Everton were held to a 0-0 draw by high-flying Aston Villa in a competitive Premier League clash played out at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Blues had the best of chances in a battling contest where both sides had goals ruled out for offside. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s low effort late in the first half was perhaps the home side’s best effort of the bunch. However, Unai Emery’s men remained a consistent threat throughout the clash and the Toffees had to defend doggedly at times to grind out the hard-earned point.
For the contest, Abdoulaye Doucoure returned to Everton’s starting XI for the first time since the Toffees’ away trip to Burnley on December 16. He was one of two changes from the starting line-up in last week’s FA Cup clash at Crystal Palace, with Jordan Pickford also back between the sticks in place of Joao Virginia.
The Blues wasted no time stamping their authority early on and forced their first threat on Martinez’s goal inside five minutes when Harrison drove down the right before swinging a dangerous deep ball towards the back post where Danjuma was lurking.
Everton’s winger failed to catch the ball cleanly with his attempted volley and his tame effort was blocked before being cleared from danger by Villa’s Diego Carlos. Danjuma was lively throughout the opening exchanges and heavily involved again minutes later.
He latched onto a ball played behind the Villa defence before driving a low cross towards a lurking Doucoure on the edge of the six-yard area, an outstretched leg intercepted as the midfielder readied to meet it. But then despite the bright start from Dyche’s men, it was the away side who looked to have taken the lead.