Leon Bailey turned the match around almost on his own as Aston Villa beat Everton 3-0 at Villa Park on Saturday.
The first half was an eagerly contested affair, although chances came few and far between despite some promising spells for both the teams. In fact, the only big opening in the first 45 minutes came Aston Villa’s way, when Tyrone Mings was denied by Asmir Begovic.
The hosts started to pile on the pressure post the interval and bar a chance for Demarai Gray, Everton hardly had a look-in. And Aston Villa made their dominance count midway through the second half, when Matty Cash produced a fiercely driven shot at the end of a well-worked move to break the deadlock.
Shortly after, Villa were two to the good, thanks to an own goal by Lucas Digne, who turned in Leon Bailey’s corner into his own net. The win was then rounded off in the 75th minute, with Bailey on target this time with a thumping finish. With that, Everton suffered the first defeat of the season while Villa are now in the top half. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
Emiliano Martinez: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup after completing his quarantine, Martinez had one of the easiest outings of his career, having had to make just one save all game. Completed 32 of the 36 passes he attempted, enabling Aston Villa to play out from the back efficiently.
Ezri Konsa: 6/10
With Everton hardly threatening from his side, Konsa could often be seen close to the halfway line than pinned deep inside his own half. However, he ought to have done better with the ball at his feet, misplacing 10 of the 38 passes he attempted.
Axel Tuanzebe: 6/10
Not called into action too much even in the moments when Everton posed some threat, especially with Tyrone Mings marshalling the defence in solid fashion. So, it was impressive that Tuanzebe completed 89 percent of his attempted passes even opening up play with some fine long passes.
Tyrone Mings: 7/10
A top notch display by the Aston Villa captain, who was a rock at the back and neutralised the threat of Salomon Rondon all on his own. Imperious in the air, Mings won seven aerial duels while even coming ever so close to scoring in the first half. Made three blocks and a couple of clearances and interceptions as well.
Matty Cash: 7/10
In what was turning out to be a game of hits and misses, Cash made the difference by breaking the deadlock midway through the second half. Otherwise, the 24-year-old misplaced a few too many passes while also getting overrun at times. No harm done in the end, though.
Jacob Ramsey: 7/10
A performance that showcased his growing influence in the side. The youngster was reliable with the ball at his feet while even posing a creative threat, misplacing just one pass while playing a key pass as well. Put in the hard yards defensively as well, making a block, an interception and a tackle.
Douglas Luiz: 8/10
A colossal showing by Luiz, whose performance ensured Aston Villa were always the more fancied of the two teams on the day. In addition, he played a game-high five key passes including one that released Cash for the opening goal with the most sumptuous of touches. Top class performance.
Douglas Luiz’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
15 duels contested
8 duels won
5 chances created
5 ball recoveries
4 fouls won
Showing what he can do. pic.twitter.com/vy8GSn6nQq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 18, 2021
John McGinn: 6/10
A difficult evening for McGinn, who suffered a concussion after getting hit on the face midway through the first half. Taken off for Marvelous Nakamba when it became clear he could not continue on the pitch.
Matt Targett: 6/10
Targett was a constant outlet down the left flank for Aston Villa, but his output on the day was rather poor. The 26-year-old completed just 69 percent of his passes, losing possession 15 times. Not too troubled off the ball bar on a couple of occasions by Andros Townsend. Decent enough in the end.
Danny Ings: 7/10
The two Aston Villa striker put in the hard yards high up the pitch to ensure their team remained on top, and Ings did some solid work off the ball. The experienced striker even made a couple of crunching tackles. And more crucially, he played a brilliant pass to release Leon Bailey for the third goal of the game. Job well done.
Ollie Watkins: 6/10
He might not have been involved much in front of goal, but Watkins played a major role in ensuring Everton were never comfortable in playing out from the back. The 25-year-old was relentless in his pressing, forcing a mistake or two out of Yerry Mina. Will be itching to get a goal now, though.
Marvelous Nakamba: 6/10
It was a rare concussion substitute made in the Premier League, but one that showcased the importance of its existence. The 27-year-old did well to replace McGinn, providing a solid base in the middle of the park for Aston Villa.
Leon Bailey: 8/10
The game changer for Aston Villa. While Bailey did not see a whole lot of the ball, he utilised his touches perfectly to swing the game in the hosts’ direction. The Jamaican winger first forced an own goal with his corner before a fiercely driven finish sealed all three points for Villa. Taken off with an injury which Dean Smith will hope is not too serious.
Leon Bailey vs Everton:
Comes on in the 61st minute.
82nd' Gets injured and leaves the game.
Awarded Man of the Match award. 🇯🇲👌 pic.twitter.com/Cl96k7BPqv
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) September 18, 2021
Ashley Young: N/A
On for the injured Bailey, Young helped see the game out.
Bertrand Traore: N/A
A late introduction, Traore did not have much time to even touch the ball a few times let alone do anything of note.
Asmir Begovic: 6/10
Making his Everton debut in the Premier League, Begovic was a major reason why Aston Villa were not already ahead at half-time, having made a stunning save to deny Tyrone Mings. However, that was the only save he made all game, although he stood no chance at stopping any of the three goals that the hosts scored.
Ben Godfrey: 5/10
With Seamus Coleman unavailable, Ben Godfrey was installed as the Everton right-back. However, he hardly made an impact on either end of the pitch, losing possession an alarming 15 times while getting overrun off the ball a couple of times as well. Jonjoe Kenny could be in line to replace him if Coleman is not back for the next game.
Yerry Mina: 5/10
Not as bad as central defensive partner Micheal Keane, although Yerry Mina, too, left a fair bit to be desired when Bailey scored the third goal of the game. Otherwise, it was a largely solid display by the Colombian, who won five duels while completing six clearances. However, his output on the ball was disappointing, as he only completed 69 percent of his attempted passes.
Michael Keane: 5/10
For much of the first half, Keane was a solid customer at the heart of the Everton defence, only to capitulate during the Aston Villa onslaught. While he did make four clearances, three interceptions and two blocks, the English defender saw Cash drift past him way too easily for the opener. Won just three of the nine duels he contested.
Lucas Digne: 4/10
A horrendous evening for Digne, who was largely pinned to his own half and never really managed to threaten in the final third. And while he did win seven duels, the Everton skipper’s output on the ball was uncharacteristically poor, as he lost possession a staggering 21 times while having a pass completion rate of just 68 percent. The kicker, though, was the own goal he scored in the second half.
3 – Lucas Digne has scored three Premier League own goals; no French player has ever put more through his own net in the competition's history (level with Younes Kaboul). Horreur. pic.twitter.com/wDhuWzuOj2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 18, 2021
Abdoulaye Doucoure: 6/10
A fairly solid performance by Doucoure, although he, like midfield partner Allan, could not manage to come out on top in the clutch moments. Nevertheless, he completed 80 percent of his attempted passes while even playing a key pass and winning 10 duels.
A difficult evening for the usually solid Allan, who struggled to stifle Aston Villa’s forward moves as much as he would have liked. The second half was especially difficult, with the hosts being rampant before he was eventually taken off for Anthony Gordon.
Andros Townsend: 6/10
One of only two Everton players who made some sort of an impact. Townsend played four key passes on Saturday, and yet retained a pass completion rate of 84 percent. Put in the hard yards defensively as well, with two interceptions and two tackles to show for his efforts.
Demarai Gray: 7/10
Once again, Gray was a standout player for Everton, having been the only player to have threatened Emiliano Martinez’s goal or created a good enough chance, playing a couple of key passes. That being said, he did have the chance to find the back of the net only the spurn the chance.
Alex Iwobi: 6/10
A bright spark, Iwobi constantly looked to push forward and take on the Aston Villa defenders. However, the Nigerian international could not manage to overpower the opposition, even though he hardly misplaced a pass.
Salomon Rondon: 5/10
Making his debut for Everton, Rondon struggled to get into the game, which impacted his output in front of goal. Indeed, the veteran striker did not manage to muster up even one shot on target while completing only 38 percent of his attempted passes. A debut to forget.
Andre Gomes: 5/10
Introduced in place of Rondon, Gomes ought to have added more solidity in midfield. Instead, he got overwhelmed by the wave after wave of Aston Villa’s attacks.
Anthony Gordon: 5/10
On for Allan as Benitez sought more attacking verve from his side, but Gordon could not manage to get in the game, getting just four touches on the ball.
Jonjoe Kenny: N/A
Introduced in place of Godfrey, Kenny hardly even touched the ball in the final ten minutes.
Tom Davies: N/A
On for Iwobi, Davies barely had any time to make an impact, with Aston Villa already having the game won.