It’s only a brief one, as I’ll be on my way to the airport soon for the trip home, but I couldn’t resist spending a few minutes to post about the game.
In my opinion, we’d have easily lost this today if it were played just a couple of months back, but the fight in this side is now blatantly obvious to anyone.
I watched the game in a pub that also had the Liverpool game on, along with the commentary, so didn’t really get to appreciate the atmosphere or even any discussion.
But for me, the midfield were outstanding, with Delph, who was given a tough time by McCarthy, taking command of most that went on.
The first Villa goal was a header from Benteke after a nice ball in from Delph and when I saw it, I immediately assumed there was a foul or an offside, as it appeared the Everton defenders didn’t even challenge. It looked incredibly easy for Benteke, but that’s the sign of a top striker in form, I suppose.
We were beating Everton all over the park and it was no surprise really when Benteke stuck again.
Grealish put a lovely ball in from the corner and I think it was knocked on by Vlaar, which saw the ball land towards the back post where Benteke was unmarked to smack it home.
2-0 then at half time and I don’t think Everton had a shot on goal.
Everton upped their game somewhat after the restart, but we were still looking the better team until Everton got into the box and applied a little pressure.
Vlaar caught Naismith, but it was as soft a penalty as you’ll see, in my opinion. Certainly soft enough for a neutral in the pub to say it wasn’t a penalty.
Lukaku stopped his run-up midway (which I didn’t think was allowed anymore?) and hit a poor one that just evaded Shay Given.
2-1 and the usual worries about us being to hold out crept in, but the fears were temporarily groundless.
After a cracking (purposeful, I should add, it wasn’t a punt) long ball from Bacuna, Tom Cleverley took the ball first time and finished with a nice shot.
3-1 and surely now it was all over?
No, as the trusty Villa never fail to scare us do they?
I’m still not convinced about what happened for Everton’s second goal, but with no sound, it looked like another one where the ref had blown for something, as the away team’s attackers had already turned away from the goal. But Given inexplicably scrambled to get a ball that was heading just under the bar away and jagielka nodded in.
Someone in the pub said Given was fouled, but I don’t know. I’d have to see it again, but whatever, it just looked like a comedy of errors.
And then the final whistle went, which left me feeling mightily relieved and of course elated.
All in all, a thoroughly deserved win against a good side, that was tempered slightly by Leicester and Sunderland winning.
Still, we’re looking fairly secure now and as I suggested a while back, Newcastle are looking very dodgy.
Not that I care about them.