13/05/2021 6:00 pm
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Just what everyone needs at 6pm on a Thursday – Aston Villa vs Everton.
Following our hugely frustrating defeat to Manchester United in our last game, Villa now complete our almost doubleheader against Everton and with only four game remaining in the 2020/21 campaign, everyone was hoping for a three point return so we could end the year on a high.
With Ollie Watkins ridiculously suspended for this one, Keinan Davis was given his big chance up front and we even saw Jack Grealish finally return to the bench.
I missed the first half, but from what I could gather Tyrone Mings had a cracking chance but we wasted it, and although it was a bright 20 minutes, the first period ended with us slightly on top, albeit not exactly great. We did lose Matty Cash to what looked like a hamstring injury though and we could’ve definitely done without that.
0-0 at the break, bad half or good?
As we went into the final half hour at least we could laugh at our corners and Bertie Traore wasn’t the only one who was entertaining for all the wrong reasons again. Dean Smith rolled a dice and on 65 minutes we saw Jacob Ramsey replace Ross Barkley.
Eight minutes later it was time for the change we all wanted to see, Grealish returned to the pitch with Bertie going off, so it was set to be an interesting final 18 minutes.
The game definitely livened up and we looked a lot brighter (but that wasn’t saying much), but the game was open and Everton looked as likely to nick it as we did.
It was almost a very dicey end as a mistimed 50/50 from Mings saw VAR check for a red card, but blimey, we got a decision!
Then a terrific piece of defending by Mings saw him collide with Emi and most were wondering if we’d be down to nine men, having used all our substitutes. Both soldiered on though.
0-0 at the final whistle, and probably all either side deserved on that showing.
But on a day where Martinez made a couple of great saves, he personally celebrates the night having achieved his 15 clean sheets for a season and matched Brad Friedel’s record from all those years ago.