Villa climb up to 14th in the table with a crucial 3-2 win over Everton and they seem to play in a way that signals their intent on picking up quite a few more points between now and the end of the season. While Everton seem like they are very much at peace at the midtable on 44 points in 11th place.
The game exuded a pulsating control as the encounter swept from one from end to another, but you always felt that Villa had an element of control and could’ve scored more if they had needed to. Tim Sherwood will be unhappy at the relatively soft nature of both of Everton’s goals and the fact that they both came from set pieces.
Everton really paid the price for a dismal first half display which ultimately gave them far too much to do. Roberto Martinez will take some positives from the second half performance but in truth the final score of 3-2 massively flatters the Toffees. They were second best for much of this contest and Aston Villa fully deserve their victory. If Lukaku and co. had some as much intent in the early stages as they did towards the end of this match then it could have been a different story.
Christian Benteke’s effort continued to haul Aston Villa closer to Premier League safety, scoring a crucial brace in his side’s 3-2 victory over Everton at Villa Park.
The Belgian has been revitalised following Tim Sherwood’s arrival in February, and was at the double before the break to help move Villa into 14th.
Benteke scored at either end of the first half to earn the FA Cup finalists a two-goal lead that their dominance deserved.
Roberto Martinez’s Everton lacklustre prior to the break were afforded a way back into the game when Romelu Lukaku joined his compatriot on the scoresheet with a penalty before the hour mark.
However, Tom Cleverley scored for a second week running just five minutes later to further bolster Villa’s survival hopes and leave Martinez scratching his head.
Everton, so positive in their 3-0 win over Manchester United last time out, were undone by a confident Villa side despite a scrappy late header from Phil Jagielka.
Both sides started relatively slowly despite promising recent form, but Benteke glanced an early header wide before going one better soon after.
The decision to sack Paul Lambert and replace him with Tim Sherwood has been completely vindicated as the three points has been bagged and confirmation for next season top flight game assured.
On the positive side for Villa, the lack of form of Sunderland and Newcastle United, who are absolutely sinking like a stone at the moment, should be a major source of encouragement for the Midlanders. That said this match is must-not-lose rather than must-win for the Lions. Aside from the confidence that has been injected by Tim Sherwood the most significant turnaround has been that fact that the previously goal shy Aston Villa are now finding the back of the net on a regular basis.
As for Everton they come into this match on the back of an outstanding result and performance against Manchester United last Sunday, running out comfortable 3-0 winners. It should therefore come as no surprise that Roberto Martinez names an unchanged side. The Toffees are finishing the season in excellent fashion which will be a source of frustration and optimism for Evertonians after an incosistent campaign.
Aston Villa may have an FA Cup final to look forward to at the end of the month but it is all about Premier League survival this afternoon.