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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 21 November 2015; 3:00pm
4 0
 Aston Villa
Barkley 17', 42'
Lukaku 28', 59'
Half Time: 3 - 0
Attendance: 38,424
Fixture 13
Referee: Michael Oliver

Matchday Updates

For the return of Premier League football and the visit of Aston Villa, Roberto Martinez named an unchanged Everton side, with no Leighton Baines risked at this stage of his long recovery from double ankle surgery. Kevin Mirallas was left kicking his heels on the bench where he was joined by Tom Cleverley, who was being reintroduced to first-team football gradually as he comes back from two months on the sidelines with ligament damage.

Everton kicked off and played keep-ball until they could play longer forward balls to Lukaku and then Kone. But Villa set their stall out early on, making Everton work for openings. Deulofeu's first chance to run was stopped by Richardson whose next contribution was to stop the Spaniard with a forearm to the neck. Barkley's free-kick was wasted.

Deulofeu did get a cross in that was too high for Lukaku before Coleman forced a shot on Guzan but was deemed to have fouled Richardson. But a very fluid move from deep down the middle, involving excellent first-time passes from Stones, a brilliant flick from Barkley to Lukaku, plying in McCarthy saw a shot from Deulofeu, parried by Guzan and tapped in at the far post by Barkley for a very nice opening goal.

Villa won a corner and threatened briefly before Everton were surging forward again, but Blues possession was less assured as the Villains accepted they needed to play some football. Magic from Deulofeu set up Kone but Guzan saved his effort brilliantly as the game opened up considerably.

Deulofeu did it again, driving in from the left and almost playing in Lukaku but it was Coleman who rescued the ball at the byeline and Lukaku casually nodded home his perfect pulled-back cross to make it 2-0 before the half-hour.

Everton were now showing great confidence and turning on the style with some beautiful passing moves in midfield. But Villa played a little football of their own after Coleman lost possession, although on the turnover, Deulofeu surged forward again but this time his cross to Lukaku was intercepted. Deulofeu then played in a great ball for Kone that Guzan smothered well.

Another forceful attack down the middle saw Kone with a lot of work to do to keep the ball away from Guzan and Barkley was there to slot the loose ball home. 3-0.

VIlla switched Gueye for Sanchez and drove at Everton with some verve after the break, Howard needing to be alert to danger from a poor pass-back by Funes Mori. The game was flat as Everton became decidedly unadventurous in response to Villa's increasing self-belief, Howard having to stop a fierce drive from Richard's.

But order was restored with another wonderful passing move through the middle with Deulofeu passing superbly to Barkley whose first-time layoff was in perfect stride for Lukaku to drive confidently into the Gwladys Street net. 4-0.

A clever flick by Ayew off a Villa corner did not faze Howard, who had stayed on his line, and Howard had to save from Ayew again, with another surging Everton move ending when Deulofeu stalled and then dived. Deulofeu had a better call for a penalty when he ran into Richards but Villa were still presenting a threat and Everton couldn't really relax, even at 4-0.

Deulofeu had run himself out on 70 mins, an ideal point to bring on Mirallas and go for a big win, but Martinez seem satisfied to watch keep-ball at the back as Everton allowed Villa to come at them. But it happened on 73 mins, with Osman also replacing Barkley.

Mirallas was relishing his chance, and got into the heart of a great move flicking the ball out to Galloway who lashed a vicious goal-bound volley that caught the foot of an acrobatic Mirallas, bizarrely flying through the air between him and Guzan, denying an almost certain goal.

Mirallas then fired in a tremendous free-kick that was just curling outside of the near post with help from Guzan. But the corner was taken short and came to nought. Gibson came on in place of McCarthy.

Lukaku and Guzan collided heavily after both went for a loose ball. A fantastic cross-ball from Gibson was worth a goal by Mirallas, who struck it almost perfectly on the volley, missing the goal by 6 inches.

Mirallas was desperate to score, lashing a powerful shot but too close to Guzan in added time as the Blues sealed an impressive if, in the end, somewhat restrained win against the team at rock bottom of the Premier League.

Everton: Howard, Galloway, Funes Mori, Stones, Coleman, McCarthy (84' Gibson), Barry, Deulofeu (73' Mirallas), Barkley (73' Osman), Kone, Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Cleverley, Lennon, Naismith.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Clark, Richardson, Gana (46' Sanchez [Y:84']), Westwood, Veretout, Gil (57' Gestede), Grealish (74' N'Zogbia), Ayew.
Subs not Used: Bunn, Bacuna, Sinclair, Lescott.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: 38,424

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

The international breaks can be annoying interruptions to the season and often prevent a team from establishing momentum in the Premier League. So it's a welcome feeling to know that, starting with this weekend's meeting with Aston Villa, Everton now have an unbroken stretch of domestic action between now and the next round of national friendlies in March to hopefully dig in and put together a run of results.

Roberto Martinez has said on a number of occasions recently that he has been pleased with the signs his players have exhibited over the first 12 gamesthat things are coming together; the challenge, as ever, is to translate those signs into consistent performances and support the belief that this talented Everton side is capable of mounting a challenge for the top four.

From Martinezs point of view the fortnight off can be a useful pause to allow players to recover from injuries and, in this case, its allowed Leighton Baines to take part in a friendly that gets him that much closer to fitness and also give Tom Cleverley more breathing room to prime himself for a return to action after almost three months out with an ankle injury.

Although the manager has wisely said that he won't rush Baines back into the side, he intimated in his press conference yesterday that he would make a decision on the 30-year-old after today's training session at Finch Farm. Under normal circumstances particularly given the setback he suffered two days before the start of the season in August Baines would probably be eased back in but Martinez has something of a selection problem at left back.

Brendan Galloway is battling the thigh problem that prevented him yet again from making his England U21 bow this past week, Bryan Oviedo is still recovering from a hamstring strain, Luke Garbutt is on loan for the season at Fulham and even Tyias Browning who has been deployed as an emergency left back before, is a doubt with himself. With Phil Jagielka out until the end of next month, there isn't even the option of moving Ramiro Funes Mori across to fullback, which more or less leaves Gareth Barry (either as a left back or as part of a back three) as the last obvious option if Baines isn't risked.

If Barry is to be the solution, the readiness of Cleverley and Muhamed Besic comes as a timely boost, with either player able to step into central midfield alongside James McCarthy. Cleverley is also a candidate to play in the left-sided attacking midfield role alongside Ross Barkley and at the expense of Kevin Mirallas, although it would also edge out one of Arouna Kone and Gerard Deulofeu, both of whom were instrumental in the 6-2 hammering of Sunderland in the last home game. With the Spaniard having added another stunning assist at Upton Patrk a forntight ago and then run riot again for Spain U21s, it's almost unthinkable that he won't start.

Villa, of course, will be playing just their second match under new manager Remi Garde, the man charged with keeping in the Premier League after joining the top flight's bottom side in the wake of Tim Sherwood's dismissal. A new appointment can often provide a "shot in the arm" to a team and Garde's first game in charge represented a solid start to his tenure a goalless draw against Manchester City and a rare clean sheet in his first game will have given the Midlanders some confidence and they showed on their last visit to Merseyside in September, when they gave Liverpool a fright, that they're not afraid to have a go.

That indicates that they will be no pushovers despite the fact that they have only won one game sdo far this season. Everton will have to keep an eye on the aerial prowess of the likes of Rudy Gestede and keep an eye on players like Jordan Ayew but Martinez's side should have more than enough to win particularly if they attack the way they did against Sunderland and the Goodison faithful will be expecting nothing short of three points on Saturday. These are the kinds of game we simply must be winning if we have European aspirations.

This next phase of 12 games that Roberto has highlighted as being so crucial for signs that his team has the collective determination and the killer instinct that could be so vital in driving them on towards a sustained challenge for the top four. If there has been a feeling that the Blues have been playing within themselves somewhat this season and allowed opportunities to pick up attainablevictories to pass them by in games like the ones against Tottenham, Swansea, Liverpool and West Ham then they now have the best possible conditions in which to kick on and mount an assault on the top six in the coming weeks.

Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Michael Oliver
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku

Lyndon Lloyd

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EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Funes Mori
  McCarthy (Gibson 84')
  Deulofeu (Mirallas 74')
  Barkley (Osman 74')
  Subs not used
  Baines (unfit)
  Browning (injured)
  Hibbert (unfit)
  Jagielka (injured)
  Oviedo (injured)
  Pienaar (unfit)
  Garbutt (loan)
  Junior (loan)
  Gil (Gestede 57')
  Gueye (Sanchez 45')
  Grealish (N'Zogbia 74')
  Subs not used

Premier League Scores
Chelsea 1-0 Norwich City
Everton 4-0 Aston Villa
Man City 1-4 Liverpool
Newcastle 0-3 Leicester City
So'hampton 0-1 Stoke City
Swansea City 2-2 Bournemouth
West Brom 2-1 Arsenal
Tottenham 4-0 West Ham
C Palace 0-1 Sunderland

Team Pts
1 Leicester City 28
2 Manchester United 27
3 Manchester City 26
4 Arsenal 26
5 Tottenham Hotspur 24
6 West Ham United 21
7 Everton 20
8 Southampton 20
9 Liverpool 20
10 Crystal Palace 19
11 Stoke City 18
12 West Bromwich Albion 17
13 Watford 16
14 Swansea City 14
15 Chelsea 14
16 Norwich City 12
17 Newcastle United 10
18 Sunderland 9
19 AFC Bournemouth 9
20 Aston Villa 5


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