Aston Villa secured a 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday with goals from Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Buendia securing three vital points.
Villa started well at Goodison Park, as after Unai Emery spoke at length last week about wanting his side to show more control in games, we were patient and composed in the opening stages.
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However, the home side responded to that eventually and create the better chances in the opening hour, but Villa produced big moments of quality at both ends of the pitch to ensure we came out on top.
Victory on Merseyside ends a three-game losing streak, and the clean sheet will be a huge boost too having conceded 11 goals in three games prior to this weekend.
In turn, this was an important win for us to get back on track and learn from the mistakes and disappointment in recent weeks, and it hopefully gives us a foundation again to build on and put a good run of form together.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Everton:
Emi Martinez, 7 – Collected his customary booking for time wasting, but didn’t come back to haunt us on this occasion. Relatively untroubled for the most part despite Everton having sustained periods of pressure, but he did produce a decisive moment in the first-half with a superb save to deny Onana. Key moment in the game.
Matty Cash, 6.5 – Had his hands full with McNeil on his side, but stuck to his task well and battled throughout. Struggled to nullify his threat early on but improved as the game went on as we looked more compact down that flank.
Ezri Konsa, 6.5 – Similar to Cash in that he improved in the second half after struggling at times with the pressure Everton were applying. Played his part in keeping an important clean sheet as shoring things up at the back would have been a priority after our recent poor run.
Tyrone Mings, 7.5 – A solid performance as although he had moments of concern along with the rest of the backline, he produced a game-defining clearance off the line as Everton pressed for a breakthrough. Dominant in the air and played the ball forward into Watkins that eventually led to our second goal to kill the game.
Lucas Digne, 6.5 – Put in a tidy shift for the most part. Showed quality in possession on a few occasions and was unlucky not to get an assist after Watkins saw a header well saved by Pickford from his cross. Defensively sound, although again, the backline did come under pressure at times.
John McGinn, 8 – An important presence in the side. Battled and scrapped in the opening hour as we continued to try and control the game and get a foothold in midfield. Showed his quality in the attacking phase in the second half as he won the penalty for our opener before playing the pass into Buendia for the second.
Douglas Luiz, 7 – Kept things ticking in midfield and battled throughout too. His composure and technical quality in midfield is key to us dictating the tempo and he did that well at times.
Boubacar Kamara, 7 – Not as stand-out as he has been in some games this season, but he put in a crucial shift in midfield to ensure we had some level of control in the game and kept Everton at bay.
Jacob Ramsey, 6.5 – Had his moments as he showed good intent with his direct running at the Everton backline after finding pockets of space in the final third. However, he couldn’t find that decisive final ball to make a bigger impact.
Leon Bailey, 5 – Replaced after an hour, and it would be a surprise to see him start again any time soon. Not that it was through a lack of trying, but it just didn’t work for Bailey again in this one, as he constantly gave away possession cheaply and had no real impact in our attacking play as he looks to be struggling to fit into the style and system.
Ollie Watkins, 7.5 – Took his penalty brilliantly as he slammed it home down the middle to make it five goals in five consecutive games. On a real run of form and has been much-improved since Emery arrived. Looks confident, is doing well in our overall build-up play too as he holds the ball up much better now and is a key figure in the side.
Alex Moreno, 6 – Did a decent job after coming on. Took a little while to get up to the speed of the game but settled in well after that and helped us secure the win.
Emiliano Buendia, 7.5 – A brilliant impact after coming on in the 61st minute. Was influential in the lead up to the penalty being won and was tenacious and gritty in his defensive work as we looked to protect our lead. Capped it off with a superb goal of his own as he did well to create space for himself in the box before unleashing a quality finish.