Aston Villa put forth another uninspired home performance, and stretched their goalless streak to 285 minutes in an 0-2 defeat to Everton today. And you know what? It felt a lot like the same-old-same-old. Villa had a number of chances, but they couldn't make anything of them, and they conceded on some exceptionally stupid plays. The thing worth keeping in mind, though, is that Everton are a very strong team this year, and three points was always going to be tough. But asking for one isn't too much, is it?
Paul Lambert put out an interesting lineup, with four players who are generally used as strikers, two midfielders, and a standard back line. As you'd expect, Villa came out aggressively, and it looked to have paid off, when Christian Benteke earned a penalty before 10 minutes were up. But he stepped up to the line, struck the ball quite well, and had it parried away by Tim Howard, who was at the top of his game all day. It turns out that Villa would rue the missed opportunity, as well as several others that Howard did well to turn aside in the first half. Brad Guzan, too, was on fire as the two USMNT goalkeepers looked to prove their mettle.
In totally unshocking news, Antonio Luna got himself hurt badly enough in the first 45 to have to come off before the half was up. It wouldn't be a Villa match without a first half injury substitution to the back line.
The second half kicked off with the two teams goalless, and the back-and-forth nature of the match continued. But eventually, it all had to end poorly. Any match where Villa have the better of things for a while and can't capitalize is one in which the fans dread the inevitable. Romelu Lukaku kicked off the scoring when the back line totally left him clear. A few minutes later, Everton got a corner which they took short and passed around inside the box for a bit. Then Leon Osman made himself clear on the edge, got the ball, and secured the three points by making it 0-2.
The good news for Villa is that the schedule is getting a bit easier, and that they play their next match away. The bad news for Villa is that they've only gotten 10 points from a possible 27. This seemed like a great team today if you didn't need finishing. Unfortunately, that's not how football is played, so instead they looked pretty dismal.
Things will get better, that much is certain. But boy, these past two weekends have made watching this team tough.