20 August 2023

Aston Villa bounce back from opening league defeat to demolish dismal Everton

20 August 2023

Aston Villa bounced back from their heavy opening-day Premier League defeat by cantering to a 4-0 home win against Everton.

Captain John McGinn and Douglas Luiz’s penalty gave Villa a 2-0 lead at the break and after second-half efforts from Leon Bailey and substitute John Duran, Unai Emery’s side put last week’s 5-1 loss at Newcastle behind them.

It was all too easy for Villa as they cashed in on some wayward Everton defending, which prompted half of their fans to leave Villa Park long before the final whistle.

Everton have lost their opening two games for the second successive season and their cause was not helped by the first-half withdrawal of the luckless Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The England striker, who scored only two goals last season after being dogged by injury, failed to recover from an early clash of heads with Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez and was eventually forced off in the 38th minute.

Villa were without key players Tyrone Mings, Emi Buendia (both knee) and Jacob Ramsey (foot) due to long-term injury, but midway through the first half they had established a comfortable lead.

McGinn fired them in front in the 18th minute, volleying home Bailey’s cut-back after the latter had wriggled his way to the byline.

Villa doubled their lead from the penalty spot in the 24th minute after VAR ruled Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had taken out Ollie Watkins with a flailing arm.

Watkins’ had moments earlier seen his shot cleared off the goal-line, while Pickford, making his 250th Premier League appearance, was booked for delaying the spot-kick, which was coolly dispatched by Douglas Luiz.

England’s number one went some way to redeeming himself soon after when turning Moussa Diaby’s goal-bound volley on to a post.

Everton troubled Martinez for the only time before the interval when a low, angled shot from Calvert-Lewin’s replacement, summer signing Arnaut Danjuma, forced the Argentinian into a near-post save.

The visitors were forced into another change soon after the restart when Alex Iwobi hobbled off and was replaced by Neal Mapauy.

It got worse for Everton in the 51st minute when Villa put the result beyond doubt. Bailey pounced after Everton defender Michael Keane had miscontrolled a throw-in into the box and fired home a low shot under Pickford.

Watkins went close to adding a fourth when his angled effort rolled inches wide before Martinez superbly blocked Maupay’s close-range effort at the other end following a corner.

Keane was caught out again in the build-up to Villa’s fourth, miskicking from former Villa defender Ashley Young’s throw-in and Duran ran clear to bury his first goal for the club, less than a minute after stepping off the bench to replace Watkins.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox