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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 10 September 2011; 3:00pm
2 2
 Aston Villa
Osman (19')
Baines (pen:69')
Half Time: 1-0
Petrov (63')
Agbonlahor (83')
Attendance: 32,736
Fixture 3
Referee: Michael Oliver

Match Summary

Both of Everton's deadline day signings, Denis Stracqualursi and Royston Drenthe, started on the bench along with Phil Neville and bright prospect Ross Barkley. Tim Cahill led the line in front of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Osman fell over Dunne's leg and drew wild penalty screams in the first attack.

Great work by Bily won the ball for Baines and his return was clipped in well to the far post and out for a corner. From that a great header cleared off the line by Bent. Jagielka fed Osman whose snapshot bounced off Given, a really good burst of play that got the Goodison crowd on its feet.

Baines was swinging in some superb corners, one was almost too good for Jagielka at the far post. Everton's dominance finally paid off when Osman scored on 19 mins after a long spell of Everton possession and patient build-up, Cahill forced away from goal pulled out a great reverse pass to Osman who cooly slotted past Given to set the Blues on their way.

They then sat back visibly, allowing the pace of the game to flag the highlite being a big cheer for Bill Kenwright's mug when it appeared on the big screens this time. Howard had to be alert to hold a distant strike from Bannan as Villa saw more ball in the Everton half. Coleman got free of his marker but dreadfully overhit his cross.

Another nice move involved Fellaini, Cahill and Osman down the right with another good shot on target from Osman, but on the next attack, Bily also overhit his cross. Fellaini turned his man well and fired high from outside the area.

A great move down the left with Bily was wasted when he tried to be too clever with his final ball, a chip to the far post that was poorly overhit. Rodwell finally shot from outside of the area, on target but it was deflected aginizingly wide of the post.

Warnock incredibly escaped a yellow card fro coming straight through on Cahill, who probably saved him by jumping up rather than rolling around in agony. Another superb Baines corner was headed wide at the far post to end a very good half of surprisingly attacking football.

It was a poor scrappy start to the second half until Baines had a great run into the penalty area where he was clipped by Bannan and he tripped awkwardly. Clear penalty but the ref, 3 yards away, astoundingly said no, presumably thinking Baines had tripped himself.

Some superb defending by Distin to deny Agbonlahor was top class as Villa felt they could force an equalizer as the hour-mark approached... time for some fresh new subs perhaps, Mr Moyes???

A free-kick was sent wide to Fellaini who laid on a cross for Coleman, and Fellaini did very well to get a return header in for Jagielka to head fractionally over when it looked easier for him to score.

But as they had threatened, the equalizer came from Petrov, a good strike from distance, that had Howard well beaten. So the pendulum had been swinging but Moyes had done nothing to read the game and counter the obvious impetus in Villa's favour.

Villa came so close to scoring again fron a free-kick, Bent struck the foot of the Everton post off a lose ball that had been handled by a Villa player.

Another fantasatc Baines corner powered in by Cahill was superbly blocked by Given but in the follow-up Delph floored Jagielka and the ref finally gave Everton something a penalty, fired home with confidence by the superb Baines.

That was sufficient for Moyes to chance Royston Drenthe in the bigtime for the last 20 minutes... but not until the requisite sermon had been delivered, which seem to confuse the Dutchman, who finally replaced Bilyaltedinov to a fantastic Goodison reception. N'Zogbia, the long-time Everton target who had been poor for Villa, was pulled off at the same time.

Drenthe made nonsense of Moyes's comments about lack of preparation, stealing the ball and scampering forward, on a great run and centering superbly to Osman who failed to shoot first time and had his shot blocked.

Drenthe was full of vim and vigour, while the rest of the Everton team seemed satisfied with the one-goal lead, as Barkley was given a generous 10 more minutes in place of Coleman. So it was no real surprise when Agbonlahor powered home a simple header and it was all square again... and another bogey result on the cards.

Finally, Moyes realized something was needed, with 5 mins left, and it was Apsotolos Vellios rather than Denis Stracqualursi who would finally be given the task of leading the Everton attack.

Vellios produced a couple of excellent efforts, one dispossessing Given and poking it just wide with Dunne scrambling back to cover; another brilliant shot stinging Given's gloves after some excellent work to make space for himself. Why had this striker spent 85 minutes on the bench?

That was the lingering thought after 5 mins of added time in which Moyes's late late subs were unable to reclaim the two points that rightly should have been Everton's.

Michael Kenrick


Match Preview

Everton return to Premier League action this weekend with the drama of the transfer deadline in the rearview mirror and the international break out of the way, though they didn't escape from either unscathed.

David Moyes's already small squad was reduced by two more members, with four leaving and only two loan signings arriving, but the most significant loss was, of course, that of Mikel Arteta who joined Arsenal in a deal reportedly worth £10m.

Though the Best Little Spaniard We Knew was struggling to regain the form that cemented him in Evertonian hearts and both the transfer fee and wages saved will ease the fiscal nightmare that has engulfed the Club in recent years, losing the key creative force from a team already desperately short in flair could prove highly problematic.

Compounding that are the injuries and knocks sustained by important members of the squad over the past week.

Leighton Baines left England's training camp after tweaking a hamstring and though he is expected to play against Aston Villa this weekend, he probably won't be at 100%. Ironically enough, though it's Victor Anichebe who could be the most crucial casualty after tearing his groin on duty for Nigeria against Madagascar.

Expected to be out of action for as long as three months, his absence will leave a gaping hole in what is a pitifully weak strikeforce. With Louis Saha suffering from another unspecified injury, Apostolos Vellios too green to handle senior striking responsibilities and both Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu gone on deadline day, Moyes has just one recognised forward to deploy against Aston Villa.

The manager isn't usually given to throwing new signings straight into the mix, though, and even if you'd think he'll have no choice but to field new acquisition Denis Stracqualursi as the lone striker against Villa, his pre-match press conference suggests he'll use Tim Cahill as a makeshift striker instead.

Though there was talk of him having picked up a knock against Thailand four days previously, Australia boss Holger Osieck claimed to have left Cahill out of the Socceroos' 3-1 win over Saudi Arabia in midweek for tactical reasons. Certainly there has been no further talk of any injury to the Blues' number 17 but his international exploits have taken a visible toll on him this past year.

Moyes's other deadline-day signing, Royston Drenthe, is unlikely to play any part this weekend. A lack of match fitness and a slight ankle complaint mean that the Dutchman has targeted next weekend's game against Wigan for his debut, though he is included in the squad this weekend.

On the plus side, though, it looks as though Seamus Coleman and Magaye Gueye have returned to training and may be able to play some part. That means that the manager will have more options when it comes to his midfield, with Leon Osman or Marouane Fellaini the likely candidates to drop in behind the front man if Cahill is indeed played as the lone striker, and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Jack Rodwell, John Heitinga and Ross Barkley providing the rest of the competition for the three remaining slots across the middle.

Rodwell and Heitinga are highly likely to get the nod but it'll be interesting to see how Moyes handles Barkley after the youngster's unfortunate error at Blackburn last time out where he conceded possession and then a penalty that, thankfully, didn't prove costly.

All in all, not many options to set the pulse racing but in our predicament it's all about grinding out results and three points against team which the Blues haven't beaten in five seasons now would be a great start to this three-match home stand.

And even if he doesn't start, Stracqualursi will almost certainly get introduced at some point of the game, giving Evertonians their first look at the big Argentine on whose shoulders a lot will rest, at least — we hope — until January.

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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2011-12 Reports Index
< Blackburn (A) Wigan Ath (H) >
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Jagielka :66'
  Coleman (81' Barkley)
  Bilyaletdinov (72' Drenthe)
  Cahill (85' Vellios)
  Subs not used
  Anichebe (injured)
  Heitinga (injured)
  Saha (injured)
  Duffy (loan)
  Yobo (loan)
  Delph (81' Ireland)
  Agbonlahor :84'
  Heskey (17' Bannan)
  N'Zogbia (73' Albrighton)
  Subs not used

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
Bolton 0-2 Man United
Everton 2-2 Aston Villa
Man City 3-0 Wigan
Stoke 1-0 Liverpool
Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea
Wolves 0-2 Tottenham
Fulham 1-1 Blackburn
Norwich 0-1 West Brom
QPR 0-0 Newcastle

Team Pts
1 Manchester United 12
2 Manchester City 12
3 Chelsea 10
4 Stoke City 8
4 Newcastle United 8
6 Liverpool 7
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 7
8 Aston Villa 6
9 Wigan Athletic 5
10 Everton 4
11 Queens Park Rangers 4
12 Arsenal 4
13 West Bromwich Albion 3
14 Bolton Wanderers 3
15 Tottenham Hotspur 3
16 Sunderland 2
17 Norwich City 2
18 Fulham 2
19 Swansea City 2
20 Blackburn Rovers 1


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