Villa draw at Everton and Dave Woodhall watches.
Drawing against a team who were only kept out of the relegation zone on goal difference might appear to be a poor result for but Everton are in reality a mid-table side. The reason they’re down there in trouble is due to the ten point deduction they received for breaking FFP rules and it’s the threat of a similar problem that means Villa are having to talk about selling players during the transfer window rather than buying whoever they like in order to boost the chances of a top four finish. Villa are, like Everton, the sort of club the football authorities would choose to punish – big enough to be noticed, not so big as to cause too many problems. Being charged with breaching FFP even once is a serious matter. Much more serious than, say, breaching it 115 times.
And so Villa went to Goodison Park with a chance of drawing level on points with Liverpool but without Jacob Ramsey and Pau Torres, both injured, although Youri Tielemans was back on the bench. Ezri Konsa was again chosen to play right-back, which means that Unai Emery really doesn’t rate Matty Cash as well as Villa having their fourth- and fifth-choice central defenders playing together, which is something that other clubs who complain about injuries might bear in mind.
Villa should have opened the scoring when Alex Moreno hit a 25 yard shot into the back of the net from yet another well-worked corner routine. Leon Bailey out on the wing had a couple of his toes stray offside so after a lengthy summit meeting the goal was disallowed. Some things in a match report could just be cut and pasted from the last one and here’s another – if it takes so long to judge, why bother? After that latest episode of the long-running farce that is VAR, Bailey’s shot was well-saved at one end while Emiliano Martinez did even better at the other, which is something else that could be repeated regularly.
Moussa Diaby had a penalty shout turned down in the second half and as the referee’s performance, which had started badly, got gradually worse Ollie Watkins was one of four Villa players booked, for what seemed to be winning a header clearly. Cash came on and the balance of the team seemed to improve, with Jhon Duran just unable to turn his late cross the right side of the post. Apart from that the game was winding down and a goalless draw was about right. Villa had most of the play although they didn’t create many clear chances and it was only in the last ten minutes that the difference in the league table was apparent.
You could say that this was two points dropped, or that Villa are starting to look out on their feet and you’d probably be right. They could certainly do with the break that’s coming up as well as a couple of additions to the squad, although that’s easier said than done. Perhaps if we buy 115 we could get away with it.