Aston Villa 4-0 Everton: Toffees destroyed by rampant Villa as Calvert-Lewin is injured again

With both sides suffering opening day losses, Everton travelled to Villa Park to face an Aston Villa side looking to build on a run of seven wins in a row at home. Whilst the Toffees have their own four-match unbeaten away record, the Villans have had the best of this fixture in recent times, completing a double over Sean Dyche’s side in the last two seasons.

AVL: Martinez; Cash, Konza, Torres, Digne; Kamara, Luiz; Bailey, Diaby, McGinn; Watkins

EVE: Pickford; Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Young; Garner, Gueye, Onana; Iwobi, Doucoure, Calvert-Lewin

Having fallen away so badly at St James’ Park against Newcastle in their 5-1 defeat, Aston Villa were galvanised from the off – playing with attacking purpose as they looked to gain an early advantage. John McGinn latched onto a neat Leon Bailey pass to drive an effort narrowly wide of Jordan Pickford’s near post.

Sean Dyche would have been pleased with his side’s showing at Goodison last weekend despite losing 1-0 to Fulham. The Toffees had created numerous opportunities but just lacked a killer cutting edge to convert their dominance into points with several chances spurned.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin returned to the attack to provide Dyche with a much needed focal point, and it would be the England striker who would produce the game’s first moment of note, but for all the wrong reasons. A collision with Argentine World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez after an Abdoulaye Doucoure cross left the striker injured, eventually being replaced in the 36th minute.

In the meantime, the home side were slick in attack, often finding space in the Everton final third and they were to be rewarded for their inventive build-up play. McGinn latched onto the end of a Leon Bailey pull-back after Moussa Diaby had been given far too much room by the Everton midfield – nestling an effort in the back of the net

With the hosts’ tails up, the scorelines soon doubled as Aston Villa scored a second goal from the penalty spot. Pickford made a hash of punching Matty Cash’s in-swinging cross, taking out Villa forward Ollie Watkins in the process and giving referee Anthony Taylor no choice but to award a spot kick. Brazilian Douglas Luiz made no mistake from the spot, drilling his low effort into the right-hand corner past a despairing Pickford.

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Dejected and off the pace, Everton struggled but toiled. The energetic Aurnaut Danjuma came close, testing Martinez just before the break as he shot from an acute angle to garner ripples of applause from the visiting support – already contemplating their long journey back to Merseyside.

Dyche’s introduction of the young Lewis Dobbin after the break illustrated the fragility and lack of depth in the Everton bench, as the visitors tripled their lead. Ex-Toffee Lucas Digne had been a key figure throughout his time on Merseyside, but teed up Leon Bailey from a throw-in, with the Jamaican converting a low effort from just outside the six-yard box.

It would just not be Everton’s day, with Alex Iwobi forced off with a hamstring injury off the ball in the buildup to the goal. Both sides had certainly been shrouded by injury problems, with Villa having seven first-team players ruled out for this clash – including Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia.

The last thing Unai Emery would want would be further injury-related complications ahead of a Europa Conference League playoff trip to Hibernian on Wednesday night – but that is what he would get, with both Bailey and Philippe Coutinho succumbing to nasty muscular problems as the half went on.

It would not spoil the hosts’ day however, as they added a fourth to compound the visitors misery. Everton were the masters of their own downfall, with former Villan Ashley Young embarrassed as his throw failed to find Keane – allowing gleeful substitute forward Jhon Duran to latch onto the loose ball and slot under an abject Pickford for his first goal for Emery’s side.

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Martinez went on to show why he is a World Cup winner in the last ten minutes, denying replacement Neil Maupay’s volley from close range to keep his clean sheet intact. Truthfully, it was a rare foray forward for the visitors – who were well beaten on the day.

The Toffees will now move on to crucial six-pointers against Wolves and Sheffield United at the foot of the table, knowing that they need to begin picking up the points if they’re to avoid being dragged into yet another relegation battle. With Villa’s goal difference now intact once more, they’ll turn their attention to Wednesday’s UECL clash against Hibernian before travelling to Turf Moor on Sunday.