.
Steve Wade
26/08/2012 11:43:00
Sitting there watching the game, seeing the difference between the two sides, made me appreciate the job Moyes has done, and just how good of a manager he is, but more so, just how good his scouting network is. I mean, Jelavic, Pienaar, Fellaini etc steal the spotlight, but potentially the best bit of business Moyes has ever done, and that includes the likes of Arteta and Cahill was bringing in Darron Gibson for 250k, no surprise the lad is 29 games unbeaten in the league and he has transformed our style of play, and we are playing the best football I have seen under Moyes, still in disbelief we got him for 250k.
26/08/2012 11:53:00
I hope so JP, I just don't think Mr Lerner has anymore to give, And I'm not sure who would want to come at the moment, do u?, hope your right mate I really do.
26/08/2012 13:17:00
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