Villa Return To Winning Ways With A 4-0 Victory Over Woeful Everton

Aston Villa 4-0 Everton

If Villa’s opening-day defeat to Newcastle was a warning, it was certainly heeded. The performance against Everton was disciplined, composed and (importantly) at key moments clinical. It was most certainly a warranted and welcome return to winning ways.

Villa were rampant from the off, forcing successive early corners against a visiting side that rapidly appeared ill-equipped for what lay ahead. In contrast, we were purposeful with our possession and it felt obvious that our growing control of the game was building towards a lead.

That lead came inside 20 minutes, after good work from Luiz, Bailey worked a precision ball into the path of McGinn. The Scotland captain made no mistake, volleying home the opener at The Holte End.

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We didn’t have to wait long for the second, after Everton ‘keeper Pickford inexplicably fouled Watkins in the area. It looked like a stone wall penalty live, despite Pickford’s remonstrations, and was confirmed after a brief VAR check.

Though it was perhaps a surprise to see Douglas Luiz standing over the spotkick, the Brazilian made no mistake, firing the ball into the bottom corner. Pickford was further rewarded with a yellow for his attempts to put Luiz off, which was of course, all in vain.

It could have been even worse for the visitors before the break. Diaby, already impressing with clever movement and link-up play with Bailey had two great chances. The first he’ll be disappointed to have fired tamely for Pickford to easily save after a smart Villa move. The second effort, a wonderful volley at the far post, was well saved by the England keeper onto the near post.

The second half saw little in the way of much impetus from the visitors and Villa picked up from where they had left off.

Leon Bailey left the result in little doubt barely 5 minutes after the restart, latching onto a poor attempted clearance to fire an effort between the goalkeeper’s legs. It was for many in the travelling support to reconsider how they might spend the remainder of their Sunday.

Everton were by now well beaten, but this gave Emery the chance to freshen up proceedings with Duran, Tielemans, Carlos and Coutinho appearing.

It was the Colombian, so raw yet intriguing last season, who grabbed Villa’s fourth on 75 minutes. Seizing upon yet more calamitous defending, Duran took a heavy touch, before composing himself to coolly slot home his first Premier League goal for the club.

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Given Villa’s rotten injury luck of late, it would not be in keeping if there wasn’t something to be concerned about. After a brief but decent cameo, Coutinho went down after what appeared an accidental knee to his upper leg.

The former Barcelona midfielder was in immediate agony, and after on-field treatment, struggled to weight bare even with the support of two Villa staff. Initial reports suggest a hamstring injury that will sideline the now injury-plagued Brazilian for a number of weeks.

Overall though, this was a composed and deceptively important victory to get us off the mark for the 2023/24 campaign. Our aspirations remain lofty, but after further investment in the summer, it is games such as today that simply must be won. It’s therefore extremely promising that we did it with such composure.


The Terrace View, as you’re sure to know, is Villa’s controversial ‘premium’ viewing product, planted plumb in the middle of The Holte End.

Today was its grand unveiling, for those supporters who had shelled out not insignificant extra cash to take in the glory of Villa Park in more comfortable surroundings. Good luck to those fans, they are entitled and are free to spend their money on what they wish.

This blog takes a dim view on the gentrification of football however, not because improvements and innovation are to be readily dismissed, but it’s how you implement change. Overlooking Villa’s dubious consultation to achieve this, there is now an ugly (and it is an undeniable eyesore) in the middle of our great home stand that is also out of step with the times.

It’s a visible and awkward social divide, introduced at a time of soaring inequality, not just in our country, but one which is stark in Birmingham itself. Birmingham has some of the poorest wards, has seen foodbanks become the norm and operates within a local authority area that declared a cost of living emergency.

Supporters have contacted The Villa Underground on social media to make the point that the club must operate in a commercial way and that it cannot be held responsible for the social problems of the day. This, perhaps, over simplifies the matter just a little.

For all of the progress on the pitch, which is welcome and of course needs to be sustainable, there is a growing chargesheet of unpalatable commercial choices being made. Those choices repeatedly seek to extract every penny from often the most loyal, but arguably least wealthy of the club’s income streams, its supporters.

The marginal income gains (if there are actually any) from offerings such as The Terrace surely do more harm than good. What the club may get from these few and exclusive tickets, must surely be offset by the matchday (and non-matchday) impression and experience for the vast majority around the ground? Villa Park is our proud home, but it is light years behind many modern stadia in the Premier League and Europe, sometimes in even basic amenity.

The club should also reflect on its social values. It has a foundation that does admirable work, but is restricted by resources which it raises. The charitable figures are dwarfed by those of the significant TV income that the club receives, as just one example.

We are a massive club, with massive reach. If we are to succeed in our ambitions of achieving an ascendency in football, we must not lose our moral compass along the way.