Aston Villa earned an impressive 2-1 victory over Everton on Saturday evening, landing a serious blow to the Toffees’ European aspirations.
The Villans were gifted an early lead, when Ollie Watkins pressurised Mason Holgate into losing possession on the edge of the box, and the forward wrestled into position and struck low beyond Jordan Pickford.
Everton hit back on 19 minutes however, after Villa were completely beaten by Lucas Digne’s wicked corner kick, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed home at the far post to restore parity for the hosts. Calvert-Lewin saw another header turned away soon after, and Pickford had to be at his best to deny Bertrand Traore and Watkins as the Toffees began to suffer.
The tempo of the second half dropped in comparison to the first, although both teams had chances to win the game. And it was Villa who clinched the victory late on, when Anwar El Ghazi curled home a stunner from the edge of the box to give Pickford no chance, and hand all three points to the visiting Villans.
Right, let’s get on with the player ratings.
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 7/10 – Left with no chance by Holgate’s error for the opener, and did well to smother Watkins on a couple of occasions soon after. Another brilliant double save to deny Traore. Again, no chance with the second.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – 6/10 – A quiet first half, with plenty of the action flying down the other flank. Tried an ambitious one from 30 yards, which ended up in Row Q. Allowed El Ghazi to cut in and bury his winning goal too easily.
Ben Godfrey (CB) – 6/10 – Produced a brave block to deny McGinn with a fizzing effort from the edge of the box. Dug in while others around him rocked and reeled.
Mason Holgate (CB) – 4/10 – Oh dear. Dropped a clanger, underestimating the pressing potential of Watkins, lost possession and was then unable to wrestle it back. Never at ease.
Lucas Digne (LB) – 7/10 – Beautiful in-swinging corner to find Calvert-Lewin at the far post. Deadly from set-pieces. Played his part in both halves.
Andre Gomes (CM) – 6/10 – Industrious and aggressive on and off the ball. Got stuck in and looked to arrive first to every second ball. Tough evening against McGinn, though.
Allan (CM) – 6/10 – Got sent back to Naples by Traore in the first half, after the winger left the Brazilian on his knees with a glorious piece of skill. Other than that, didn’t do too badly.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (CM) – 6/10 – Tried a golf wedge with his left foot in the first half, but got his measurements and angles just wrong. Saw another shot blocked soon after. Tidy enough, but not spectacular.
Alex Iwobi (RW) – 7/10 – Always looked a threat with the ball at his feet. Unpredictable when charging at the backline, and chose the right option more often than not.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – 8/10 – Showed the desire and hunger you’d expect to get onto the end of Digne’s corner, burying his header. Displayed more bravery to stick his head on a low cross soon after, but Martinez managed to paw it away. Impressive.
Richarlison (LW) – 6/10 – A bright spark from the off, causing issues almost immediately from kick-off. Faded as Everton struggled to get a foothold, and missed a decent chance in the second half.
Fabian Delph (CM) – 6/10
Bernard (LW) – 6/10
Josh King (ST) – 6/10
Emiliano Martinez (GK) – 7/10 – Couldn’t do much to stop Calvert-Lewin’s close range header, but fared much better in turning away the forward’s next effort.
Matty Cash (RB) – 7/10 – Whipped a stunning ball to the far post which Watkins couldn’t quite turn home. Dominated that right wing. Back in the team, and it showed.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – 7/10 – Never easy against the physicality of Calvert-Lewin, but stuck to the task and didn’t give him an easy ride. Probably should have been marking him on the corner instead of Barkley.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – 8/10 – Solid against the one striker, but kept an eye on the wandering Richarlison, too. Calm in possession and remained resolute.
Matt Targett (LB) – 7/10 – Took a heavy blow to the knee midway through the first half, but soldiered on. Did a good job against the canny Iwobi, enjoying an exciting duel.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – 7/10 – Booked in the first half for hauling down an escaping Richarlison. Selfless as ever, stopping the Everton midfield from progressing up the pitch.
John McGinn (CM) – 8/10 – Dominated the midfield against an apprehensive Everton in the first half. Flashed a couple of efforts towards goal, but no luck. A class act, and excellent at everything.
Ross Barkley (CM) – 7/10 – Looked up for it against his former team – sometimes choosing the more selfish option rather than the right one. Bizarrely caught marking Calvert-Lewin for the corner. Hit the post with a strike from range. Took hold of the game and caused problems.
Bertrand Traore (RW) – 7/10 – Tried an audacious floating chip from a tight angle, but Pickford somehow got across to tip it over the bar. He’s got that in his locker. Destroyed Allan in stupendous fashion. Silky skills on show.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – 8/10 – Scrapped and harassed Holgate into the early error, then got to his feet and stroked the ball home all in one action. Smooth as you like. Simply relentless and could have had more.
Anwar El Ghazi (LW) – 7/10 – Rattled the crossbar after Watkins tested Pickford. Close. Got it right the second time, curling beautifully into the top corner with effortless ease. A goal worth winning any game.
Jacob Ramsey (CM) – N/A
Keinan Davis (ST) – N/A