Aston Villa secured a hard-fought victory over Everton with Emiliano Buendia and Lucas Digne combining for the game’s only goal.

Aston Villa continued their momentum after their battling display against Manchester United to go one better and secure all three points versus Everton. The only goal of the game from Emiliano Buendia right before the half-time break was enough for Steven Gerrard’s men to get the win, while Everton showed signs of improvement.

The improvement may be there to see, but it was not the result Duncan Ferguson was hoping for to start his second stint in the caretaker role. Everton were brave in their approach and started the game with the upper hand. Villa soon gained some momentum, but despite the game’s competitive nature, it did not produce enough attempts on target.

Aston Villa increased the pressure on the home side, and a corner from former Everton defender Lucas Digne was headed in by Buendia, resulting in the opener. The Argentine’s second goal of the campaign proved enough to secure all three points for Aston Villa in the end.

Everton came out strongly after the break and showed improved quality. The introduction of Anthony Gordon in the second half visibly improved their quality as the youngster brought in a different dimension to their moves. He created a brilliant chance for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, only for the striker to be unable to reach the ball.

The big problem for Everton was their inability to engage Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison much, with the Brazilian once more failing to operate efficiently in a front-two. He is more involved in a wide role, although these things can be taken care of in the next games. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.

Everton

Jordan Pickford: 6/10

Pickford had a busy evening and made a few smart saves, especially from a shot by Ollie Watkins, who was eventually flagged offside. However, the Everton no. 1 was partly at fault for the goal because he had a touch that took the ball away from Andros Townsend on the goal line and into the top corner.

Jonjoe Kenny: 6/10

A decent game from Kenny, who kept things tight on his flank. While he had some moments that could be deemed shaky, there was no danger whatsoever from his end.

Yerry Mina: 6/10

A busy day for the Colombian marshalling the defence and captaining the side. Mina was seen getting forward more in the second half as Everton searched for an equaliser. He had at least two half-decent chances to score and missed them both.

Mason Holgate: 5/10

Holgate did a fair job at the back after starting in place of Michael Keane. He stuck to his main role well, which was to handle the threat posed by Ollie Watkins, keeping the Aston Villa striker relatively quiet.

Ben Godfrey: 5.5/10

It is still baffling why Everton sold Digne to Aston Villa, as they once again struggled to find the balance in the left-back slot. Godfrey was in charge of the position and failed to offer anything in attack while defending his marker.

Andros Townsend: 5/10

Townsend has the skills to progress the ball well from time to time, and he tried to create chances from the wide position. But he was ineffective, and Duncan Ferguson realised it by subbing him off around the hour mark.

Abdoulaye Doucoure: 6.5/10

Doucoure worked hard throughout the game, but some of his decision-making was off the mark. Defensively, he made a staggering seven tackles in the match.

Andre Gomes: 4/10

With this performance, Gomes probably lost the chance to retain his place for the next game, as surely Allan will come into the side. The game was too much for the Portuguese international as he gave total control to the Aston Villa midfielders. He was subbed off just after half-time.

Demarai Gray: 6/10

Gray’s pace was threatening for Aston Villa’s defenders as he tried his best to create meaningful chances. He also put in a defensive shift, representing his quality on all levels.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: 4.5/10

Calvert-Lewin had a bad game without it being his fault in particular. The midfielders and attackers around him did not engage him properly and starved him of good chances. However, he got one good opportunity from a cross by Anthony Gordon, which he could not reach, and that was his day summed up.

Richarlison: 5/10

Richarlison is naturally hardworking, but for this system and his style of play, he is more effective from a wide position coming inside. He again faltered from a central spot, while generally, he was starved of chances from teammates around him.

SUBSTITUTES

Allan: 6.5/10

Allan added what Gomes was missing, and Everton immediately looked like an improved side, especially in the midfield areas.

Anthony Gordon: 7/10

Gordon gave the Everton attack a new dimension and threatened Villa’s defence. He created one beautiful chance for Calvert-Lewin, only for the striker to not reach the ball.

Tyler Onyango: 5/10

Onyango’s introduction was about offering him some minutes on the pitch and an off chance of creating something through fresh legs. Only the former materialised.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez: 6/10

The Argentine celebrated his new contract with a deserved clean sheet. Not that Martinez was troubled much to achieve it, but he was an alert customer when called into action.

Matty Cash: 7/10

The Pole had a busy afternoon and looked involved in every attacking phase down the right-hand side. His aggressive defending and power to push forward ensured Everton were always in danger of creating a chance through his flank.

Tyrone Mings: 7/10

After producing a solid performance defensively, Mings looked the player and leader Steven Gerrard increasingly wants in his squad. He made one superb goal-line clearance in addition to several crucial interventions to prevent potentially dangerous moments.

Ezri Konsa: 6/10

After being passed fit to start, Konsa had a solid game at the heart of the Aston Villa defence.

Lucas Digne: 7.5/10

It was the dramatic return to Goodison Park that Digne might have envisaged. The Frenchman got an assist – his first of the season – against the club where he had spent the entirety of the season till this month. A brilliant ball from a corner found Buendia, who headed it in quite superbly.

John McGinn: 7/10

Gerrard will be delighted to have the all-action midfielder back into the fold, with McGinn ending the game with five tackles apart from unleashing many driving runs forward. A brilliant all-around game from the midfielder.

Douglas Luiz: 6.5/10

Luiz found life easy in midfield and was comfortable enough to screen his defence. However, things got a bit difficult after the introduction of Allan, although he held his ground until the very end.

Jacob Ramsey: 6/10

Ramsey had a decent game, if not the eye-catching one from last time out. The youngster put in a good shift to support his fellow midfielders, although his driving runs were missing from the match.

Emiliano Buendia: 7.5/10

The Argentine was a menace for the Everton defence throughout the game, as he found joy in half-spaces and exploited them. He took his goal well with the header properly directed beyond Pickford’s reach.

Ollie Watkins: 6/10

It was not the best of days for Watkins, who found his movements being restricted by the presence of Holgate.

Philipp Coutinho: 5/10

Coutinho looked anonymous for most parts and was not even close to the player who had produced a terrific cameo against Manchester United. There were a few moments, but beyond that, he had little impact.

SUBSTITUTES

Carney Chukwuemeka: 5/10

Chukwuemeka came on to add some fresh legs for Aston Villa, keeping up with the game’s pace.

Danny Ings: 4/10

Ings could not improve things at the tip of the Aston Villa attack after replacing Watkins.

Kortney Hause: N/A

Hause was sent on to add an extra man in defence; he barely had any involvement.

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