Everton win two games on the bounce for the first time in a year as Sean Dyche and Company advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
Everton travelled to Villa Park for a third round tie with Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, a draw that was met with trepidation to say the least by the toffee supporters. However, after a dominant 1-3 win at Brentford at the weekend, nearly 5,000 traveling Evertonians made their way to Villa Park with a renewed sense of optimism. Villa had won 10 in a row at home, but that did not stop Dyche from naming an optimistic side despite there being 5 defenders in the side. A much changed side from the 4-0 loss in the league earlier in the season, largely due to the wealth of options available to him. Danjuma and Jack Harrison made their way into the starting eleven, for Harrison’s first start as a toffee. James Garner partnered with Amadou Onana in a new look midfield, in front of a back 5 of Mykolenko, Keane, Tarkowski, Branthwaite and Patterson, with Pickford in goal and DCL leading the line up top.
Everton opened up the match in a solid defensive shape, making their gameplay clear that they would be waiting for the home side to take the match to them. Emery’s men were largely unable to, thanks in part to a staunch backline and an organized midfield. Then, Everton struck in the 15th minute to open the scoring at Villa park. Amadou Onana got onto the ball and played a tantalizing through ball to James Garner between the lines, and the former Manchester United man made no mistake in leathering the ball past Olsen at his near post to put the toffees up 0-1 and send the traveling supporters into raptures.
Everton continued to make life hard for Villa, who lost Leon Bailey in the 31st minute due to injury. Tails up from the visitors, Everton nearly got a second in the 39th minute as Konsa made one of several errors on the day, losing the ball in the box. John McGinn sliced a clearance that ended up crashing off his own post. 2 minutes later, it was nearly two again as Jack Harrison controlled well from a cleared corner. He breezed past John McGinn before slipping DCL in on goal who could only sting the palms of Olsen in goal before firing the rebounded effort into the side netting. Everton would go into the half with a 0-1 lead that perhaps could have been more on the run of play.
Dyche made a change to start the second half to counter Villa’s 3, bringing on Ashley Young to replace Vitalii Mykolenko. However, despite the Villa changes, it only took the visitors 5 minutes to double their lead in well deserved fashion. Another brutal error from the Villa backline saw Calvert-Lewin pounce on the ball at midfield. He raced through on goal and finished with aplomb past Olsen to put Everton 0-2 up.
Spirit of the Blues rang out from the away section, droning out the small contingent of Villa fans at Villa Park on the day. Everton would stay in control and make a second change in the 65th minute, bringing on Dwight McNeil for Jack Harrison, who had a bright full Everton debut. Seven minutes later Dyche would make a double change, as Beto and Idrissa Gueye came on for DCL and Danjuma.
Unfortunately, Everton would lose their clean sheet in the 83rd minute off an unfortunate deflection. Boubacar Samara would find himself on the edge of the box, and fired a hit and hope missile towards goal that took an unlucky deflection off Michael Keane’s shin making it 1-2. This would lead to a grandstand last 10 minutes, as Everton pinned themselves deep and dared Villa to find the opening. Fortunately, the visitors stood tall and walked out of Villa Park deserving 1-2 winners putting themselves into the hat for the fourth round of the cup.
One word reaction to the match? Brilliant. Especially from James Garner and Onana in midfield, who absolutely ran the show while the two were on the pitch together. Harrison and Danjuma were bright in their roles on the wing, and Calvert-Lewin continues to look like he is getting back to his old self, looking threatening the whole match and scoring a ravishingly clinical goal. Dyche will be slightly disappointed by the subs, who seemed to lose control of the match a little when they were introduced. However, Pickford and the backline were brilliant as well, and Everton will take that result any day of the week.
The next match for Everton is Luton at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon, with the fourth round cup tie against Burnley commencing the week of October 30th.