Normally, a team who’s only won 1 in the last 9 at home require a visit from the charitable Aston Villa! Well – NOT THIS TIME!! Smith-ball was back!

Aston Villa landed at Goodison Park with a high tempo swagger and confidence in their play. We were fully deserving of the 3 points we took back down the M6, thanks to goals from Ollie Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi.

UTV Podcast team member Ryan Mckeown rates our boys in Claret and Blue.

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Emi Martinez – 7

Nowhere near as busy as this opposite number in what was a relatively quiet game for the Argentine.

Had no chance with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s powerful header for Everton’s equaliser, but did produced a terrific save at point blank range to deny the England International from doubling his tally.

Matty Cash – 8

Returned to the starting line-up following his one-game suspension and brought all of his commitment and energy, rarely troubled defensively and supported the attack very well.

Swung in a delightful ball for Ollie Watkins, only for the Villa striker to be denied by an impressive reaction save Jordan Pickford.

Ezri Konsa – 7

Slightly shaky display tonight compared to the outstanding performances we’ve become accustomed to this season.

Gave the ball away on more than one occasion – which is rare, and allowed Calvert-Lewin to get in front of him for his diving header attempt.

Regained composure in the second half and finished strongly.

Tyrone Mings – 8.5

An excellent display from Tyrone Mings. Defensive brilliant, and shackled Calvert-Lewin in the air throughout the night!

Mings’ distribution tonight was extremely effective, consistently pinging balls behind the Everton back-line to the ever-willing runner that is Ollie Watkins -who then attacked dangerously!

Furthered showcased his leadership attributes in front of the watching England Manager.

Matt Targett – 8

What a great week for Matt Targett – signed a two-year extension and grabbed 3 points on match-day!!

Shook off an early knock which left Villa fans rather nervous. Targett’s biggest improvement from last season is the physical side to his game and he wasn’t found wanting here either – pocketing Richarlison with ease!

Douglas Luiz – 6

Failing to find the form from the start of the season, and not forgetting the efforts of the previous campaign, post-Project Restart, but has the young midfielder just ran out of steam?

Linked up and passed well with the defence as we looked to play out from the back, constantly found Barkley well, with precise balls through the Everton midfield.

Poor yellow card midway through the first half when he had the attacker heading to the corner flag – saying that, it was joy on my WhatsApp group as a few of my mates had money on a Luiz booking!

John McGinn – 6.5

A decent performance from the Scottish International. Hit a couple of long range drives in the first half which didn’t trouble the busy Jordan Pickford.

A box-to-box and high energy display helped an improved Villa midfield, the only let down was spells of misplaced passes which needs improvement.

Ross Barkley – 7.5

Now – this is the Ross Barkley we’ve all been craving for!

Barkley, out to impress against his boyhood club, was fired up from the first whistle. It was great to see him getting on the ball, running at the defence with his head up, pinging balls to his teammates and having goal attempts.

Unlucky with a low left-footed drive which struck the foot of the post at the Gwladys End.

However, he got caught ball watching for Everton’s opener as Dominic Calvert-Lewin spun away and buried his header!

Bertrand Traore – 7.5

Not the only one to be shut out from Jordan Pickford in the first half, Pickford was out quickly to Traore’s feet to smothered his first chance and saved magnificently on the follow up as Traore attempted lob was heading for the top corner.

Traore executed a blockbuster piece of skill to beat Allan on the touchline before laying the ball off to Barkley, whose low-drive smashed the foot of the post.

Next season, if Traore can find more consistency to his game and improve his work rate, then we’ve got a real diamond of a player – £17 million, wasn’t it? Will seem like a steal!

Anwar El Ghazi – 8

EL GOALZI at it again! 8 for the season!

Banished the memories of his last visit to Goodison Park in which he was accused of not putting his body on the line to convert a chance to see us go 0-2 up!

This time, much much better! Continued the form he showed against West Brom and backed it up here with the winner, he could have had an earlier goal only for his effort to cannon off the crossbar!

Repeating his December form when he was prematurely dropped from the starting line-up, hopefully, he gets a run of games till the end of the season to try to hit double figures – now that would be a very good achievement from an Aston Villa midfielder.

Ollie Watkins – 9

Created the opener for himself with a strong and committed press of the Everton back-line, he robbed Mason Holgate, battled strongly and executed the finish superbly! GET IN OLLIE!

Unlucky not to add to his total when he inventively connected to Matty Cash’s deep cross with his tight to guide an attempt goalwards only for Pickford to save well. Watkins then flashed one wide of the post just before half-time following good work from Barkley.

Ollie ran the channels so well, always offering an out ball for Mings and Konsa when playing the ball from deep – an outstanding all-round performance in front of the watching Gareth Southgate.

Substitutes

Jacob Ramsey (on for Traore – 87th minute) – N/A

Keinan Davis (on for El Ghazi – 90th minute) N/A

Both wide men taken off to kill time!

Subs not used:

Heaton, Elmohamady, Taylor, Wesley, Nakamba, Hause, Philogene-Bidace

Goals:

AVFC | Watkins (13)

EFC | Calvert-Lewin (19)

AVFC | El Ghazi (80)


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