Smiles were brought back to Goodison Park as the Everton faithful witnessed their team finally announce themselves for this season. The team’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa was much needed, and much deserved.
Roberto Martinez had clearly worked hard with the team on the training pitch to improve the defensive side of Everton’s game – an area which had been the team’s Achilles heel in their relatively poor start to the season.
For Aston Villa it is now their fourth Premier League loss in a row. It’s not going well for them at present.
Here is how the players performed.
Tim Howard: 7
The Everton keeper had little to do over the course of the 90 minutes but commanded his area well and looked a lot more confident than in previous matches
Seamus Coleman: 8
The Irishman brought a dynamism to Everton’s right flank which had been missing in past fixtures – it being Tony Hibbert who had been filling in for the injured Coleman. Lasting the full 90 minutes, and notching Everton’s third goal, it was a dream return.
Antolin Alcaraz: 7
In his first start of the Premier League campaign, Alcaraz performed brilliantly. Composed with and without the ball, he also made some vital interventions. It is likely he’ll be kept in the starting XI after his performance.
Phil Jagielka: 8
One of the standout performers in the match, he scored Everton’s first which gave his team the momentum they needed to take control. Consistently solid and aware throughout the match at the heart of the defence. Well played, Phil.
Leighton Baines: 8
Baines contributed two assists, one of which was from his weaker foot- a cross coming from the right wing position- this epitomises his performance. He was everywhere, either initiating or contributing to most of Everton’s build up play. So too his effort can’t be doubted in defensive actions, always pressing or busting a gut to get back in position.
Gareth Barry: 8
Barry had a very good game. As usual he kept things simple- always available to receive the ball and move it on. He mopped up well and occasionally found sharp forward passes to begin attacks. His performance greatly contributed to Everton’s control in the game.
James McCarthy: 7
On his return from injury, McCarthy paired up well with Barry in the Everton’s double pivot and put himself about. He worked hard and kept things ticking over.
Ross Barkley: 7
Another returnee after a long-term absence through injury – Barkley showcased his talents and contributed and assist for Romelu Lukaku but was inevitably rusty after such a long time out. Showed promise that he can return to the level he was at before his injury.
Steven Naismith: 6
Naismith didn’t have a bad game, but his influence was largely restricted to pressing and keeping the play going in the final third. He buzzed around well.
Leon Osman: 7
Involved in a lot of build-up play, Osman showed good technique and created a bunch of chances.
Romelu Lukaku: 7
Took a while to exert his influence in the match but when he did he showed good athleticism, made good runs and proved a willingness to drop deep and get involved in the build-up of attacks.
Steven Pienaar (66’) – 7
Samuel Eto’o (87’) – 6
Darron Gibson (92’) – N/A
Brad Guzan: 5
It certainly wasn’t his day. He conceded a cheap goal by letting in Lukaku’s uncreative shot early on in the second half which gave Everton more confidence to go on and win the match.
Alan Hutton: 7
One of Aston Villa’s better performers, he covered his flank well and was often Villa’s main threat going forward.
Ron Vlaar: 5
Didn’t command his backline as well as we’ve come to expect from the Dutch international. Poor game.
Nathan Baker: N/A
Was substituted off early on in the match.
Aly Cissokho: 5
Often found himself in good crossing positions but wasted the majority of him. Looked shaky.
Ashley Westwood: 6
Westwood done his job well and was another one of Villa’s better performers. Kept things ticking over and started some attacks but ultimately was couldn’t be a stand out player in a team that had so little control in midfield.
Kieron Richardson: 6
Showed his versatility. He had a solid first and second half at central and left midfield respectively.
Tom Cleverley: 6
Contributed little to Villa’s build up play but showed good tenacity, putting in tackles, blocks and interceptions.
Charles N’Zogbia: 4
A truly bad game for N’Zogbia. The winger showed a lack of interest in pressing and defending when needed but also offered nothing in attack. He lost possession cheaply in midfield which led to Everton’s second goal. His substitution on the 63rd minute was well overdue.
Gabriel Agbonlahor: 5
Showed his trademark pace and tenacity but struggled to have any influence in the game.
Christian Benteke: 6
In his first game back for Villa since March, Benteke often looked frustrated and a bit off the pace. However, his desire to score and natural ability was displayed which will give the Aston Villa support hope that their team’s fortunes will change.
Ciaran Clark (26’) – 5
Andi Wiemann (63’) – 6
Joe Cole (81’) – 5