Aston Villa 0-0 Everton: England’s most played game ends in a limp goalless stalemate as Jack Grealish makes his comeback after months of injuries to give Gareth Southgate something to laugh about
- Aston Villa and Everton played a slack goalless stalemate in Villa Park
- Jack Grealish made his return from a shin injury by coming off the couch
- However, the skipper of Villa did not succeed in making the breakthrough on Thursday
- Tyrone Mings and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both missed good opportunities to score
Jack Grealish gave Gareth Southgate something to laugh about by making his first appearance in exactly three months in Aston Villa’s limp goalless draw with Everton.
The Villa skipper has not played since his team’s game in Brighton on February 13 due to a shin problem. But his arrival as a 72-minute replacement should – barring another setback – secure his place in Southgate’s roster for Euro 2020, even though he may not be quite fit.
However, the England manager would have been concerned if Villa defender Tyrone Mings were to receive long-term treatment in injury time with the tournament at less than a month.
Jack Grealish returned from shin injury and played in Aston Villa’s goalless draw with Everton
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
ASTON VILLA: (4-2-3-1) MARTINEZ 7; Cash 6 (Elmohamady 45 + 3, 6), So 6.5, Mings 6.5, Targett 6; McGinn 6.5Douglas Luiz 6.5; Traore 5.5 (Grealish 72, 6.5), Barkley 5 (Ramsey 65, 6), El Ghazi 5; Davis 6
SUBS NOT USED: Steer, Wesley, Nakamba, Hause, Philogene-Bidace, Chukwuemeka
BOOKINGS: Traore (43), McGinn (90)
TRAINER: Dean Smith 6
EVERTON: (4-4-1-1) Pickford 6; Holgate 6.5, Keane 6.5, Godfrey 6.5, Worthy 6.5; Coleman 6.5 (Iwobi 75, 6), Doucoure 6.5, Allan 6.5, Sigurdsson 5.5 (Andre Gomes 67, 6); Richarlison 5; Calvert-Lewin 6
SUBS NOT USED: Virgina, Olsen, Delph, King, Nkounkou, Bernard, Davies
BOOKINGS: Sigurdsson (55)
TRAINER: Carlo Ancelotti 6
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson 6
MAN OF THE MATCH: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
EVENT LOCATION: Villa Park
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Competition 1
- A competition
- The competition
“I twisted the arm of the medical staff to get out of him for a few more minutes,” Villa boss Dean Smith revealed. He immediately sparked. He won’t be ready to start at Crystal Palace on Sunday. We’ll try to get him somewhere for 90 minutes. They are small steps. ‘
Grealish’s cameo was eventful: there were the signature swings with the ball that Villa lacked in the past 12 games, as well as two scares when the 25-year-old hit the deck after hefty challenges. Fortunately for those involved, he was unharmed both times.
Before replacing Bertrand Traore, Grealish’s juggling tricks during halftime had been the most entertaining aspect of a terrible game, with Villa missing the offensive energy of the suspended Ollie Watkins. Everton is now eight points behind in the top four with three games to go.
‘We have three games [to try to qualify for Europe], we are still fighting, ” said manager Carlo Ancelotti. ‘We have to try to win the last three games. I think we need nine points. ‘
Mings had a great opportunity to break the deadlock in the first half, but missed from close range
Emiliano Martinez (right) had to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin a late winner at Villa Park
Mings missed Villa’s best chance when he headed wide from six meters in the 17th minute, and Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made good saves to Ben Godfrey and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Those stops saw the Argentinian, who was signed from Arsenal last summer, equaled Villa’s Premier League record – held by Brad Friedel – of 15 clean sheets in a season.
In a game postponed earlier in the season due to Covid, Villa sought their first league double at Everton since 2000-01 following their win at Goodison Park on May 1.
The unmarked Mings somehow sent Douglas Luiz to the wrong side of the front post.
After half time, Martinez blocked Godfrey’s far post volley and made an even better stop to parry Calvert-Lewin’s header in the 87th minute.
Moments later, Mings collided with Martinez after knocking out Richarlison’s cross and in some pain, recovering briefly to head the resulting throw-in clear before bouncing away full-time.
Grealish came off the bench in the 70th minute and made a good impression on the hosts
Andre Gomes (left) had two good chances for the Toffees but missed the calm
SCROLL DOWN TO LIVE THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED AT VILLA PARK
Aston Villa welcomes Everton to Villa Park for this early Premier League kick-off.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees squad is still in the mix to finish in the European places, holding matches of several teams occupying the places above. A win for Everton would temporarily put them above rival Liverpool, which will face Manchester United at Old Trafford later in the evening.
Meanwhile, Villa fans are hoping for the return of their skipper Jack Grealish, who has spent months on the sidelines recovering from a shin injury he sustained in February.
Follow Sportsmail’s Sam McEvoy for all live coverage of this 6pm kick-off, including all the lead-up to the game at Villa Park.