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Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
League Cup
Wednesday 27 September 2023; 7:45pm
Aston Villa
1 2
Kamara 83'
Half Time: 0 - 1 
Garner 15'
Calvert-Lewin 50'
Round 3
Referee: Tony Harrington

Match Reports
2023-24 Reports Index
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 Everton fans' reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Report
 Paul Traill Report
  Konsa booked
  McGinn (Kamara 46')
  Dendoncker (Digne 46' booked)
  Douglas Luiz booked
  Bailey (Zaniolo 31')
  Duran (Watkins 46' booked)
  Subs not used
  Diego Carlos

  Patterson booked
  Tarkowski booked
  Mykolenko (Young 46')
  Onana (Doucoure 79')
  Harrison (McNeil 65' booked)
  Danjuma (Gueye 72')
  Calvert-Lewin (Beto 72')
  Subs not used
  Alli (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Maupay (loan)

Match Stats

Shots on target

Cup Scores
Bradford 0-2 Middlesbrough
Exeter 1-0 Luton
Ipswich 3-2 Wolves
Man United 3-0 C Palace
Mansfield p2-2 Peterborough
Port Vale 2-1 Sutton Utd
Salford 0-4 Burnley
Aston Villa 1-2 Everton
Blackburn 5-2 Cardiff
Bournemouth 2-0 Stoke
Brentford 0-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 1-0 Brighton
Fulham 2-1 Norwich
Lincoln 0-1 West Ham
Liverpool 3-1 Leicester
Newcastle 1-0 Man City

Match Report

There were many war-weary Evertonians, all too aware of their club’s history in this competition and all too accustomed to defeats in the early rounds, who greeted the draw for the third round of the Carabao Cup with a resigned shrug. After all, it came 10 days after the Blues had been taken apart at Villa Park on the back of the kind of performance that seemed to spell another long struggle against relegation this season and precious little optimism for a strong cup run.

The more optimistic and defiant no doubt saw this as a chance for Everton to gain fairly swift revenge for their 4-0 drubbing at Aston Villa’s hands in August and it was one that Sean Dyche’s men grabbed with both hands with arguably their strongest display since dismantling Brighton at the Amex Stadium last May.

Taking heart from Saturday’s fine win at Brentford, Everton smothered Villa at times for the first hour of this game, harrying, pressing and forcing mistakes from their hosts and Unai Emery, whose team had won 10 straight at home before this evening, could have had few complaints if the tie had effectively been over by the halfway stage.

It surely would have been had John McGinn been spared the ignominy of an own goal six minutes before the interval and Dominic Calvert-Lewin shown more composure with a finish to a gilt-edged chance a minute after that.

As it was, the striker, who was making his first start since fracturing his cheekbone in the previous meeting with the Villans five weeks ago, found all the poise he needed five minutes into the second half to comfortably slot past former team-mate Robin Olsen and score what proved to be the winner that handed Everton an unlikely fourth-round berth.

There have been times over the past year where the Toffees have looked utterly bereft of organisation, talent and belief and not only destined for the Championship but deserving of relegation. At other moments they have had to draw on every last reserve of spirit and determination to grind out the results required to keep them in the Premier League.

And there have been others — depressingly fleeting — like at Brighton and against Crystal Palace at the high watermark of Frank Lampard’s time at the club where Everton have actually looked impressive and an appreciable sum of the parts that have been assembled by nine different managers over the past decade.

Tonight was one of those moments that swept away any excuses the players might have had for their abject showing on this ground earlier this season, their brush with humiliation at Doncaster in the previous round, and for their incomprehensibly impotent display against Arsenal 10 days ago. It set the benchmark for how the side should approach teams away from home and laid down a marker that says Everton should be nowhere near the bottom three come May, assuming their shallow squad isn’t hit by a crippling injury crisis along the way.

It also raises hopes that the Blues could go deep into a competition they have never won, particularly as should they progress past Burnley in the fourth round, there will be a maximum of six top-flight teams left in the competition and Manchester City won’t be one of them!

Dyche, taking charge of his 500th game as a manager, may not have had many options open to him in terms of wholesale changes to the side that had won at Brentford on Saturday but he handed Jack Harrison a very strong debut on the right flank, started Calvert-Lewin and Arnaut Danjuma in attack while resting Dwight McNeil, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Young by deploying a five-man back line with Nathan Patterson at right wing-back and Michael Keane among the centre-halves.

Villa would have the first sight of goal when Youri Tielemans flashed a half-volley just over from 20 yards out but the hosts soon found it difficult to handle the intensity from Everton.

And when a clutch of Blue shirts hassled the Villans’ defence into giving the ball away on the edge of their box and Danjuma and Calvert-Lewin kept the ball alive with headers, Amadou Onana put James Garner into space with a sumptuous reverse pass that the former Manchester United winger thumped past Robin Olsen with a fine left-foot finish.

Keane’s poor pass wasn’t punished when the resulting through-ball was too heavy for Moussa Diaby and Jarrad Branthwaite did well to mop up ahead of the Villa midfielder a few minutes later as Everton comfortably kept Emery’s outfit at bay, often keeping them hemmed into their own half for long passages of play.

The would restrict Villa to zero shots on target in the first half while dominating the chances at the other end, first when Garner’s ambitious effort that flew wide from distance and then when Danjuma fired goalwards and saw his shot deflect off Ezri Konsa to Olsen seven minutes before the break.

The Toffees could and probably should have gone into half-time two goals to the good but Villa benefitted from a huge slice of luck and then some profligate finishing from Calvert-Lewin.

In the first instance, Danjuma had pressured Konsa into giving the ball away near his own goalmouth, had his shot blocked by Pau Torres and it ended with John McGinn hacking wildly at it as it flew across the six-yard box and Olsen had to turn it onto the post.

Seconds later, brilliant work on the flank from Harrison saw him release Calvert-Lewin with a lovely defence-splitting ball but Olsen was equal to the initial shot shot from the striker who could only put the rebound from a tight angle into the side-netting.

After Everton had gone close from a corner early in the second period, Calvert-Lewin would make no mistake when handed another gilt-edge chance to extend the lead. Tielemans sold Konsa horribly short with an attempted pass in the centre-circle and Calvert-Lewin stole it, sprinting away with just the keeper to beat which he did with aplomb.

The home side were almost back in the tie straight away when Tielemans played Diaby in behind the Blues’ defence but Jordan Pickford made a smart save with his right foot to divert the shot safety while, back down the other end, Onana raked a shot just over from 25 yards and Olsen did well to parry away Calvert-Lewin’s drive after the striker had again been freed into space in Villa’s half by Danjuma.

A flurry of changes by both managers disrupted the flow of the contest somewhat and Everton began to get a little less diligent with their retention of the ball but it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that Emery’s men tried to threaten Pickford’s goal again.

Matty Cash blazed wide from wide on the Villa right but a minute later after a corner was only cleared as far as substitute Boubacary Kamara, the midfielder despatched a low shot through a forest of legs from outside the area that took a decisive knick off Keane, wrong-footing Pickford and then rolling into the net to make it 2-1.

Beto, on for Calvert-Lewin in a 72nd-minute switch, might have sealed it as he galloped forward but was eventually out-muscled by Konsa but while Villa thought they had come close to forcing penalties with a cleverly-worked free-kick in the 90th minute, Pickford was equal to Diaby’s left-foot strike and beat it away to safety.

Douglas Luiz had one last chance to level in stoppage time but hooked the ball over the bar and Everton successfully saw out the remaining couple of minutes to secure both their second away win in four days but also a place in the next round.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton returned to Villa Park but this time in the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup where Sean Dyche named a pretty strong team that included Jack Harrison for his Everton debut and they stunned Villa with 2 vital goals.

Young, Gana, Doucouré, Beto and McNeil step down to the bench, with Calvert-Lewin leading the line, supported by Danjuma.

Everton were strong from the kick-off, with Jack Harrison looking to play a significant forward role with the visitors pressing hard against the home side. It was fully 65 minutes before Villa got forward in any fashion, Branthwaite getting beaten by Diaby but Keane was there to intercept the cross and clear.

McGinn got around Patterson but Keane was again in to put the ball behind for a corner but Everton were hopeless dealing with the corner from which a Tielemans shot flashed over the bar after his first effort was blocked. Duran then attacked the Everton goal, which was saved by a deflection, with all 11 Everton players defending the corner. 

Mykolenko played a forward pass that was too pacey for Calvert-Lewin. But a Villa free-kick was played back to Olsen and Everton got forward again,  snapping relentlessly at the Villa players high in their half, forcing play back to Olsen again and again. And it paid off in spades, Oanana playing a brilliant ball through to Garner who finished superbly with an excellent left-foot strike on 15 minutes. 

Everton kept up the aggressive press after the restart, and continued to play up, on the front foot.  Calvert-Lewin almost got through on goal, but he fouled Konsa. Branthwaite was then across smartly to thwart Diaby. Another excellent high press pinned Villa back.

Patterson cleverly won Everton a corner but it was played in low and completely wasted. Bailey had gone off injured and was eventually replaced by Zaniolo.

Danjuma was next to advance for Everton but he shot too early and it was blocked. But Danjuma picked it up and out of nothing created a deflected chance for Harrison where he seemed to have an open goal but the goalie's save bounced off McGinn and onto the post and away.

Calvert-Lewin was next to get through on goal but he fired into the side netting with only the keeper to beat. Another corner was won by Everton but too easily defended away. Garner swung his boot at a dropping ball but sliced it wide.

Danjuma tried to go it alone despite support but his shot was blocked. He regained the ball in the next attack but his pullback was deflected to McGinn who shot at his own keeper and almost scored!

Duran got past the Everton defenders but lashed his shot high into the Holte End before the half-time whistle went, with Everton ahead by one goal.

There were changes at half-time and Ollie Watkins immediately got through on goal only to be flagged offside. From a Villa free-kick, the ball went back and Calvert-Lewin pounced on the loose ball, firing superbly past Olsen for Everton's second goal. 

Villa looked to respond and Calvert-Lewin made a silly mistake, letting in Watkins but Pickford made a vital save to stop Villa from scoring. 

Calvert-Lewin played a great ball through to Harrison but he was not sharp enough to take advantage. A great ball from Danjuma played in  Calvert-Lewin, but his shot on Olsen's goal was too close to Olsen who parried it back into play. 

Dwight McNeil came on for Jack Harrison after he ran out of steam a little but he had looked good in all blue. 

Branthwaite's poor pass almost put Everton under pressure but Keane was there to stem the danger.

Into the last 20 minutes and Aston Villa were determined to turn the game around. Garner was caught by a nasty foul but no yellow card. 

But from a Villa corner, Kamara's shot was deflected past Pickford to put Villa back in the game with 7 minutes of normal time left plus 5 minutes of added time.

Aston Villa threw at Everton with chance after chance, Luiz tried a bicycle kick in the Blues box, but it flew over the bar, and somehow Everton survived. 

Aston Villa:  Olsen, Cash, Konsa, Dendoncker (46' Kamara), Pau, McGinn (46' Digne), Tielemans (78' Kellyman), Luiz [Y:90+4'], Bailey (32' Zaniolo), Diaby, Duran (46'  Watkins).

Subs not Used:  Martinez, Marschall, Diego Carlos, Traore.

Everton:  Pickford, Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko (46' Young), Onana (78' Doucouré), Garner, Harrison (65' McNeil), Calvert-Lewin (72' Beto), Danjuma, (72' Gana).

Subs not Used:  Virginia, Godfrey, Dobbin, Chermiti.

Michael Kenrick

Unrenewed Swagger

So we were all set on the Tuesday, Gaz to drive, Dan and I looking forward to a few tinnies on route to Villa Park, when the WhatsApp apologetically beeped. It was Gaz.

“Really sorry, lads, I won’t be able to make the Villa game tomorrow now. Late notice I know but I’ve only just found out myself. See you Saturday.”

Come the Wednesday, Dan kindly opted to drive in the end. We set off at around 3:45 pm, and bar a couple of minor traffic patches, it was pretty plain sailing along the M6.

A few evenings earlier, I went for a late walk and bumped into a mate, Chris, who was walking his dog. He goes away every game watching Everton and tipped me off on a decent pub called The Bartons Arms. Just shy of a mile from the stadium, it was a good safe distance as in not too busy and had quite a few Evertonians in there, including Chris and the rest of his mates.

The pub does food too. Thai food at that. Having got a table upstairs, I shouted Dan and his son Alfie dinner as a thank you for driving… it’s not too often I have a Thai green curry with coconut rice as my pre-match meal. While tucking into this, we saw the team news and were surprised to see Jack Harrison beginning the game, and Sean Dyche going with three at the back. Dominic Calvert-Lewin led the line.

We walked the 20 minutes or so to beautiful Villa Park. I’ve never sat in the top tier of the North Stand before; ordinarily you are off to the side at Villa Park (or at least you definitely used to be!). It is some view from there and the 4,500 or so travelling Evertonians raucously greeted the team as they came out.

There’s something beautiful about Everton playing away all in Blue. I was made aware before kick-off about the likely poor attendance from the Aston Villa fans due to obscenely high ticket prices for a League Cup game. Swaths of empty seats made for a dull home atmosphere. The Evertonians took full advantage of that and made themselves heard loud and proud.

And with the way we played, why wouldn’t we? Everton were straight into Aston Villa and took it to them in what was a fabulous away performance. Aston Villa had one or two meek attacks near the beginning of the game but that was about it from them in what was a very poor first-half effort from the home team.

It took only 15 minutes for Everton’s superiority to be rewarded. A dreadful pass/clearance from ex-Toffee Robin Olsen bounced up off Douglas Luiz and was seized upon quickly by Arnaut Danjuma. The Dutchman, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had headed it back towards him, had the nous to head it backwards while on his backside to Amadou Onana. His through ball to James Garner was excellent, as too was James’ left-footed finish down in front of us. Delight from players and fans alike for James Garner’s first Everton goal.

Jack Harrison, who had a good, solid debut, slotted in a fine ball to Dominic, though Robin Olsen was out quick to thwart him. Unfortunately Dominic could only put the rebound into the side-netting. And John McGinn very nearly put the ball into his own net though Olsen again denied us. Really, you didn’t want the half to end.

Come the break, I was somewhat ruing our inability to punish Aston Villa while we were on top as I felt they couldn’t really play any worse in the second half…though it turns out they were equally as bad really despite their substitutions. 

Though it was only 5 minute into the second half when Dominic effectively put the game to bed. A lazy pass from Youri Tielemans I think was seized upon by Dominic. He effortlessly swept past Ezri Konsa and slotted nicely into the net beyond Olsen. It was a fantastic moment for Dominic and the travelling Toffees.

Jordan Pickford was shortly afterwards called into action when Michael Keane lost possession and Aston Villa broke. Thankfully Jordan was able to get something on Moussa Diaby’s drive and keep the ball out to protect our 2-0 advantage.

If there is any room for criticism about our performance, it would be the level we eased off when we made our substitutions. We seemed to lose our way a little though not exactly critically.

It’s hard to be too critical about the goal we conceded as it was bad luck more than anything else. This made for a nervy last 10 minutes or so, but we saw it out generally well, and when Dwight McNeil won a throw-in, and then a free-kick down the far corner of the ground, we knew we’d won, as did the Aston Villa fans who were trapsing away.

The scenes at full time were brilliant. Sheer delight for the travelling Toffees. We made our way back to the car and had a good laugh chatting away on the way home. We heard on the radio that, after six consecutive away draws in domestic cup competitions, we now finally have a home draw, and not a bad one at that too in the form of Burnley. Win that and we’re in the quarter-final. Wembley? Who knows?

We’ve more pressing matters in the league to take care of first though before we start thinking too much about that, though I for one am looking forward to marching down Goodison Road on Saturday afternoon with a smile on my face.

Up The Toffees.

Player ratings

Jordan Pickford: Didn’t have loads to do but was there when needed. Not sure why he didn’t catch that weak free-kick, but never mind! 7

Vitalii Mykolenko: Had a good first half, hopefully the injury won’t keep him out for long. 6

Jarrad Branthwaite: He did pretty well. He’s got a very calm head and makes defending look easy at times. 7

James Tarkowski: These last two games, he’s really taken on that mantle of captain. He’s doing well. 7

Michael Keane: I have to mark him down a grade because of that solitary error, though otherwise he did very well. 6

Nathan Patterson: I thought he stood up to the task of Lucas Digne in the second half very well. 7

Amadou Onana: He was excellent in the middle and seemed to enjoy working in there with James Garner. 8

James Garner: He really looks the part in the middle. He’s got tenacity, can pick a pass and, as we saw, has an eye for goal. A great effort from James. My Man of the Match. 8

Arnout Danjuma: Not great but handy at times. His ability to use both feet is quite an asset and he contributed to the goal of course. 6

Jack Harrison: A good solid debut from Jack and you expect he will only improve as he gets more involved in the team. He did very well to get 65 minutes under his belt. 7

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: Isn’t it great to see Dominic playing with a smile on his face again. He took his goal very well too. A great striker’s performance from Dominic. 8

Ashley Young (for Vitalii Mykolenko): He has shown a marked improvement these last two games in my opinion and he settled in nicely in the second half at left-wingback. He’ll have enjoyed that at his old club. 7

Dwight McNeil (for Jack Harrison): Got involved and carried on pretty much where Jack left off. A good solid effort. 7

Idrissa Gueye (for Arnout Danjuma): He got involved though was a bit haywire at times. 6

Beto (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin): Not great, but all part of the learning curve in a Premier League team. 5

Abdoulaye Doucouré (for Amadou Onana): Seemed to struggle to get into the game. 5 

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Everton are back at Villa Park, the scene of their worst result so far in 2023-24, on Wednesday evening for a third round Carabao Cup tie hoping to build on Saturday's win at Brentford.

The Blues picked up their first victory of the Premier League campaign with a handsome 3-1 win at the Gtech Community Stadium to ease the pressure on the shoulders of Sean Dyche and his players and they can travel down the M6 in greater heart than they otherwise would.

Indeed, Dyche will be impressing on his charges not only the need to atone for what was an atrocious performance against Aston Villa in August when they deservedly went down 4-0 but also that they are more than capable of getting the result that would book the Blues' passage to the fourth round for the first time since 2020 under Carlo Ancelotti.

With no new injury concerns and Jack Harrison nearing full fitness, Dyche will have the luxury of making changes to the side that started in London at the weekend if he is moved to do so, although too big a reshuffle would risk upsetting any momentum Everton might take out of the Brentford win.

Harrison has been out of action since injuring his hip in May but has been working his way back and played 45 minutes for the Under-21s against Norwich City last Friday. Whether that makes him sufficiently "Dyche fit" and therefore able to take a place in the starting XI remains to be seen but the expectation is that his name will be somewhere on the team sheet when it is revealed at 6:45pm.

Meanwhile, Dominic Calvert-Lewin came off the bench for a second successive game against the Bees and is in the frame for what would be his first start since suffering a fractured cheekbone at Villa Park five weeks ago. He will be vying with Beto for a starting role, with the Portuguese looking to add to the goal he scored on his debut in the previous round at Doncaster.

The tie may also provide an opportunity for the likes of Nathan Patterson, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Lewis Dobbin and Youssef Chermiti to get some game time and for Arnaut Danjuma to return to the team. Patterson recently lost his place to Ashley Young when he switched flanks to accommodate the return of Vitalii Mykolenko to left back but will be hoping to be named in the line-up should the veteran be rested.

Both Godfrey and Keane played the full 90 minutes of the tie at Doncaster and while Dyche may not elect to partner the pair together again, he could give at least one of them a chance alongside either James Tarkowski or Jarrad Branthwaite.

In Unai Emery, Dyche will be going up a consummate "cup manager", with the Spaniard having won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016, managed Arsenal to the final in 2019 and won the tournament again with Villarreal in 2021.

The furthest he ever got in the League Cup with the Gunners was the Quarter-Finals in 2019, however, and with Villa involved in the Europa League this season and looking to challenge for a place in the Premier League's top four, Emery might feel as though he has bigger priorities, especially as his side host Brighton in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.

That could see him make a number of changes and, potentially, open the door to Everton to take advantage, provided of course that Dyche doesn't make too many of his own.

Villa will definitely be without Emiliano Buendia, Bertrand Traore and Tyrone Mings as well as Timothy Iroegbunam and Diego Carlos.

If Everton can spring a surprise and negotiate their way into the next round, they would be one of a maximum of 10 Premier League clubs left in the competition.

Kick-off: 7:45pm, Wednesday 27 September, 2023
Last Time:  Aston Villa 1 - 0 Everton, League Cup SF (22 February, 1984)

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Onana, Garner, Danjuma, Harrison, Doucouré, Beto

Lyndon Lloyd

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