Villa Cripples Everton With Three Goals In Nine Minutes
Aston Villa scored three goals in nine minutes as a brilliant second-half display saw Everton’s unbeaten run ended at Villa Park.
As one of only five Premier League teams still unbeaten before Saturday’s game, the Toffees fell apart in the second half as the hosts deservedly took all three points.
After a lacklustre first half with few chances, the game sprung to life in the 66th minute when Villa full-back Matty Cash fired past stand-in Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with a fine left-footed finish.
The Toffees conceded again three minutes later as substitute Leon Bailey’s corner was headed into his own net by Lucas Digne at the near post.
Bailey added a third 15 minutes from full-time after showing great composure to nod the ball down before finding the roof of the net with a thunderous strike.
After a disappointing start to the season, Dean Smith’s side move up to 10th in the table with their second victory of the campaign.
After a brilliant second-half display themselves against Burnley on Monday night, Everton were unable to repeat their performance at Villa Park and rarely threatened going forward, managing just one shot on target.
Going into the match Rafael Benitez was forced into three unwanted changes as the Toffees suffered from their midweek victory, losing Jordan Pickford and Richarlison to shoulder and knee injuries respectively. Their preparations were further hampered when club captain Seamus Coleman was withdrawn from the squad after struggling with a hamstring injury in Friday’s training session.
The trio, who had started every league game this season, were replaced by Begovic, Alex Iwobi and deadline-day signing Salomon Rondon, who led the line on his first start for Everton.
The experienced Begovic was called into action early doors, as he made a sharp, reactive save to deny a powerful Tyrone Mings header from Villa’s first corner of the match.
But the Toffees were poor at the other end and their solitary shot on target fell to Andros Townsend, whose long-range effort was straight into the path of Villa’s returning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Everton’s frustrating afternoon was summed up when, at 0-0, Demarai Gray looked through on goal after spinning past Ezri Konsa before being pulled back by the defender on the edge of the box, only for referee Craig Pawson to allow play to continue.
Victory would have seen Benitez enjoy his best start to a Premier League season, but his side lacked a cutting edge as they played the final 30 minutes with no recognised striker on the pitch after Rondon was replaced by Andre Gomes.
Not long after, the floodgates began to open as Villa sprung into life.
Smith’s side are now unbeaten in five league games against Everton since their 2019 return to the Premier League, and are enjoying their longest run without defeat at Villa Park in the top flight since January 2015.