From My Seat: Aston Villa (H)

Overall a strange game to watch as it was so one-sided, however the standard of football from Everton was a joy to watch and there now seems to be partnerships forming throughout the team which is always a good sign.

Ken Buckley 21/11/2015 27comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 4 - 0 Aston Villa

That pesky international break out of the way saw us congregating once more in the Room of Nonsense prior to our 201st meeting with the Villa the most played fixture in footy history. Man U v Watford was on the screens and to all intents and purposes no one was watching with any conviction except for a roar for the Watford equaliser on the death and then an almighty groan as United snatched in time added.

They were the only two interruptions to our discussion regarding team selection where the only surprise was a place for Galloway who only yesterday had been deemed not yet recovered from injury but none the less most were happy with the selection. It was interesting to hear most assembled being in agreement with our present manager in his view that the only way we will keep hold of our diamonds is to enter the champions league. Although we are all desperate for a cup win that place in the top four seems to outweigh everything. Mind you if we do build the squad to get top four spot then a cup may come along as well.

Time for the walk up and although it was retro day most fans I saw were wearing up to six layers against the cold and retro shirts were I am sure worn, just not on view. The fan zone seemed to have been a hit with the youngsters as many were sporting blue and white face painting and making a right din with the old fashioned rattles. It was feeding time at the fat van and the need for something warm and substantial was outweighing any healthy eating concerns and if the fat van didnt get you then who could resist the chippys on route to a turnstile.

Into the ground and Z cars had a false start as whoever was in charge of music was thrown into a mild panic as the normal matchday routine was altered to have the players shake hands and then mingle together in a show of solidarity before the French National anthem was played and sung whilst fans had a moment to reflect on the deadly attacks that took place in Paris this last week.

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The game was started by our match referee Mr Oliver and by ten minutes in it was clear that Villa, having shut out Man City in their last match, were on the same tack again. However Everton appeared prepared for this and were happy to play the long game and build patiently with some crisp passing and not shy of pressing until avenues closed but still kept hold of the ball and came out again to start another venture forward. The Villa tactic was most blatant as they almost refused to commit anyone forward to help out the totally isolated Ayew.

Past the fifteen minute mark and after Deulofeu had proved his dominance over his marker Richardson, Coleman had sensed an overlapping run spooked them we put a move together that started deep in our half. Stones, stepping forward, found Barkley who executed a sublime flick into the path of Lukaku who fed McCarthy who quickly passed it on to Deulofeu who sensed Richardson posed little threat to him, so he powered in from the right and shot,. The keeper got something on it but could only parry away and there was Barkley who, after making up ground quickly, was at the far post sniffing for spills, got one and slid home. Goodison erupted, yes, but until that point had been quiet and considering we were so much on top and playing good joined up stuff was puzzling.

Then I was left puzzled again as I thought that us taking the lead would ensure Villa being more attack-minded leaving us with chances on the break as we have some speedy lads in our team now but no they carried on as though our goal hadnt happened and were content to defend in numbers and commit to very little if anything going forward, a most strange state of affairs.

Everton sensing this pushed harder with more bodies and apart from a Villa corner we were in and around their box in surges. From one of these the immaculate Barry, orchestrating from a defensive midfield position set us in motion and Deulofeu set off like a robber's dog down the right, looked up and crossed beautifully and accurately to Kones head and with GOAL on our lips Guzan made a very good reflex save. Hell of a save that.

Villa made a few token forays forward but never with any great conviction as I thought any reward for them would be via a terrible mistake from us. But as the clock ticked to the thirty minute mark, Deulofeu popped up on the left and threaded a pass that almost got Lukaku clear and received a clap for his passing nous whilst Coleman got on to the loose ball and put in a cross that lit up the eyes of Lukaku. He powered on to it and planted a laser guided header just out of the reach of Guzan and wallowed in the adoration of the fans before slowly making his way back for the restart, clapping and waving as his very own song was aired.

Still it was a quiet Goodison, although two up and playing some good stuff with Barry a master in organisation and play directing what a pity he is not 22. Lukaku, Kone and Deulofeu were a real handful going forward and Coleman and Galloway bombing on when appropriate leaving Stones and Mori looking like a seasoned central defensive partnership, not forgetting McCarthy with his closing down and harrying along with Barkley who was picking up loose balls and directing traffic.

Howard was almost redundant but sound when called upon. This ensured some excellent joined up stuff that used the width of the pitch and had Villa chasing shadows so it was no surprise when just a couple of minutes to the break Barry orchestrated another move that saw Kone tangle with Guzan over a loose ball, the Ivorian somehow got it loose and squirted the ball away from Guzan and there was todays predator Barkley to slot home. I think all assembled knew it was game over as we went into the break 3-0 up from a one sided first half that for some reason Villa did not seem to want to take part in.

Second half and you just knew it would be an anti-climax and I wasnt disappointed. Villa started with Sanchez replacing Gueye and adding a bit of huff and puff, but the most threatening they were was when our man Mori got the pace of his back-pass to Howard wrong leaving it short but it was Howard to the rescue when, from a good starting position, he charged out and kicked away. No excitement for a while as the whole place was flat as Everton seemed not perturbed by anything Villa could offer and, as far as our lads were concerned, they were happy to knock it about and if the chance came for a swift break and another goal, well ok. What surprised me was that the Villa fans did their best to lift their team through song and chant yet their players just seemed to accept the inevitable. If I was a Villa fan I would be a tad worried.

Micah Richards did have a trip to near the edge of our box and hit one but straight at Howard who held comfortably. Richards seemed to have set a trend as shortly after Villa had two more shots from what looked like good positions but again straight at Howard and he gathered easily.

The hour mark was upon us and as I was wondering if Roberto would give some of the subs a run out Deulofeu from deep in our half played a crisp pass to Barkley who with just the weight and timing passed on to Lukaku who after taking it in his stride hammered home and the reception he got and the singing of his song was the noisiest the crowd had been all game and he milked it. 4-0 up and some great stuff played at times yet the Old Lady was far from rocking.

The manager went another fifteen minutes before making subs and then introduced Mirallas and Osman for Barkley and Deulofeu who both got a good round of applause from the faithful. Mirallas started like a man possessed and intent on catching the managers eye. He ran in from the left at pace and then fed the ball out to the marauding Galloway who lashed a shot that was goal bound but from my seat I could not quite tell what happened as Mirallas seemed to mid-air and Guzan dive out, the upshot being the ball didnt trouble the net but how I am not sure.

Mirallas than took a free kick near the edge of the box and hit it with venom but alas it curled just wide but Guzan did get something on it as we got a corner that didnt deliver anything. Gibson replaced McCarthy. The ground went even quieter as Lukaku and Guzan collided in what looked a nasty one. Both thankfully recovered after treatment. A strange thing their as Lukaku did not have to go off after the treatment is this because the keeper was involved or did the ref just not notice. I have not seen before.

Just before the end Gibson sent a superb pass to Mirallas that he acrobatically tried a mid-air volley that had it been six inches to the right it would have been a goal of the season contender. Still the Belgian playing with something to prove had a twisting run at pace and his shot although strong was gathered by Guzan.

MotM Deulofeu/Barry joint.

Overall a strange game to watch as it was so one-sided however the standard of football from Everton was a joy to watch and there now seems to be partnerships forming throughout the team which is always a good sign. Coming off the ground tonight confirmed winter is almost upon us as it was cold and dark but the chat was bright and cheery as fans debated the game and individual performances. Its great to catch the snatches of conversations as it reinforces the diversity of opinion regarding a game we have all just seen but perhaps slightly differently.

Bournemouth next and with a bit of luck and a clean bill of health we can take the points so long as we dont expect them to be as accommodating the Villa.

Winter draws on.

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (27)

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 22/11/2015 at 09:08:02
Ken, that is exactly what the commentator said on TV – "there are partnerships developing all over the pitch for Everton". Stones - Funes Mori, Galloway - Barry, Coleman - Deulofeu, Barry - McCarthy, Kone - Lukaku, Deulofeu - Lukaku, Barkley - Lukaku, a joy to watch.

But superior teams will not allow us so much time on the ball and will press us more. Does this team have the mental strength to cope with that?

I still think we are a "Tim Cahill" type of player short to take us to the next level, a player/leader who will fight and egg on his comrades when the chips are down – a player who will convert deficits to draws and draws to victories. Not sure if Cleverley could be that leader?

And Gibson showed what a fantastic passer he is – in just the 7-8 minutes that he was on the pitch.

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 22/11/2015 at 09:33:08
Good to read your take on things, as ever, Ken.

Ajay, spot on about the multiple partnerships. And that cross-field pass from Gibbo to I-can’t-remember-who – sublime.

Aidan Wade
3 Posted 22/11/2015 at 10:36:31
"Second half and you just knew it would be an anti-climax and I wasn’t disappointed."

Love that bit.

It’s amazing the difference a bit of variety makes. With Ger, we are so much less dependent on Ross to conjure something brilliant and with the pressure on his shoulders eased, Ross is growing every minute.

Credit to Kone as well who is no longer "a waste of £5 million". We might wonder how different things could have been if he was in this form from Day One.

Finally, it’s great to have a hungry Mirallas nipping at heels for his own chance... which will come... and playing balls for Rom to run onto and he’s suddenly one of the league's top strikers instead of a garage wall.

We made it through a tough run in respectable fashion and we’ve handsomely thumped the bottom two teams, 3rd bottom Bournemouth up next. We need to be ruthless and we’ll see where 2016 finds us.

Tony Hill
4 Posted 22/11/2015 at 11:17:54
Ajay (#1), I think you are right about the missing component for us. I think Besic might come through as that sort of player. It’s a pity McCarthy isn’t more assertive as a leader on the pitch, though again he might develop in that way.
Steve Hogan
5 Posted 22/11/2015 at 11:32:23
Great report, Ken; a comment on the atmosphere at Goodison lately, a point you mentioned several times in your report.

I wonder whether Everton’s now established ’brand’ of possession-type football is responsible for this? I sense more patience or acceptance now from the home crowd as we methodically build up from the back; last season, the crowd were going apeshit as players slowly passed their way across the back four... that’s my theory anyway.

Whilst the ’get it forward as quickly as possible’ days are gone at the moment, the possible side effect is a much quieter Goodison.

The match itself was almost played out in a testimonial style state; surely even at this stage of the season, Villa are odds on to go down? They were bereft of just about everything.

A word on Barry: I believe he’s 35 next birthday, but what he brings to this Everton team cannot be underestimated. The first five yards now, are really in his head, he ALWAYS seems to be in the right place at the right time – no coincidence, I feel.

No wonder a certain Liverpool manager was desperate to sign him a few years ago; let’s hope the boo boys stay off his back when he shows a little signs of wear and tear, but I doubt it.

The same morons were right on the case of Barkley a few months ago, as he was finding it tough after delivering so much promise early on. Now look at him, scoring goals for fun, and not just ’worldies’, but simple tap-ins.

Onwards to Bournemouth who showed enough enterprise at Swansea yesterday to make me believe we're in for a really tough test.

Peter Carpenter
6 Posted 22/11/2015 at 11:41:30
There seemed to be lots of people leaving early too. They leave early when we are losing 3-0 and they leave early when we are winning 4-0. Do they have cheaper tickets?
Andy Meighan
8 Posted 22/11/2015 at 14:01:07
Ken,

Can you please tell me where the Room of Nonsense is because trying to guess is doing my head in.

Anyway, the blues were brilliant going forward again yesterday but the defence was hardly tested. As many of us said later, you can only beat what's in front of you and we've done that convincingly in the last two home games and long may it continue.

I couldn’t find fault in any one of them. They say there's no easy games in this league but that was close as Villa were absolutely awful and look doomed already. I'd have to say they are the worst side I've seen at Goodison Park for years and even a couple of their own players have said it could have been more.

The only downer for me: a £2 double on Lukaku to score the first goal and Everton to win 4-0. I also had Lukaku to score 1st goal but hey I'm not one for moaning (not much).

Oh and can someone please tell Liverpool you only get 3pts for beating Man City, not a trophy. The antics out of some of them in the pubs on County Road was embarrassing.

David Hallwood
9 Posted 22/11/2015 at 14:42:38
Great report, Ken: Is Deulofeu the first name on the team sheet? It would be interesting to see his assist stats. Agreement all round; yes Villa were poor, but the first goal especially was great play when Villa were trying to park the bus.

Special mention for the 4th; Stones to Deulofeu to Barkley to Lukaku, our 4 young diamonds combining. Most commentators are predicting that we’ll end up around 7th. IMO this is a wide open league so who knows?

Paul Tran
10 Posted 22/11/2015 at 15:00:39
Steve, I completely agree with you on Barry. He was the scapegoat last season. Martinez kept bringing him back too early and he suffered from the team's lack of movement. He and his team mates look fitter thus season, the movement off the ball is much better and there's more going in in front of him, which is why he's looking better this season.

He's never going to win a sprint, but I hope some of our younger players develop his sense of awareness.

Could have done with someone like him in the last guy's team.

Iain Love
11 Posted 22/11/2015 at 15:27:30
At last we have a player in Deulofeu who makes things happen.
Johnny Rainford
12 Posted 22/11/2015 at 15:29:52
I think I can finally put the trauma of Villa Park 1989 behind me after this result!

Thanks, boys.

COYB

Danny Broderick
13 Posted 22/11/2015 at 17:36:36
Deulofeu is having a massive impact. He gives us an outlet, and he keeps on creating chances. Long may it continue.
Gary Reeves
14 Posted 22/11/2015 at 18:44:09
Steve Hogan (#5),

I confess, I am one of the "morons" who has issues with Barkley (curiously one of many though, Steve) and I’m not going to let a couple of goals cloud my judgement.

With Kone linking nicely with Lukaku and Deulofeu being a general menace, I honestly think Barkley is surplus in our formation. When we’re not in possession he’s useless IMO, and you only have to look how Liverpool dogged Man City, high up the pitch, to see the comparison.

My own preference would be for Naismith to start, as he contributes in midfield and is an asset around the box.

Ian Riley
15 Posted 22/11/2015 at 19:49:41
Great write up, thank you.

The one touch football we produced yesterday was of the highest level. Aston villa have been falling for the past three years and will be relegated based on just lack of quality. I don't think the team got out of second gear.

The atmosphere at football grounds has been changing over the past fifteen years. Expectations of fans have changed considerably with the amount they pay. Many fans sit and wait to be entertained. Similar to attending the theatre.

This is just an observation but most of the atmosphere comes from home fans behind the goals. Do these fans feel a sense of belonging or tribal mentailty, who knows? A further observation is the style we play, a slow build up to the apposition goal can influence fans vocal behaviour.

Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 22/11/2015 at 20:10:12
Great report, Ken, I take it for granted that your summary tells it like it is. Deulofeu as your man of the match and I think quite a large proportion of the crowd's, not forgetting Barry’s contribution.

I think if you measured the crowd's noise levels, I’m sure they go up a few decibels whenever Geri gets the ball. I know my anticipation levels nearly double when he is in possession of the ball.

As you say, we have to continue this form and I’d hope in future games we don’t slow the play but continue looking for more goals.

Tony Hill
17 Posted 22/11/2015 at 20:14:45
What was particularly pleasing yesterday about Barkley’s goals was how ugly they were. I can remember one straightforward nod in against Swansea 2 years ago but his other goals for us all seem to have been out of the area and/or very pleasing on the eye.

If he starts to put away these messier goals then the benefit to the team could be enormous – goals from midfield are what we have been lacking now for a long time.

Ernie Baywood
18 Posted 22/11/2015 at 20:17:10
Yes, I think it’s fairly proven that, if you don’t get players in attacking positions, them your goals tally will suffer. It was nice to see Ross finding positions in the box... and good to see Galloway getting right in there too.
Sam Barrett
19 Posted 22/11/2015 at 20:24:01
Great report as usual, Ken, your perspective on these games is always spot on.

Good point, Paul, about Barry being last season's scapegoat; I think the nutters have now moved on to Barkley who seems to be getting it for not running around kicking everybody!

So I was delighted for him to grab a brace and an assist; that should keep the nutters quiet for a couple of weeks. Also Geri, Rom and Kone and all of a sudden we look to have a very exciting and attacking team, Deulofeu in particular. We should beat Bournemouth and maybe a semi-final?

John Raftery
20 Posted 22/11/2015 at 22:32:52
It is great that Ross Barkley is now delivering goals and assists. For me though the most impressive aspect of his performance yesterday was the way he tracked back and challenged for the ball. People need to forget last season's inconsistency and enjoy what he is contributing this season. To describe him as surplus to requirements is nonsensical.

Gareth Barry is also having a very good season. He was everywhere yesterday, protecting the back line, controlling the flow of play out of defence and providing leadership and direction to all around him.

Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 22/11/2015 at 23:38:39
By the way Tony, as ugly as his first finish may have been, it was him who turned a straight pass into midfield into a flowing one touch move.

I'm going to sound like Roberto here but with a player like Barkley is about moments. He had a few against Villa. Little touches that turned possession into attacks. Also, the way him and Deulofeu accelerate into space is exciting... they can take the opposition midfield out of the game in about three touches of the ball.

The last goal was just beautiful. Del receives it just a few yards from his marker and with his first two touches he was out of sight. You could have excused us not having support for him but we had players streaming forward in attack.

Keith Glazzard
22 Posted 23/11/2015 at 01:21:09
What to add? Liked the Barry/Deulofeu award, as it summed up the team from back to front, as it were. Yes, there will be much harder games, but you start from where you are and we are in good shape. And not a bad bench either.

Did Kone really find a blue shirt with every pass? Is this a club record?

Lee Hind
24 Posted 23/11/2015 at 15:32:19
I wonder, Gary (#14) if goals and assists aren’t going to change your opinion about Barkley, what is?

Frankly, as long as he is scoring or creating goals, he’s doing his job and asking him to run about like a madman when we haven’t got the ball is going to become counter-productive when we do get it and he’s knackered.

David Graves
25 Posted 23/11/2015 at 15:47:16
Gary @ 14 of course 2 goals shouldn’t cloud your judgement but how about 5 Premier League goals and 4 assists already this season?

But I guess if you would honestly rather have Naismith to Barkley then nothing anyone will say will change your mind.

Steve Hogan
26 Posted 23/11/2015 at 16:55:37
Gary (#14)

Are you suggesting Naismith starts instead of Barkley?

If that’s the case, I can’t really reason with that sought of logic to be honest.

Gary Reeves
27 Posted 23/11/2015 at 20:00:21
Lee, I’m saying that I don’t think Barkley wouldn’t fit into our strongest formation. Four players with little or no defensive abilities is too many...

Did you watch the Other Crowd at City? I’m not talking about "running around like madmen" I’m talking about working hard to get the ball back – something that Barkley is completely incapable of.

Harold Matthews
29 Posted 25/11/2015 at 14:16:27
True, Gary (#27), Barkley will never fit into a Klopp team but he fits perfectly into a Martinez team and that’s good enough for me.

We also saw a new Barkley on Saturday and what a difference it made. Sharp and alert throughout, moving the ball on quickly with first time passes, backheels and flicks and getting himself into the box. An attacking midfield masterclass. Great stuff. If he can continue to play in this manner we have much to look forward to.

Gary Reeves
30 Posted 25/11/2015 at 16:17:41
Harold, don’t get me wrong; I’m in many ways a Martinez fan. This season things are right up for grabs though,and I feel we need to tweak our system (regarding the forward positions) if we are to get in contention.

As I said in an earlier post, Kone is linking well with Lukaku, and Geri is dropping bombs everywhere but none of them are the type to go harrying defenders – and when you add Barkley... well, the first 30 yards are "on us." I would prefer a more combative player to Barkley if we’re assuming Rom, Kone and Geri are our current forward options.

As for Barkley ever making an out and out central midfielder? No, sorry, can’t see it, I really can’t. He’s a "supporting forward" if he’s anything, and at the moment we have better ones.

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