Everton faced Aston Villa in their first away game of the season, hoping to get their first points of the season after losing to Chelsea despite a spirited performance. Their hopes came crashing down as Aston Villa emerged victorious at Villa Park, beating the Merseysiders 2-1, thanks to the goals of Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia. In response, the Toffees got one goal back in form of an Lucas Digne own goal.
Frank Lampard rang two changes as Mason Holgate and new signing Conor Coady came in for injured Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey. Despite the availability of Salomon Rondon, the former Chelsea boss continued to trust Gordon up top, in absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. New midfield signing Amadou Onana was on the bench as Alex Iwobi retained his spot in the middle of the park.
Aston Villa dominated the early proceedings as Everton struggled to keep possession. When Everton had the ball, they weren’t incisive enough in the final third, possibly because of the lack of a striker. Everton went down in the first half and continued to struggle without a focal point in the attack.
In the second half, Everton started on an optimistic note and looked on a front foot but soon it faded out as Villa took control. A striker was finally introduced as Salomon Rondon came on but made little impact on the offensive side of the pitch. Onana came on the pitch to make his debut and could be partially blamed for Villa’s second goal. He immediately made amends, playing a crucial part in Everton’s first goal.
The late flurry of goals saw excitement pumped back into the game as Everton chased the game. Even though the Toffees lost the game, the team showed character and temprament in the latter stages of the game. Things are not as off as they were last season but the absence of a reliable goal scorer up top is massively hurting Everton.
Everton player ratings vs Aston Villa
Jordan Pickford – 6
Jordan Pickford was fully stretched but couldn’t get a hand on Danny Ings’ shot. His distribution was not quite up to the mark. Pickford had to make a couple of saves in the second half to keep the deficit to one. The Everton captain for the afternoon couldn’t do anything to stop the second goal but kept Leon Bailey’s shot away from goal.
Mason Holgate – 6.5
Mason Holgate was superb against Chelsea from the time he came on. With the presence of solid defenders like Conor Coady and James Tarkowski around him, Holgate looked composed. In the early first half, made a perfectly timed tackle to stop Jacob Ramsey around the penalty area. Holgate came to the rescue, clearing the ball from Ings’ path who was through on goal.
Conor Coady – 6
Coady made his first start for Everton, after joining on loan from Wolves, slotting straight into the defence, providing leadership and organization with Tarkowski. Looked comfortable at the back and threaded a couple of interesting long balls but the lack of a towering forward like Calvert-Lewin meant that the Toffees couldn’t take advantage of them.
In defence, he couldn’t get close to Ings to prevent the opening goal. Possibly picked up a knock due to the extreme heat conditions in Birmingham but continued to play, showing his character. He made way for Amadou Onana, who made his Everton debut as Lampard changed shape.
James Tarkowski – 6
Last season, the Toffees were without a reliable leader in the central defence and now the Toffees had two experienced leaders at the back in Tarkowski and Coady. Tarkowski was robust and didn’t shy away from being aggressive but failed to stop the ball for the first goal. Tarkowski was brilliant against Leon Bailey in the second half and afforded no chances to the Jamaican who was huffing and puffing down the left side of the pitch.
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 6
Vitaliy Mykolenko continued to occupy the left hand side, contributing to the defence but failing to make much of an impact going forward. He was neat on the ball and tried to create spaces. The Ukrainian made a goal line clearance from Emiliano Buendia’s shot.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 4
Ings got around Abdoulaye Doucoure and smashed the ball past Pickford. Doucoure did not get forward and couldn’t win back possession in the middle of the park. He picked up an injury, asking for stoppage of play and eventually was taken off.
Alex Iwobi – 6
Alex Iwowbi thrived in the central midfield role against Chelsea and Lampard continued to put trust in the Nigerian, starting him in the same position. He threaded a beautiful cross field ball early in the first half and continued to work hard in the midfield.
Nathan Patterson – 5
After his Premier League debut against Chelsea, Nathan Patterson started the game and was still adjusting to Premier League surroundings. Patterson offers a lot of energy and attacking threat but he still needs to polish his skills.
Dwight McNeil – 5
Dwight McNeil had a brilliant chance to release Demarai Gray just outside the Villa box but he overcooked the pass and the ball was few yards away from Gray. McNeil never quite got on top of the game and posed any threat. Was taken off in the second half for Salomon Rondon
Anthony Gordon – 7
Anthony Gordon scored from close distance from a corner only for the goal to be rightfully ruled out by VAR because of offside. Gordon blossoms when playing on the flanks but doesn’t have the attributes of a prime No.9 as he failed to create that sort of threat in the game.
Switched to the wing after Rondon’s introduction and looked much more comfortable. On the left flank, he troubled Matty Cash to a certain extent. In the final stages of the game, Gordon had a brilliant shot at goal which was saved by Martinez and Rondon failed to take advantage of the rebound. Gordon’s another attempted was collected by the Argentian shot stopper.
Demarai Gray – 6
Demarai Gray was attentive and energetic but struggled to conjure any decisive chances in the first half. Had a golden chance at the end of the first half as Tyrone Mings missed the cross but Gray couldn’t spear it home and took an extra touch. Gray had a shot in the second half which warmed Emiliano Martinez’s hands.
Tom Davies – 5
Tom Davies came on for Abdoulaye Doucoure in the 35th minute as the Malian international picked up an injury. Davies was booked in the first half and attempted ambitious acrobatics from a corner. The academy graduate made a crucial well timed challenge just outside the Everton box to stop Ollie Watkins.
Salomon Rondon – 4
Salomon Rondon came on in the 63rd minute for McNeil as the Toffees finally had someone in attack to pinpoint their crosses. Rondon’s highlight of the game was the accurate flick on that almost landed in the path of Onana who could have scored on his debut but was denied by Martinez
Dele Alli – 5
Dele Alli was put on the pitch in the place of Gray to add some energy and fresh legs on the field.
Amadou Onana – 6.5
Amadou Onana came in for Coady as the Belgian international made his Everton bow. Onana lost the ball which eventually saw Gerrard’s men score. Just 14 seconds later, Onana drove forward and played a low ball across Emiliano Martinez which was turned into the goal by Lucas Digne.
Will Everton bounce back next weekend from two consecutive losses?