Emiliano Martinez has matched Brad Friedel’s clean sheet record tonight, as Aston Villa picked up a goalless draw against Everton.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa hosted Everton this evening, for their second bout against the side in two weeks – as captain Jack Grealish returned to the matchday squad for the first time in over 12 weeks.
Dean Smith’s side enjoyed a bright start to the game, forcing a corner out of Seamus Coleman within the first minute and enjoying attacking output in the opening five. The side looked confident, despite their 3-1 loss to Manchester United last weekend.
Tyrone Mings came close at the end of a cross from Douglas Luiz, producing a diving header to connect with the ball in the 17th minute. His attempt was inches wide.
Both teams showcased their attacking intent in the following fifteen minutes, but neither side looked like they were going to truly test their opposition goalkeeper.
Bertrand Traore was booked three minutes before time as he weaved through three Everton defenders before diving to the floor. The second simulation booking in a matter of days for Aston Villa.
On the brink of half time, Ahmed Elmohamady replaced Matty Cash as the defender seemingly tweaked his hamstring and could no longer continue.
The half ended with both sides level.
1st half XG: Aston Villa (0.25 xG) – (0.17 xG) Everton
Both sides returned to the field in the second half with no changes. Aston Villa had obviously replaced Matty Cash in the dying embers of the first half.
Ben Godfrey forced Emi Martinez into a reaction save at the near post in the 50th minute, but the ‘keeper was alert to the movement of the defender.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was booked in the 55th as he pulled Douglas Luiz back as the Brazilian looked to start a counter-attack.
In the 64th minute, Jacob Ramsey replaced Ross Barkley after the on-loan midfielder put in a sub-par performance for much of the game. Seven minutes later, and Jack Grealish returned the to field as he replaced Bertrand Traore.
Four minutes before time and equalling Brad Friedel’s clean sheet record, Emiliano Martinez was forced into another excellent save to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the far post, using his torso to block the headed attempt.
There was a VAR check for serious foul play against Tyrone Mings just two minutes later, but he remained on the pitch afterwards.
John McGinn was booked for a pull-back in the 89th minute on Andre Gomes.
In injury time, Tyrone Mings made a heroic block to deny a chance for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and clashed with Emiliano Martinez in doing so, leaving both players on the floor hurt. Martinez managed too be back on his feet relatively quickly, but the defender required long treatment. With Aston Villa having used all their subs, Mings was forced to continue in pain for the final few minutes.
A point earned for Villa.