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Villa Park
Saturday, 26 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT

Everton have doubts over James McFadden and Duncan Ferguson while James Beattie is still suspended.

But Tim Cahill is back from a one-match ban to boost manager David Moyes.

Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell returns to the squad after breaking his ankle in mid-October and is set for a place on the bench.

Thomas Hitzlsperger is pushing for a start but Martin Laursen's (knee) hopes of a return ended with the postponement of a midweek reserve team fixture.


Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, de la Cruz, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Solano, Hendrie, Djemba-Djemba, Barry, L Moore, Angel, Postma, Hitzlsperger, Vassell, Laursen, Berson, Davis.

Everton (from): Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Yobo, Pistone, Naysmith, Kilbane, Cahill, Arteta, Osman, Carsley, Bent, Wright, Ferguson, McFadden, Gerrard, Plessis, Vaughan.

4,325 Posts
Gooooal by Osman in the 17th to give Everton a 1-0 lead. Everton seem to hane come out with vigour to take the game to Villa. Yet one hopes they don't pull a Southampton and relax on the pressure.

4,325 Posts
One will have to say Cahill has to be one of the best signing for Everton in decades. He also has to be the best impact signing of any EPL club this season.

Everton Carve through Villa
ASTON VILLA v EVERTON, 1-3 Sat 26 Feb 2005
Tim Cahill inspired Everton to their first win at Villa Park in 18 years as David Moyes' side tightened their grip on a Champions League spot.
The Australian international scored once himself and set up two goals for Leon Osman as Everton took full advantage of Liverpool’s absence from Barclays Premiership duty.

They are now eight points clear in fourth spot of their Merseyside rivals after a sixth away win of the campaign.

The last time Everton triumphed on this ground in April 1987 - via a Kevin Sheedy goal - they went onto clinch their last league title the following month.

Such honours may be beyond them this time but the massive financial rewards of the Champions League are now within their grasp.

Everton have sometimes been accused of grinding out results this season and the determination of the likes of Lee Carsley and Mikel Arteta was in evidence as the visitors won most of the second ball.

But there was also a fluency about their performance as they sliced through the shaky Aston Villa rearguard almost at will.

Villa will be able to take few pluses from this showing and January signing Eric Djemba-Djemba looked off the pace.

But there was at least the return to action after a four-month absence with a broken ankle of Darius Vassell.

Villa desperately need him and Juan Pablo Angel to reignite their forward partnership as quickly as possible with Luke Moore struggling to make an impact.

Villa made a bright start and Thomas Hitzlsperger quickly made his presence felt on his recall with a slide-rule pass into the path of Gareth Barry and it needed a well-timed tackle by Joseph Yobo to halt the midfielder as he prepared to shoot.

But Everton were soon bossing the game and Cahill made a penetrating run before releasing Marcus Bent whose shot was blocked by alert Villa skipper Olof Mellberg at the expense of a corner.

After 17 minutes Osman put Everton ahead with his sixth goal of the campaign with Cahill the creator.

The Australian’s curling cross from the left flank evaded the lunge of Bent but Osman was alert behind him at the far post to head home.

Everton were now dominating proceedings and Bent was not far off target with a rising drive from the edge of the area after running onto a pass from Arteta.

Thomas Sorensen went down to his right to cling onto a low long-range drive from Alessandro Pistone and Villa looked half asleep.

But after 29 minutes the woodwork came to the rescue of the Merseysiders after a foul on Djemba-Djemba by Cahill.

Solano arrowed a curling and dipping free-kick across the Everton box and Nigel Martyn was well beaten as the ball clipped the far post.

Villa looked so jittery whenever Everton ventured forward and Djemba-Djemba was yellow-carded after 34 minutes for a crude challenge on Arteta.

Cahill should have done better when he shot high and wide after breaking clear on the left of the Villa area.

The game exploded into action with two goals in the opening three minutes of the second period.

Villa were back on level terms within 60 seconds of the restart through Solano’s eighth goal of the campaign.

Luke Moore dispossessed Yobo before releasing Hitzlsperger and, although Martin managed to parry his cross-cum-shot, Solano was on hand to make no mistake from close range.

But almost immediately Everton regained the advantage through a seventh goal of the campaign from Cahill.

Bent won the ball on the right despite the attentions of Samuel and the Villa marking was non existent as Cahill headed home his centre.

Vassell made his return from a broken ankle after 62 minutes in place of Moore but the home side continued to look wobbly and Sorensen deflected efforts from Bent and Osman around the post.

Osman was not to be denied and after 68 minutes he made no mistake from close range for his second goal with Cahill again the provider as the Villa defence was sliced open.

Solano hit the woodwork in the closing stages but Villa left the field to a crescendo of boos from the Holte End

4,325 Posts
How many of the top3 have you got to play again? You've got to play us again also, these are the only game I can see you losing points in at the moment :cry:
I remember just a few weeks ago Gerrard, Dudek and the rest were all putting their comments in the paper on how they have the easier schedule, and they were going to pick up points this weekend as we braced for Chelsea's vist. I said nothing as on paper They were right. but Pool lost to Birmingham. I think Pool should wory about who they have to play rather than who we have left. As with Birmingham no fixture is points in either teams bank.
Liverpool have Newcastle away Next, and they have been playing well of late, with their victory of Chelsea in the Cup may prove a formadiable opponent. Pending wich Pool team comes out I dont see you taking 3 points from Newcastle. Then with a Mid week match against Beyer before you play us can be too much for the injury riden squad of Liverpool. Couple with the fact that you should go through the next round of the Euro. cup only adds more games to your schedule that will make your schedule harder than ours.
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