Aston Villa 0-0 Everton
- Gates: None
- Helps: None
- Bonus points: Emiliano Martínez x3 (£ 5.4m), Lucas Digne x2 (£ 6.2m), Ezri Konsa x1 (£ 4.7m)
Everton’s defensive assets again presented a solid test for investing as they went clean for a fourth time against Aston Villa.
During this time, no Premier League team has registered as many failures as the Toffees, who will have to play two appealing games in the next two weeks of play.
Sheffield United and Wolves are the last two teams to visit Goodison Park this season and have scored a total of five goals in their last five games.
Lucas Digne (£ 6.2m) and Ben Godfrey (£ 5.0m) have been the main beneficiaries of Everton’s defensive earnings lately.
The latter finished Triple Gameweek 35 as the Toffees’ best goal with 18 points and has offered decent value in recent weeks.
He has scored maximum bonus points in two of Everton’s last three goals conceded, and his score of 26 on the bonus point system at Villa Park was just below the top three on Thursday night.
Godfrey’s versatility is part of his appeal as he can play as a traditional center-back, a left-back in a threesome, or even a left-back or left-back. He played 90 minutes in total, but one match since Gameweek 22.
But it was Digne who earned part of the bonus against Villa, claiming two of them thanks to his creativity as a left full-back in a 3-5-2 formation.
He presented three key passes at Villa Park, more than any other player. And crucially, he’s been at the forefront of Everton players for key passes (eight) and big opportunities (two) for the past six years.
That said Gylfi Sigurdsson (£ 6.9m) remains in charge of Everton’s direct free kicks as well as some corners.
Against Everton, Emiliano Martinez (£ 5.4m) put on a show reminiscent of the winter months when he conceded one goal, made five saves and won all three bonuses.
It was the first time since a draw between Gameweek 27 and Wolves that Villa failed to score points and the first time Martínez had scored more than four points in the same game.
And whether Dean Smith’s men can return defensively in the last three games remains to be seen.
Not only are they facing Crystal Palace (away), Spurs (away) and Chelsea (at home) up to Gameweek 38, they could be without them Matt Cash (£ 5.0m) too.
He had a muscle injury against Everton which Smith said would likely end his campaign if it were a recurrence of a hamstring problem suffered against Brighton.
“With Cash, I’m not sure it’s a recurrence of the Achilles tendon (against Brighton) but he certainly felt his Achilles tendon and if so, he has been out in the last three games. Someone just talked to him and he wasn’t feeling bad at all so we’ll see with him. “- Dean Smith
Still, Villa’s attack over the past three weeks of the game might be worth a look Ollie Watkins (£ 6.5m) returns from suspension at Blank Gameweek 36 and back Jack Grealish (£ 7.5m) is now back from an injury.
He was named on the bench for Thursday’s game and played on the left side of a front-three for the last 20 minutes Matt Targett (£ 5.0m) continued to take set pieces upon arrival.
“It’s really good to have him back. It’s small steps right now, but it’s great to have him out there again. We now have three games over the next 10 days and we hope Jack will be in all three games. Whether Tottenham or Chelsea, we hope to get 90 minutes out of him. He’ll be as fit as possible. He’s a naturally fit player anyway. He continued to work on his résumé (cardiovascular), with a bit more feet and in training you don’t see a lack of fitness in him, that’s for sure. “- Dean Smith
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martínez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash (El Mohamady 45 + 2 ‘); D Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi, Barkley (J. Ramsey 65 ‘), B. Traore (Grealish 72’); Davis.
Everton XI (3-5-2): Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Holgate; Digne, Allan, Sigurdsson (Gomes 67 ‘), Doucouré, Coleman (Iwobi 75’); Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Man United 2-4 Liverpool
- Gates: Bruno Fernandes (£ 11.5m), Marcus Rashford (£ 9.6m) | Diogo Jota (£ 7.0m), Roberto Firmino x2 (£ 9.0m), Mohamed Salah (£ 12.7m)
- Helps: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£ 5.7m), Edinson Cavani (£ 8.0m) | Nathaniel Phillips (£ 4.1m), Trent Alexander-Arnold x2 (£ 7.6m), Curtis Jones (£ 4.4m)
- Bonus points: Firmino x3, Alexander-Arnold x2, Fernandes x1
The absence of Harry Maguire (£ 5.6m) was arguably the most telling result of Manchester United’s 4-2 loss to Liverpool on Thursday night.
The center-back has now missed two games in a row in the Premier League for the first time since moving north from Leicester. During that time, the Red Devils have conceded six goals, as many as in the last eleven games.
Eric Bailly (£ 4.8m) has stood up for Maguire for the past two years but got through another bad evening on Thursday and maybe the door opened for him Axel Tuanzebe (£ 4.1m) for the Gameweek 37 meeting with Fulham.
“Harry was really important to us and really good. We’ll miss him, but he’s out so we have to take care of it. We have enough players to handle it. Now it is a matter of regrouping and rebuilding our trust and our dynamism. “- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
As for the Manchester United attack, the Liverpool loss highlighted the two opportunities that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing very well.
You started the game with Paul Pogba (£ 7.6m) stationed on the left of the attacking midfield and Marcus Rashford (£ 9.6m) on the right.
After Liverpool won 3-1, Solskjaer brought on Mason Greenwood (£ 7.2m) to replace Fred (£ 5.3m), putting Rashford on his stronger side of attacking midfield (left) and putting Pogba in a deeper midfield role.
What happened was the Red Devils’ most productive phase in the game. Rashford interfered, ran through the middle and scored the second goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£ 7.6m) was Liverpool’s standout player who produced two assists while claiming two bonuses.
He finished this game together with his colleagues as a goal scorer, while no player on the field was able to make his five key passes and two great chances.
He could have added a third assist late when he played a pass from deep from that Kevin De Bruyne (£ 11.8m) would have been proud to say the least Sadio Mané (£ 11.7m) through the gate, only for the Senegalese international to take on a heavy touch.
With West Bromwich Albion (away) next for Alexander-Arnold, he was one of the first names on the Blank Gameweek 36 Scout Picks team sheet.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Shaw, Bailly (Matić 86 ‘), Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Fred (Greenwood 63 ‘); Pogba, B. Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, N. Phillips, R. Williams, Alexander-Arnold; Thiago, Wijnaldum (Jones 74 ‘), Fabinho; Jota (Mané 74 ‘), Firmino, Salah (N. Williams 90 + 2’).
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