It wasn’t good at Goodison…

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Another week has passed and, unfortunately, it meant another loss for the Villans. Everton versus Aston Villa is the ‘most played fixture’ in the top flight of football, as both teams have now faced each other a total of two-hundred and one times.

The game resulted in an 4-0 win for the Toffees and, worryingly, they could have scored more.

Let’s have a look at what we’ve learnt from our trip to Goodison Park.

Everton were good and we were poor

Let’s make no mistake about this: our opponents were great on Saturday. I think they probably would’ve given any other team in the league a good game; they would probably have beaten any team outside of the top six and probably would have done some damage to the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and, as much it shocks me to say this, Leicester City.

They played with cohesion, fluidity and speed – exactly the things we as Villa fans can only dream of at this point. On the day, everything went for them while we just let it happen.

As good as the opposition was, we were extremely poor. Looking back at the game, we were only good for about fifteen minutes: once the hosts split us open for their first goal, they didn’t look back.

Carlos Sánchez has to start in the central defensive role

When I saw the line-up before kick-off, I wondered why Sánchez wasn’t starting. His display against City two weeks ago warranted a start at Goodison. His role in front of the defence will be pivotal if we are to gain any sort of momentum and climb up that ladder, in my opinion. In today’s world, with most teams playing with a number ten, you need a player like Sánchez to man mark his opponent and minimise the threat.

It then dawned on me that he was one of the players who had been away on international duty. Travelling to South America and back will definitely take its toll on anyone so we had to accept it. The time difference, the weather and fatigue will all add up in the end and that’s why he didn’t start, which was fair enough. Seeing Westwood, Gana and Veretout starting was worrying as there was no designated ‘holding defensive’ midfielder to combat Everton’s midfield, which I believe is where the team’s strength lies. People who say Ashley Westwood is a defensive midfielder are mistaken. He’s more of deep-lying midfielder but that’s a topic for another day.

Something needs to be done about Kieran Richardson

One thing became apparent this weekend: Kieran Richardson isn’t a good enough left back any more. He doesn’t seem to have the passion required for a relegation battle. Now that one of our brightest prospects, the dynamic left back Jordan Amavi, is out for the rest season, Richardson is our only viable left back.

He was completely destroyed by Deulofeu down Villa’s left-hand side and all of Everton’s goals came down his side. It can be argued that Jack Grealish didn’t provide much support to Richardson but, even in situations in which he was beaten by a bit of class, he didn’t exactly bust a gut to come back and atone for the error. At times, he was more concerned with kicking the former Barcelona youngster than he was with actively seeking the best way to tackle him.

Now that Martinez’s men have shown how to get at Villa down the left side, you can bet that more and more teams will now put plans in place to attack wherever Kieran Richardson will play. People were appalled by his performance. I can totally understand why: he was terrible on Saturday. With rumours of Garde looking into the possibility of bringing Aly Cissokho, who was exiled by Tim Sherwood, back from Porto, I feel he would be an upgrade on the poor Kieran Richardson. Defensively sound, he is the left hand side equivalent to Alan Hutton – good in defence and not too bad going forward.

Players who claim they bleed ‘claret and blue’ have to show up

Gabby Agbonlahor, Jack Grealish and Gary Gardner are three players in the current set-up who claim they love Aston Villa. The latter two were Aston Villa fans since they were toddlers. Although ‘Mr. Aston Villa’, Gabby Agbonlahor, claims he was too, there were rumours of him being an Arsenal fan when he was young. Nevertheless, these three players have to stand up and be counted. They need to let the other players know why they can’t let this historic club drop down to the Championship and show the passion and desire needed to keep this club up so it can begin a new era.

Even though he’s been below par for the last couple of seasons now, Agbonlahor was good enough at times to get Villa out of trouble with a couple of good games a season. Unfortunately, the number of times he performs well dwindles every year. He needs to realise that no-one will offer him what he gets at Aston Villa and if the Villans go down, who knows what the future holds for him? Despite Jack Grealish’s youth, he needs to realise that to become a stand-out name in football he has to be preparedto make a monumental effort. Mourinho pushed Eden Hazard to become more involved during games by running the opposition down and also putting in a defensive shift to help his team-mates. Last year his name was being mentioned with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. A player could have all the talent in the world but, without the application to match it, he won’t get anywhere fast.

Let’s hope we can still turn this around. UTV!

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