Aston Villa 0 Everton 0

Last updated : 31 January 2002 By Austin Rathe
Everton played the role of the away side well as they help Aston Villa to a 0-0 draw at Villa Park. Everton did well considering their squad problems, they were missing Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gasccoigne, and Weir and Blomqvist. This left Everton's midfield looking decidedly bare, with Peter Clarke and Danny Cadamarteri filling in.

However, Everton's game plan didn't rely on the midfield that much, with deep defence and the long ball/quick break towards Ferguson being the order of the day. As it turned out, the deep defence was hardly required, with Unsworth and Stubbs abel to deal with almost everything Villa could come up with.

The home team look very shakey after loosing their manager, and never really got going, the first half, in particualar, was about as exciting as a paint drying contest. The only real breaks came when Paul Merson's center was headed wide by Darius Vassell, and a Ferguson header on 37 minutes that was saved by Enckelman in the Villa goal.

After the break Villa brought on Dion Dublin for Vassell, and the big forward did make a difference, he certainly made Stubbs and Unsworth work harder than in the first half, as he combined well with Merson. Despite this, the game remained slow, with both teams giving the ball away too much to allow themselves any sort of Rhythm.

Merson was then the architect of the best moment in the game when, after 57 minutes, his surging run through the middle ended with a 25-yard shot which clipped the crossbar.

Everton nearly snatched the spoils with only minutes to go, substitute Chadwick missing a great opportunity with only the ‘keeper to beat, and Campbell went close after a neat flick on with Ferguson.

So, it finished 0-0, and Everton will be much the happier with that. Villa stay seventh in the table as a result, while Everton moved up a place to 12th.