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Villa burst the Toffee men’s balloon!


John
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What a sad and long journey back to the pleasantries of Liverpool this must have been for those Evertonian’s no wonder so many of them decided to set off early!

Gabby earned a yellow card today for his goal celebrations in front of The Holte End. If players were booked for this back when Andy Gray was doing the same in the 70s he would have spent most of his time suspended. Haven’t referees got better things to be doing these days and is it not time that players were allowed to celebrate scoring goals in front of their own fans, as this is punished where the hand to the ear of players who score in front of opposition fans is not?

Perhaps this was not quite as impressive a performance as was our thrilling defeat of Chelsea three weeks ago but this was a big improvement on our display at Manchester City last week. I think most of us would have been happy with 6 points from 9 from these three games and 2 wins brings more points than 3 draws. So although we might lose the odd game that we drew last season if we convert more of last season’s draws into wins then we should end the season in the top half and that would be the sort of improvement we should realistically be looking for this season.

Everton are a tight ship and won’t concede two or more goals too often this season. They would have been happy with a point today but once we scored they looked to be out of ideas and Gabby’s well taken second finished the game as a contest. This fixture is the most played in the top division and after today’s win we have won 70 times as have Everton, we have scored 284 goals as have they. But, where they had mostly looked to be the side on the up in recent seasons and we had seemed to be treading water at best we are now looking to challenge for their European place next season and to overtake them in the way the likes of Chelsea have us in the past and it might just have started today when we leapt above them in the league with what ended up a comfortable enough win.

Going to Villa Park is fast becoming something to look forward to once again. Where we were going to games in the past because that’s just what we do, we are now beginning to look forward to games with a passion that has not been seen at Villa Park for many a year. This really is the green shoots of recovery folks! We are playing it tight at the back, we are solid in the middle and we are creating chances. Villa Park is fast becoming a ground that other teams will see as a fortress and that we will walk away from with smiles on our faces after 90 minutes more often than not!

My player ratings from a game that took us back into the top half of the table and back above the team from the dark side of the city are:

Scott Carson - 7 – Got down well to prevent a late consolation goal on 89 minutes and when tested looked very solid.

Olof Mellberg – 7 – I know he’s probably not, but his performance today suggested he was beginning to enjoy his new role or is it the glimpses of the bright future at the club he has graced over the years and the opportunity to play any part in this that is enthusing him? He even found the time to have a crack at goal that went wide on 58 minutes.

Zat Knight – 7 – Literally dwarfed that blue nose Johnson who got no change from either of our central defenders today. The fact that he’s keeping out a player like Curtis Davies says it all and it proves that if you continue to do the business Martin will keep playing you.

Martin Laursen – 8 – Won everything in the air as he always does and has become an impenetrable wall for opposition strikers. Well worth another contract!

Wilfred Bouma – 7 – Solid and is an increasingly important cog in our defensive machine.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – Got on the end of a through ball and applied a sweet instinctive finish to claim all 3 points on 62 minutes, more involved than of late and enjoyed performing in the centre in the second half.

Gareth Barry – 9 – MOTM – We always knew he was an England player and now everyone else has joined his fan club his confidence has risen to the extent that we now have a Gerrard like midfield general. He was immense today.

Nigel Reo-Coker – 7 – Played the holding role today and his industrious efforts did much to counter what is a strong Everton midfield and to help us to a well deserved win.

Ashley Young – 7 – More effective in the second half when he got used to the weight of numbers that Everton were putting in front of him. Loves to take on players and hits a nice cross as he demonstrated with a superb run and cross on 72 minutes that Luke was not able to reach to get the touch that was needed to make it three.

Luke Moore – 6 –Replaced by Marlon on 80 minutes and I think he needs to realise that he has to show more of what we know he is capable of to hold onto his place.

John Carew – 7 – He does score goals after all then! Big John applied a super finish to beat their keeper on 13 minutes and scored the all important first goal today. John is a great target man who will in a full season get 10 – 15 goals and who through his hard work makes opportunities for others who may be more prolific but who need the service that he provides to show it. John needed this goal and I hope that the injury that led to a 53rd minute substitution does not keep him out for too long as we would miss what he gives us more than many might suspect.

Substitutes:

Craig Gardner - 6 - Replaced Big John with more than half an hour left. Did a reasonable job and will be looking forward to the opportunity that a cup game at home to Leicester should provide for a full 90 minute outing in our midfield.

Marlon Harewood – 6 – Did well to get his head to a Young cross on 89 minutes but was wide with his effort. Must have been disappointed to not get the call when Big John came off and let’s hope he has 90 minutes to show Martin that he can fill in for the big man.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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What a sad and long journey back to the pleasantries of Liverpool this must have been for those Evertonian’s no wonder so many of them decided to set off early!

trust me there was one car on the way back to scouseland that had a very happy driver - my four passengers however were sick as the proverbial parrots :mrgreen:

Good report John too

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