Champions League hopes fade for Everton after Villa stalemate

Jack Grealish came on to make his long-awaited return from injury for the hosts, playing the final 20 minutes in his first appearance for three months.
Champions League hopes fade for Everton after Villa stalemate

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin after missing a chance to score. Picture: Carl Recine

Aston Villa 0 Everton 0

Everton’s faint hopes of a top-four finish were all but extinguished following a goalless draw with Aston Villa.

The away day specialists, who have collected 37 points on their travels this season, were frustrated at Villa Park and now lie eight points adrift of Chelsea who occupy the final Champions League spot.

It was Villa who spurned the best chance of the first half, Tyrone Mings guiding his header wide when unmarked in the six-yard box.

Everton responded quickly, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s physical presence causing problems.

The England striker came within inches of connecting with Luca Digne’s swinging cross in Everton’s best moment of the opening 45.

The away side were much more purposeful after the break. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s clever free kick was met by Ben Godfrey who, on the stretch, forced Emi Martinez into action.

Substitute Andre Gomes blasted over when well placed on the edge of the box, before seeing a goal-bound effort blocked by Ahmed El Mohamady to add to Carlo Ancelotti’s frustration.

Jack Grealish came on to make his long-awaited return from injury for the hosts, playing the final 20 minutes in his first appearance for three months.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish takes the captain's armband after coming on. Picture: Lindsey Parnaby
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish takes the captain's armband after coming on. Picture: Lindsey Parnaby

Martinez was on hand to deny Everton again three minutes from time, blocking Calvert-Lewin’s header as Ancelotti’s Champions League dreams faded.

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez 6, Cash 5 (El Mohamady 45 5), Konsa 7, Mings 7, Targett 6; McGinn 6, Douglas Luiz 6; Traore 6 (Grealish 72 5), Barkley 4 (Ramsey 65 5), El Ghazi 5; Davis 5.

Everton (4-4-2): Pickford 6, Holgate 6, Keane 7, Godfrey 7, Digne 6; Coleman 6 (Iwobi 74 5), Allan 6, Doucoure 6, Sigurdsson 5 (Andre Gomes 67 5); Calvert-Lewin 6, Richarlison 5.

Referee: Martin Atkinson 7.

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