Thrilling but brief cameo inspires Aston Villa in win over Everton – player ratings

© PA Images Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins celebrate Aston Villa goal against Everton

Aston Villa took some steps in the right direction after an indifferent start to the season by ending Everton’s unbeaten start under Rafael Benitez with a 3-0 win.

Villa have not been consistent in these opening weeks after a busy summer, but found their stride when Everton visited. It was a competitive game but the scoreline was fairly wide in the end. Matty Cash opened the scoring before Leon Bailey created one goal, which was diverted into his own net by Lucas Digne, and scored another.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez: Coming straight back into the side after his late return from the international break, only faced one shot on target as he kept a clean sheet. 6

Ezri Konsa: Made some interventions in his own box and was a threat in the other as Villa used some interesting set piece routines. 7

Axel Tuanzebe: Regularly alert, was confident to make last-ditch challenges when required. 7

Tyrone Mings: Had a strong first half an hour when Villa had to withstand some pressure, showing bravery in duels. Didn’t always time his challenges correctly though beyond then. Certainly did more good than harm to their defensive efforts overall, though, rising to the fore in the second half. 8

Matty Cash: Delivery a little off in the opening stages and sometimes switched off defensively. A chance came his way after the half hour mark, which he pulled wide with his left foot. Wasted another opportunity to create late in the first half with a wayward cross. But none of that mattered when he fired in the opening goal with a powerful left-footed strike after a busy performance. 7

Jacob Ramsey: Showed good feet on occasion but couldn’t quite find full spaces until Villa got in front. Tried to curl a shot in shortly after Villa’s second goal but could have picked a pass instead. 7

Douglas Luiz: An energetic presence in the middle of the park and liked to get on the ball. 7

John McGinn: Tried to drive through the midfield, but was suffering from a concussion issue and had to go off in the first half. 6

Matt Targett: Made a crucial intervention to clear a dangerous Everton cross as the game became more stretched in the last 10 minutes of the first half. After the break his crossing ability was useful. 7

Danny Ings: Had a chance at the end of a well worked Villa set piece but couldn’t find the target from a crowded area. Quickly steadied himself and was involved in chance creation as he put in a shift, without much falling to him. But made a sublime assist for the third goal with a looping pass on the bounce to gain some reward. 7

Ollie Watkins: Led the line with energy and tried to link up, but didn’t get an excessive amount of touches. 6


Marvelous Nakamba (on for McGinn, 40 mins): Introduced as an emergency measure in the first half but didn’t make a major impact. 6

Leon Bailey (on for Targett, 61): Made an almost instant impact after coming on by curling in a corner that went in via Digne’s head. Excited in open play thereafter with his pace and leathered in Villa’s third goal. Had to be withdrawn due to injury, but made the most of his cameo. 8

Ashley Young (on for Bailey, 82): N/A

Bertrand Traore (on for Cash, 86): N/A

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Asmir Begovic: Coming in for his first league appearance for Everton, made a brilliant save from point blank range in the opening five minutes after a Villa set piece. Had little chance of stopping any of the goals. 6

Ben Godfrey: Playing at right-back, had a moment to forget when slipping and allowing Villa in for a chance in the first half. Given a torrid time when Bailey came on for the hosts after the break and picked up a booking for bringing him down. 4

Yerry Mina: Often alert to cut out danger at various heights, but couldn’t stem the tide of Villa attacks in the second half. 6

Michael Keane: Ready for a physical battle from the start, was over eager when giving away an early free kick but wasn’t far away with a header at the other end. Wasn’t at the forefront as much in the second half. 6

Lucas Digne: Wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Seamus Coleman, got up and down the left flank. Had mixed success with his link-up play, sometimes giving possession away. Tried to clear a corner but it skimmed off his head for Villa’s second goal. 5

Double trouble for #EFC!

Leon Bailey whips in a corner and Lucas Digne heads it into his own net!

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 18, 2021

Allan: Made some useful interceptions as the pace of the game increased, always keeping up. Showed good control with his range of passing. 7

Abdoulaye Doucoure: Began to break up play early on and kept things tidy with his passing. 6

Alex Iwobi: Deployed in a more advanced position than expected when the teamsheets were submitted, saw plenty of the ball in an industrious first half. Moved even further up in the latter stages of the game, which were quieter for him. 6

Andros Townsend: Had some frustrating spells, for example striking a free kick into the wall and incorrectly aiming a cross in the second half. Still kept plugging away and tried to create. 5

Demarai Gray: Almost put the ball on a plate for Rondon after a counter attack but couldn’t quite get the weight right. Showed a different side to his game by outmuscling and outwitting Konsa before creating another chance. Took on a shot himself midway through the second half but couldn’t hit the target. 7

Salomon Rondon: Will have big boots to fill every time he deputises for Dominic Calvert-Lewin but painted a decent picture of himself with his work rate, without getting many clearcut chances. 6


Andre Gomes (on for Rondon, 63): Saw some of the ball but with little reward as the game began to drift away from Everton. 6

Anthony Gordon (on for Allan, 72): N/A

Jonjoe Kenny (on for Godfrey, 80): N/A

Tom Davies (on for Iwobi, 81): N/A

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