Its fair to state that the Villans’ dismal display away to Everton on Saturday was one of the worst performances of the season, and, following an encouraging start to the season, fans are once again dreading the worst after another lacklustre performance in front of goal.
Goodison Park was always going to be a tough place to pick up three points, even on the best of days, but especially on a day when the Toffees were out to prove a point to their home fans. After failing to win in their last five League and Cup games, the pressure really was on Roberto Martinez’s men to put on a show in front of the Goodison faithful and bring home three points.
Villa fans made the trip up to Merseyside with mixed emotions: after enjoying a great start to the season, losses to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City burst our bubble. However, knowing Everton is a hard team to beat at home, Villa fans just wanted to see our team have a go at Everton and show that Villa has a team that won’t be rolled over easily. We were encouraged when Villa fans saw Benteke’s name in the starting line-up, which led to echoes of ‘Ooooh, Christian Benteke’ that silenced the home fans.
It is understandable that Villa fans were in dreamland when Benteke was named in the starting XI: poor performances in front of goal all season led to the boys in claret and blue scoring only four goals in seven games. Benteke brought with him a real goal threat and would intimidate Everton’s defenders – or so we thought.
The excitement didn’t last long, however: Jagielka’s header crept in after eighteen minutes, followed by Guzan, who should have done better, spilling a Romelu Lukaku shot in the forty-eighth minute, resulting in him picking the ball out of the net. Seamus Coleman made the score 3-0 with fourteen minutes left in the game.
I know Villa fans were expecting a hard game at Goodison Park but the Villa boys made things so much harder for themselves. None of the players wanted to be on the pitch, with the exception of Cleverley, Huttton and Joe Cole when he made his first competitive appearance for Villa by coming off the bench. No-one in our team had the desire to close the Everton players down quickly enough. To add insult to injury, our attacking play at times was awful: Cissokho couldn’t cross a decent ball in to save his life, N’Zogbia lacked the pace and skill that we have become accustomed to from him while Benteke didn’t prove his worth in the squad. I know it was Benteke’s full comeback from injury but he looked off the pace. I think he will improve and it really is a case of the sooner, the better.
The statistics don’t lie: two shots on target all game just isn’t good enough. That’s our problem and it’s therefore clear why the Villans have only scored four goals in eight games. The Saints doubled our goal tally in one game yesterday!
All Villa fans can do is support our team in the next game and hope for a better performance than the one we saw on Saturday. An away trip to Loftus Road is next up for the Villans and I believe it is a must win game. The players need to show the fans a different Villa side than the one that lost to Everton if they are to get fans back on the team’s side. I know we will all be hoping for a better attacking performance as well; it says something when Alan Hutton was our biggest threat on the counter!