Everton hasn't won at Villa Park in seven years, but a dominant first half was enough to see the club ease past Aston Villa, who's poor start to the season continuesEverton continued its impressive start to the season with a dominating display which saw it defeat Aston Villa 3-1.
Despite not having won at Villa park since 2005, a stunning opening goal from Steven Pienaar, a powerful header from Marouane Fellaini and a characteristic first time finish from Nikica Jelavic seemingly put Everton out of sight before the break.
With a quarter of an hour to go, new Moroccan midfielder Karim El Ahmadi claimed a consolation goal for the hosts, but Everton ran out deserved winners.
Aston Villa was looking to put some points on the board after losing their first game of the season to West Ham. Paul Lambert taking charge of his first game at Villa Park, but was still without key players Richard Dunne, Marc Albrighton and Gabby Agbonlahor, who are all out injured.
The Villans manager made three changes to his side, with Barry Bannan, Chris Herd and Nathan Delfouneso replacing Stephen Ireland, Brett Holman and Fabain Delph.
Everton has handed new signing Steven Naismith his first start since his move from Rangers, coming in for Tony Hibbert who missed the game with a neck injury and is the only alteration from their hard fought opening victory over Manchester United, with new attacker Kevin Mirallas having to wait a little while longer for his debut.
The match got off to a blistering start, with Pienaar putting Everton ahead in the opening minutes. The visitors displayed some patient build up around the Aston Villa box, before the ball found it’s way to Naismith, who teed the South African who took one touch to set himself and then curled the ball past Shay Given from 25 yards out.
Everton remained in command for the opening quarter of an hour, with Lambert’s men not quite getting over the shock of going down so early. However the home side grew into the game and soon showed a more intent.
Despite earning more possession, it was the Toffees who once again threatened to further their lead, with Darron Gibson attempting a looping volley from 30 yards that flew close over the bar.
Everton continued its dominance of the game, and just after the half hour mark, Feillani consolidated his side’s lead with a powerful header. The central midfielder got rose above the Villa defense to meet Phil Jagielka’s first time cross with a commanding header past the recently retired Republic of Ireland keeper, who despite getting a touch, could have done more to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
The Toffees further increased their lead just before half time, when Leighton Baines stormed past the full back on the left wing and pulled the ball back perfectly to Jelavic on the edge of the six yard box, who places one of his trademark one touch finishes into the back of the net.
As the sides came out for the seconds half, Villa made the only change bringing Delfouneso off for Australian Brett Holman.
The visitors began the second half as strongly as they finished the first, with Jelavic threatening Given’s goal early after the break, but a brave Nathan Baker block sent the ball out for a corner.
Aston Villa enjoyed a short spell of pressure five minutes into the half, and threatened with a low drilled Matthew Lowton cross, before Bannan had two attempts on goal blocked by the Everton defense.
In the 58th minute, Gibson performed the pass of the match so far to put Jelavic through on goal, however Ciaran Clark brought down the Croatian striker, and was sent off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity and in turn made Aston Villa’s afternoon much more difficult.
The host’s afternoon almost got worse when Sylvan Distin got on the end of a beautifully whipped in corner, but luckily striker Darren Bent was on the line to head the ball away.
Everton almost won a penalty soon after, when Jelavic went down on the edge of the box, however referee Michael Oliver gave the free kick, with replays confirming he made the correct decision.
With twenty minutes to go, David Moyes gave Mirallas his first taste of Premier League football, bringing him on for Gibson, and the Belgian almost scored with his first touch of the ball, nearly getting on the end of a fizzing cross across the box, but defender Ron Vlaar got there before the attacker to put it out for a corner.
With fifteen minutes to go, new signing El Ahmadi drove at the Everton defense through the middle of the park, and from 30 yards hit a forceful shot which Tim Howard couldn’t parry, but once more, the keeper probably should have done better.
Mirallas almost had his dream start when he got on the end of wonderful Seamus Coleman cross in the 87th minute, but the attacker had drifted half a yard offside, and the goal was disallowed.
In the last minute of the game, Aston Villa almost made the scoreline less flattering towards the visitors, when Andreas Weimann’s thumping shot hit the post, and Bent almost scored from the rebound but for Leighton Baine’s block.