Everton frustrated once again by lack of finishing touch in 0-2 loss at Goodison Park.
Following a crucial 1-0 win over Leeds United, Everton once again found themselves at Goodison Park in a crucial match against Aston Villa on Saturday, as every match the rest of the way will prove to be. Sean Dyche named an unchanged side from the win that saw Seamus Coleman score the match winning goal, with Calvert-Lewin, James Garner and Nathan Patterson not yet fit to return.
The first ten minutes saw chances for both sides, as Iwobi nearly scored in the 8th minute from a cross from McNeil followed by a save from Pickford to deny a good chance for Villa’s Ollie Watkins. Later on in the half Everton’s fight continued to show, as Maupay nearly scored from a cross from Iwobi in the 29th minute, with Onana nearly scoring with a great header 5 minutes later being denied by Eli Martinez in goal. McNeil showed his quality once again right on the stroke of halftime, making a great run into the box and finding Neal Maupay, who despite having an ample amount of time, could only curl his effort from the center of the box right into the gloves of Martinez.
The second half began with Dyche’s men once again on the front foot with the blues nearly scoring in the 54th minute. McNeil whipped in a free kick that pinballed around the box before finding Maupay in the box, he couldn’t get enough on his effort however and it was cleared off the line by the visitors. Five minutes later, Pickford made what was perhaps one of the saves of the season, stretching to deny a Watkins header that took a high bounce and looked as if it was going in.
Unfortunately, in the 62nd minute, the referee would award a penalty after Idriss Gueye brought down John McGinn in the box. Ollie Watkins would step up to crush home supporters’ hearts and put Villa in the lead 0-1. The goal was a crushing blow for Everton after controlling the match but not having the quality to find the back of the net. The match turned sharply in Villa’s favor after the goal, despite the introduction of Demari Gray and Ellis Simms, and the visitors would strike again in the 81st minute.
Substitute Emi Buendia showed good skill to skip around Conor Coady before firing a fizzing strike past Pickford at his near post to put the match to bed. The toffees were unable to find a bite back and would fall desperately, 0-2, to Aston Villa in the 24th game of the season.
Despite some of the better play we have seen from Dwight McNeil this season, Everton’s lack of goal scoring threat once again reared its ugly head. Despite McNeil putting the ball into good areas on several occasions, Maupay, Iwobi and others were unable to find a goal. The hosts controlled the match for a vast majority, yet could not find a goal or keep Villa out. A 50/50 penalty swung the game in Villa’s favor, and Dyche’s men were unable to recover. The blues now face a harrowing trip to Arsenal at the midweek and another pivotal home match on Saturday against Brentford. Dyche’s men will have to find goals.