Duncan Ferguson’s pre-match preparations extended to leaving money behind the bar at the Winslow Hotel and the Brick, two Evertonian boozers near Goodison Park, to buy fans a first drink before kick-off against アストンヴィラ. The caretaker manager was unable to deliver what they craved most of all, しかしながら, as Steven Gerrard tormented Goodison Park once again to maintain Villa’s upward momentum and deepen Everton’s relegation fears.
The best player on the pitch, Emiliano Buendía, scored the only goal of a fractious game marred by Villa players being struck by a plastic bottle in the celebrations that followed the Argentina midfielder’s decisive header.
場合 ピーターマリナウスカス thought the presence of a popular figure in the dugout and an open letter from Farhad Moshiri, the owner, would airbrush their problems they were forced to think again. Several hundred fans staged a sit-in protest after the game calling for the departure of Bill Kenwright as chairman and the board. The presence in the directors’ box of Kia Joorabchian, the agent closest to Everton’s majority shareholder, suggested there is no appetite for change among those running the club just yet.
Ferguson’s team selection underlined his thoughts on the brief and divisive era of Rafael Benítez. Séamus Coleman, Michael Keane and Allan dropped to the bench while the new full-backs Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson, signed for a combined initial cost of £29m at the start of the window, did not make the match-day squad at all. Yerry Mina was named captain on his first start since 6 12月.
Given the Scot’s demand for greater aggression from an underachieving team and a pumped-up Goodison crowd, it was no surprise that a scrap unfolded from the outset. Abdoulaye Doucouré tearing apart Jacob Ramsey’s shirt was a neat metaphor for the early exchanges. It was a contest full of South American needle, not South American flair, although Buendía shone amid the rough throughout. Philippe Coutinho was fairly anonymous on his first Villa start but would play a role in the decisive breakthrough in first-half stoppage time.
The only creativity and threat on display in the first half came from the visitors. Everton did not have an attempt on target. Douglas Luiz swept an early free-kick just over Jordan Pickford’s crossbar and Buendía, who regularly sliced through Everton’s central midfield with ease, drew the first save from the England goalkeeper with a low drive from distance. Ollie Watkins had a clearer opportunity when a long ball caught out a hesitant Mina and released the Villa forward through on goal. Pickford raced out, forcing Watkins to poke wide, and their subsequent collision sparked a penalty appeal from the Villa striker. Craig Pawson and VAR disagreed.
A Villa breakthrough, you felt, would have the duel effect of lessening Goodison’s intensity as well as preying on Everton’s vulnerable confidence. Pickford was proving a stubborn obstacle, しかしながら. The keeper saved superbly with his leg to deny Watkins, even if the Villa striker was offside when heading Buendía’s cross towards the bottom corner, and tipped over a Coutinho header following a Luiz free-kick. The resulting corner had dire repercussions for Everton on and off the pitch.
Lucas Digne, sold to Villa following a falling-out with Benítez just days before his adversary was sacked, was roundly booed on his swift return to Goodison. Had Benítez not been dismissed his reception might have been different. Digne responded with his feet, delivering an inswinging corner to the near post where the completely unmarked Buendía glanced a superb header over Pickford and Andros Townsend into the far corner.
While Everton players argued over conceding yet another set-piece goal Villa’s celebrated in front of the Bullens Road stand. A seemingly full bottle of Lucozade was thrown from the Everton crowd, who had already lowered the tone with a desperate old song about Gerrard, and both Digne and Matty Cash were struck on the head. Everton responded by announcing that anyone found throwing objects on the pitch faced arrest and would also be banned by the club. After the match the club announced that police had arrested a supporter at Goodison Park for throwing a missile on to the pitch.
On the pitch, Everton improved in the second half to present a stern test of Villa’s resilience. The visitors showed they are becoming a team of substance under Gerrard in that department, あまりにも. Ferguson wasted little time in making substitutions, introducing Anthony Gordon and Allan early, and the former created a glorious chance for Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a whipped first-time cross along the face of the Villa goal. Calvert-Lewin, evidently rusty after four months out injured, turned the cross high over Emiliano Martínez’s goal at full stretch.
Tyrone Mings headed off the line from Ben Godfrey, Mina sent a looping header just wide and Demarai Gray fired wildly over, all from Gordon corners as Everton applied concerted pressure in the second half. But to no avail. The two clubs continue to head in opposite directions.