Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia provided the spark to get Aston Villa’s season going despite a late rally from Everton.

Villa Park was relieved to hear the final whistle from Michael Oliver as Aston Villa held on to secure three points in the end. Everton proved to be the better team in the last 20 minutes, as the Toffees searched for a fruitless equaliser. However, Aston Villa were the better team throughout the game, as they set the tone early on.

After a dominating period in the first half, the home side found the breakthrough after brilliant work from Ollie Watkins on the right wing to tee up Danny Ings. With a turn, the Aston Villa No.9 collected the ball and set himself up for a blistering shot beyond Jordan Pickford. The goal came in the 31st minute, and Aston Villa closed the first period by keeping the scoreline intact.

Everton started the second period brightly, but they lacked any control for creating an opening. They did have a few chances from time to time, but Aston  Villa were on hand to land another blow. Watkins was involved heavily once more as the striker teed up substitute Emiliano Buendia, who was left to tap in from close range.

In the build-up to the second strike, new Everton signing Amadou Onana gave the ball away cheaply in midfield, which led to the break. However, the former Lille man bounced back quickly from the error and made amends by forcing an own goal from Lucas Digne. Soon, the tables had turned, and Aston Villa found themselves under the possibility of conceding a late equaliser.

Everton almost scored through Onana, only for a late challenge to send his shot wide. Anthony Gordon also came close on one occasion, but Aston Villa held their nerve to collect three points. Here’s how the players fared as Aston Villa beat Everton to register their first win of the season.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez: 6.5/10

It took nearly 53 minutes for Everton to test Martinez when Gray had his shot saved. Later in the game, the Argentine goalkeeper also stopped efforts from Amadou Onana and Anthony Gordon, which immensely helped in protecting Aston Villa’s narrow lead in the game.

Matty Cash: 7/10

A good outing for Cash, who had two primary objectives and fulfilled them well. The first was to provide the ammunition in the final third using his runs, and the second was to contain Gray’s influence. He was comfortable with the combination of Ollie Watkins and John McGinn on the right-hand side.

Diego Carlos: 7.5/10

A much better performance from Carlos, who showed his skills to good effect. After a terrible opening day clash against Bournemouth, the Brazilian defender was in good form with Mings by his side. The worry would be the injury that forced him to leave the field late in the game.

Tyrone Mings: 8/10

Mings showed what the team missed in the last game, as he brought about some much-needed assuredness at the back. His physical presence kept Gordon in check, and he was up for having a brilliant outing. Gerrard will have no choice but to pick the defender for the next game.

Lucas Digne: 5.5/10

A rather average performance from Digne, who did not make the best of the space afforded in wide areas. He always looked to cross the ball into the box. The Frenchman was involved in scoring the own goal to make it a nervy ending for his team.

John McGinn: 7/10

McGinn will go home with happy memories from the game, which was his first clash at home as club captain. The Scottish midfielder was aggressive with his approach and created the ball for Watkins before Ings opened the scoring. He stuck to his task and had a good afternoon in the middle of the park.

Boubacar Kamara: 8/10

After a shaky debut for Kamara, he bounced back with a brilliant performance in the holding midfielder role. He was spraying the ball around and wielding control in the middle with his presence. He orchestrated the midfield well, and from here on, he will look to grow into one of the important stars of this team under Steven Gerrard.

Jacob Ramsey: 6.5/10

A performance against Everton will do his confidence a world of good. Ramsey made several threatening runs into the box and was unlucky not to create a clear-cut chance. Barring a few moments of sloppiness in possession, the youngster will be happy with his overall display.

Philippe Coutinho: 4/10

Coutinho endured another frustrating game in the attacking role, as the Brazilian could not influence the game like he used to last season. With Buendia pushing to replace him, the former Barcelona playmaker could make way for the Argentine in the next game.

Ollie Watkins: 8/10

Gerrard’s second best decision after Mings’s inclusion was to reinstate Watkins in the starting lineup. Playing in a wide role, the English forward provided the ammunition for both Villa goals. Two assists on the afternoon will boost his confidence and help him retain his place in the team for the next clash.

Danny Ings: 7.5/10

Ings came up with the goods with a striker’s goal. After taking a turn, the English forward did not give up on the idea of taking a shot and scored his opener in style. He was heavily involved in the final third and worked very well with Watkins to create danger in the box.

SUBSTITTUTES

Emiliano Buendia: 7.5/10

Buendia made his case in a big way as he added a different dimension to the attack after coming on. For his work, the Argentine was rewarded with a goal, which he worked to create alongside Watkins and then finish the move off. He might get the nod ahead of Coutinho for the next clash.

Leon Bailey: 5/10

Bailey looked dangerous from the wide areas, but his contributions were limited by a robust Everton backline, particularly James Tarkowski.

Ezri Konsa: N/A

He came on late to replace the injured Carlos in the game’s dying minutes.

Ashley Young: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Everton

Jordan Pickford: 6/10

Pickford was key to keeping the scoreline intact by making crucial saves along the way. He could not do much about Ings’s strike or the late goal by Buendia. His distribution is visibly improving, but he could not help Everton from suffering a second defeat this campaign.

Mason Holgate: 7/10

Holgate has been a better player than last season, putting another composed display at the heart of the Everton defence. He looks better with Conor Coady and James Tarkowski alongside him at the back. Holgate made a terrific tackle to prevent Jacob Ramsey’s goal-scoring contribution to Ings.

Conor Coady: 6/10

Coady made his first start since signing for Everton during the week, and he visibly improved the this Toffees’ backline. He had some joy pinging long balls while showing an assuredness lacking from before. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers skipper brings organisation and leadership to the defence.

James Tarkowski: 5.5/10

Like Coady, Tarkowski provides a reliable presence at the back and brings in some leadership qualities previously missing. The former Burnley defender was aggressive at the back and kept Leon Bailey in check during the game. Unfortunate to have conceded the two goals the way they went in.

Nathan Patterson: 5/10

Patterson offers something different from the flank in a wing-back role. While he is still adjusting to the rigours of the Premier League, he showed enough quality to warrant a quality future ahead.

Abdoulaye Doucoure: 3.5/10

Doucoure was at fault for the first goal as he let Ings spin past him and strike beyond Pickford’s reach. He was substituted in the first half with an injury that adds to Lampard’s woes.

Alex Iwobi: 6/10

Iwobi put in another energetic display in the middle of the park, which is unconventional for his qualities. A hard-working outing, but with Onana in the side, the Nigerian international could be deployed further forward from the next game.

Vitaliy Mykolenko: 5.5/10

The goal line clearance off a shot by Buendia was the highlight of Mykolenko’s afternoon, but the Ukrainian defender was neat on the ball and looked set on the left-hand side. He will continue to improve with more games under his belt, and Everton seem to have made a good investment in him.

Dwight McNeil: 4/10

McNeil is still adjusting to his new surroundings and was not necessarily an effective outlet in the ide areas. He did create a chance for Demarai Gray but overhit the pass. He was taken off for Salomon Rondon, who did a bit to improve their fortunes.

Anthony Gordon: 7/10

Gordon lacked the physicality to get the better of Tyrone Mings or Diego Carlos, but his energy was unquestionable. His game did improve when he switched to the flanks, and the youngster is blossoming into a top-draw star for the Toffees.

Demarai Gray: 5/10

Gray was revered for shifting up a gear and making decisive contributions, which has been lacking for some time now in his game. He had a brilliant chance at the end of the first half to equalise but lacked a bit of concentration. He could only warm Martinez’s hands in the second half with a tame shot.

SUBSTITUTES

Tom Davies: 5/10

Davies always brings a different energy on the field, and he did come on the pitch earlier than anticipated due to Doucoure’s first-half injury. His most notable contribution was a well-timed tackle on Watkins outside the box.

Salomon Rondon: 3/10

His arrival changed the dynamics of how the Everton frontline functioned without any tangible effect. He had a decent chance late on to equalise, but his shot was tame.

Dele Alli: 4/10

Alli replaced Gray as Everton searched for an equaliser.

Amadou Onana: 7/10

Everton seem to have got a fantastic player on their hands. Onana might have lost the ball in the build-up to the second Aston Villa goal but soon forced the issue to get an equaliser via a Digne own goal. His presence drastically improved Everton’s output in the final third, which caused plenty of problems for Aston Villa, leading to a nervy finish.

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