Everton’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s European places suffered a blow as they played out a goalless draw at Aston Villa.
In an uninspiring contest devoid of quality Tyrone Mings headed Villa’s best chance wide from Douglas Luiz’s cross.
Subdued for long periods of the first half, Everton improved after the break, with Ben Godfrey drawing a save from home goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick.
Andre Gomes wastefully lashed a left-footed effort over the bar as the visitors chased a winner but Martinez was rarely called upon, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late header his only other save of note.
The result leaves Carlo Ancelotti’s side eight points adrift of Chelsea in fourth, with West Ham, Liverpool and Tottenham all better placed to qualify for Europe.
Villa, who welcomed captain Jack Grealish back from injury as a second-half substitute, remain 11th in the table.
Everton’s missed opportunity
Everton arrived at Villa Park hoping to maintain their fine away record that accounted for 65% of their Premier League points this term.
And while there was the added incentive of gaining revenge against a Villa side that won at Goodison Park 12 days ago, they only showed sporadic flashes of attacking ambition.
Abdoulaye Doucoure, Richarlison, Michael Keane and Calvert-Lewin all failed to convert when presented with good chances, with Martinez producing an outstanding save to keep out the England forward’s header.
Four draws and defeat in their last seven matches points to a side that has always seemed to be chasing others above them without ever being able to apply any serious pressure.
While they again looked solid defensively – restricting the hosts to just two efforts on target – Ancelotti’s side will need to show more attacking ambition in their final three fixtures against Sheffield United, Wolves and Manchester City.
More to follow.
- 2CashSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 45+2′minutes
- 7McGinnBooked at 90mins
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 15TraoréBooked at 43minsSubstituted forGrealishat 72′minutes
- 20BarkleySubstituted forRamseyat 65′minutes
- 21El Ghazi
- 27El Mohamady
- 23ColemanSubstituted forIwobiat 75′minutes
- 10G SigurdssonBooked at 55minsSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 67′minutes
- 21André Gomes
- 31Neves Virgínia
Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Everton 0.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Everton 0.
Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).
Jordan Pickford (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Keinan Davis (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Allan (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt missed. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by André Gomes.
John McGinn (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by John McGinn (Aston Villa).
André Gomes (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Michael Keane (Everton) header from the right side of the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.
VAR Decision: No card change Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa).
Foul by Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa).
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Richarlison (Everton) header from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucas Digne with a cross.
Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton).