Friday 23 June 2017

Woeful Villa face long road back to avoid crash landing

Everton 4-0 Aston Villa

Football - Everton v Aston Villa - Barclays Premier League - Goodison Park - 21/11/15
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde before the game
Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff
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Football - Everton v Aston Villa - Barclays Premier League - Goodison Park - 21/11/15 Aston Villa manager Remi Garde before the game Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Si Hughes

Everton did not need to move up from gear one to cream an Aston Villa team with so many manufacturing faults it feels inevitable their season will career off the road and conclude in a remote ditch.

Villa's previous relegation escapes have been possible because of Christian Benteke's goals. It seems no one is capable of saving them now.

In replacing Benteke with Jordan Ayew, they have traded an armour-plated people carrier for a standard Punto.

There is decent acceleration but when faced with obstacles, in this case opponents, the steering becomes heavy, causing moves of any promise to terminate.

If only Villa could claim a product recall on the grounds of safety: sending back other expensive wagons like Idrissa Gueye - who was substituted at half-time here; and Jordan Veretout, who jogged about without displaying any conviction that he appreciated what his responsibilities were.

Shambles

Then there was Kieran Richardson - a more familiar face - plodding at left-back. He possessed both a new haircut and manner, which suggested this game had interrupted a gap year.

What a shambles they are.

At least Rémi Garde appears to have diagnosed one of their clearest problems: that the players brought to the club last summer above the head of his predecessor, Tim Sherwood, quickly need to come to terms with the "physicality" of the Premier League.

Compare Everton's midfield to Villa's: three strong men in Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and Ross Barkley against figures that reduced to mince.

Gueye, Veretout and Ashley Westwood were neither able to protect a defence that always looks like conceding nor help an attack that does not persuade it can score.

If Villa are to survive, Garde will have to create history. No team have ever stayed up having accumulated - like Villa - five points or fewer after 13 games.

Queens Park Rangers were the last to be sucked down this way three seasons back and, before that, there was Sunderland a decade ago.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice for Everton and so did Barkley but Gerard Deulofeu was the standout individual, offering the level of performance that could cause Barcelona to consider exercising their option of re-signing him next summer for £6.3m in a buy-back clause agreed between the clubs.

Telegraph.co.uk

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