Aston Villa 2-0 Everton: Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi goals secure first win for Villa
Report and highlights as Villa secure their first top-flight win since February 2016
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 25/08/19 9:43pm
Aston Villa gained their first win back in the Premier League as goals from Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi secured a 2-0 victory over Everton on Friday Night Football.
Wesley, a club-record £22million signing from Club Brugge in the summer, easily found space inside the Everton box to calmly slot his first Villa goal (21) against the run of play.
Alex Iwobi struck the post with eight minutes remaining, and after a glaring miss from Theo Walcott, Villa clinched a late second on the break as substitute El Ghazi's shot crept under the body of Jordan Pickford (90+5).
The result lifts Villa up to 11th in the nascent Premier League table, with Everton's first defeat of the season consigning them to ninth ahead of the remaining fixtures this weekend.
Aston Villa: Heaton (7), Guilbert (7), Mings (7), Engels (7), Taylor (7), McGinn (7), Luiz (7), Grealish (7), Trezeguet (7), Jota (8), Wesley (8).
Subs: Elmohamady (6), El Ghazi (7).
Everton: Pickford (5), Coleman (5), Mina (5), Keane (6), Digne (6), Schneiderlin (5), Gomes (4), Richarlison (4), Sigurdsson (4), Bernard (5), Calvert-Lewin (4).
Subs: Walcott (5), Iwobi (7), Kean (7).
Man of the match: Wesley
How Villa kick-started their season
Marco Silva's side had the chance to go top of the table for the first time in 12 years with a victory, but in the record-extending 203rd meeting between two founding members of the Football League, it was Villa who kick-started their season.
Everton had not conceded in open play in their previous six Premier League games and for 582 minutes - but despite dominating the opening exchanges, a defensive lapse in concentration ended that impressive run.
Villa boss Dean Smith had spoken of his new signings needing to "earn the right" to play in the team - and Wesley, who scored 13 goals in his final season with Club Brugge, embarked on repaying the huge outlay on him with a clinical finish.
It started with some quick-thinking from Jack Grealish on a free-kick, and after the ball was worked wide to debutant Jota, the former Birmingham midfielder picked out the run of the Brazilian who escaped the attention of Michael Keane to flash his shot low beyond Pickford.
Jota was handed his first Aston Villa start, replacing Anwar El Ghazi on the left of a front three. Ahmed Elmohamady was dropped to the bench allowing Frederic Guilbert to make his debut.
There was one change for Everton - Jean-Philippe Gbamin was out of the squad altogether so there was a recall for Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a fine chance to level 13 minutes before the break, but after meeting Seamus Coleman's cross, the striker's shot was blocked on the line by Bjorn Engels.
Toffees manager Silva had seen few signs of improvement 15 minutes into the restart, summoning Iwobi and Moise Kean from the bench and reverting to a 4-4-2 formation.
Yerry Mina came close when his header from Lucas Digne's corner deflected a yard wide off the back of Engels as Everton began to probe. Iwobi then found space to take Keane's knock-down and beat Tom Heaton with his low shot, but the ball cannoned back off the foot of the post.
A frustrating evening for Silva's side was summed up when Walcott somehow skied his shot from six yards out - and it was compounded in stoppage time when El Ghazi took John McGinn's pass to tuck his shot beneath Pickford.
February 6 2016 was the last time Villa won a Premier League fixture - a 2-0 victory over Norwich, 1,294 days and 16 top-flight games ago. But, with Grealish ending his record of suffering defeat in 20 consecutive Premier League matches, Smith will hope this is the first of many.
Dean Smith: "The atmosphere was tremendous, it was on Saturday too and it takes you back to Wembley the 'Sweet Caroline'. It was hard-earned, they started very brightly and were quicker to the ball than us. We grew into the game but always looked a threat on the break.
"I said yesterday, 'Wes was only one behind Mo Salah', he's level now! There's 14 centre-forwards probably who will go to Tottenham and not score. He's a good player, we've been watching him for a long time and I'm glad we've got him. He was a handful."
Marco Silva: "We dominated early on, created some half chances, and after the first time they got in our box they scored. Our players were aware about the fast free-kicks, we planned it, they knew, and our focus was not there at that moment.
"After that our alignment was not the best. We should follow the player, but even after that we had a clear chance with Calvert-Lewin, they cleared it off the line. In the second half we changed some things, but we still dominated.
"They played with nine players trying to stop us, but even when we went 4-4-2 we created enough chances to change the result for us. We didn't deserve to lose in my opinion - we dominated the game, created more chances but we didn't score and then you can't win matches."
Gary Neville said: "Football matches are decided by moments, and in the key moments Everton fell short in quality and ruthlessness.
"Villa had a little bit more intensity and purpose, and playing in front of their home fans - we've been here since 2pm and the home fans coming here couldn't wait for tonight.
"It felt like a special moment. It's too early for a must-win game but it did feel like they needed the points on the board.
"The players kept their concentration in an emotionally-charged atmosphere and did really well.
"Andre Gomes, who to be fair I know very well, his passing today to be fair was woeful. You [Jamie Carragher] said: 'Are there two Andre Gomeses? Or is it his brother?'
"So today, a little bit of subtley missing, a mentality thing, a bit of quality. I think Marco Silva will be so frustrated with that today as it was a reminder of last season.
"And he will not want to go through that again and it was a big second half for Everton to prove that they had put last season behind them and progressed. And that just sets them back a little bit."
Man of the match - Wesley
Everton have designs on breaking into the top six this campaign, and while that won't be achieved if they continue to switch off in the manner they did for Wesley's goal, the striker's movement capped a hugely impressive display.
No player produced more key passes (two) or had more shots (two) than the Villa man, but it was the manner in which he linked up with McGinn and Grealish that will have pleased Smith the most.
After taking his one clear chance, Wesley played a key role in setting up Villa's late second, and Jamie Carragher said: "It's an easy decision for me who's man of the match.
"Wesley's been the best player on the pitch. He came into the game off the back of a bit of harsh criticism but his hold-up play has been excellent and at times he's bullied the Everton centre-backs."
- Everton have lost back to back Premier League games against newly-promoted opponents (also 0-2 vs Fulham in April) for the first time since August 2011.
- Excluding own-goals, none of Aston Villa's first 1,079 goals in the Premier League were scored by Brazilians - each of their last two have been scored by Brazilian players (Douglas Luiz and Wesley).
- Jota has been involved in 21 goals in 32 league appearances under manager Dean Smith across his spells at Brentford and Aston Villa (12 goals, 9 assists).
Aston Villa travel to face Crewe Alexandra in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday night, followed by a trip to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League next Saturday.
Everton are away to Lincoln in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football (kick-off: 7.45pm), before Wolves visit Goodison Park on Super Sunday, also live on Sky Sports Premier League (kick-off: 2pm).