Aston Villa secured a 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday as we got our first points of the Premier League season on the board with goals from Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia.
Following the disappointment of our performance and defeat at Bournemouth last weekend, Steven Gerrard and the players needed to produce a response to bounce back and put that frustration behind us.
Villa started well and looked more aggressive immediately as we put pressure on Everton, and we eventually found a breakthrough with Ings producing a clinical finish.
After good work from John McGinn in midfield and Ollie Watkins in the build-up, Ings managed to control the ball inside the box, span, and struck a brilliant left-footed effort into the back of the net.
While we struggled thereafter to seal the three points, Emiliano Buendia once again came off the bench and had a positive influence on the game, and the Argentine playmaker doubled our lead late on after an excellent one-two with Watkins to carve Everton open and tapped home the finish.
That looked like it was game over, but Everton pulled one back immediately after the restart, with Lucas Digne unable to keep the ball out after a dangerous cross across the box, and that in turn set up a nervy finish for Villa.
Everton piled on the pressure in the last few minutes as they went more direct and had chances, but ultimately the Villa defence stood firm despite injuries and held out for the win, and on the balance of play across the 90 minutes, it’s fair to say that we deserved our win.
It’s important now that Gerrard and the players gain confidence and belief from this and build on it, but he must also assess the injuries and make changes accordingly for our trip to Crystal Palace next time out.
Buendia was excellent once again with his inventiveness, energy and movement, while Boubacar Kamara put in a brilliant shift in midfield and looks to be a perfect solution to one of our biggest problems from last season.
That said, we do still look vulnerable from set-pieces and deliveries into the box in general, and so as a defensive unit we must improve. Tyrone Mings was important on his return to the starting XI and put in a solid performance, and so he’ll hope that he will keep his place but with Diego Carlos picking up a serious injury, it remains to be seen who partners him.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Everton:
Emiliano Martinez, 7 – Was a relatively quiet afternoon for the Villa goalkeeper, but was called into action just before the hour mark and produced some crucial late saves in the latter stages to preserve our lead and make a vital contribution.
Matty Cash, 8 – Looked composed and assured on the ball, full of energy off it and was defensively sound throughout while also looking to push forward when possible too.
Diego Carlos, 8 – A rock in the backline as he showed good physicality and presence as he stood up to the pressure from Everton. Worrying signals after the game regarding his injury as he could be out for a while which would be a massive blow.
Tyrone Mings, 8 – Excellent on his return to the starting XI. His ability in the air is crucial from a defensive perspective while he took a no-nonsense approach to his defending and made little to no errors. Produced a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Everton an equaliser too.
Lucas Digne, 6 – Not his best afternoon as he couldn’t find the accuracy with his crosses and conceded a late own goal against his former club which set up a nervous ending.
John McGinn, 7 – Great day for him as he led the team out for the first time as Villa captain at home, and he was all-action throughout as he tried to set the tone and tempo of our play with his crunching tackles and pushing the ball forward quickly.
Boubacar Kamara, 8 – Such a classy operator in the middle of the park. Swept up and cut out danger out of possession, and just keeps things ticking over nicely on the ball and setting our more advanced midfielders on their way. Much improved from last weekend.
Jacob Ramsey, 7.5 – Showed more intent and courage on the ball in this one as he drove forward constantly in the early stages and tried to create openings. Worked hard off the ball too and was a bundle of energy throughout.
Philippe Coutinho, 5 – Once again he struggled to get into the game as he kept dropping deeper and deeper to be involved in our build-up play. Picked up a knock too and with Buendia’s impact off the bench, Gerrard surely has to think about making a switch in that role.
Danny Ings, 8 – A brilliant finish to break the deadlock, as it was an important moment in the game to get the first goal and make Everton chase us in those conditions. Still struggles to get involved in our general play, but with finishes like that, he’s a game-changer.
Ollie Watkins, 8 – Worked tirelessly as he always does off the ball, made challenges and put Everton under pressure with his pressing. While he’ll be disappointed he didn’t get on the scoresheet himself, provided two excellent assists to make his mark on the game.
Emiliano Buendia, 8.5 – Superb from the Argentine playmaker. Brings inventiveness, energy and creativity every time he steps on the pitch and works hard off the ball too. Must start next weekend as we’re just so much better with him in the side.
Leon Bailey, N/A
Ezri Konsa, N/A
Ashley Young, N/A
Calum Chambers, N/A