Football News

Early relegation fears for Everton and unwanted 68-year-old record as Aston Villa win 4-0

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:00, 20 August 2023

Everton continued their miserable start with a 4-0 loss at Aston Villa this afternoon.

Sean Dyche’s men only maintained their club’s Premier League status on the final day last season. A relatively quiet summer transfer activity hasn’t alleviated concern from supporters and temperatures are certain to be raised following this performance.

Arnaut Danjuma, one of four new faces, started on the bench at Villa Park before substituting Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who came off injured before half-time, in fact since the start of last season, Calvert-Lewin has completed 90 minutes just four times in England’s top division.

By then Unai Emery’s men already raced into a 2-0 lead. John McGinn put the hosts in front before Douglas Luiz doubled their lead from the spot after Ollie Watkins was absolutely clattered by Jordan Pickford which is becoming a familiar sight as since making his PL debut for Everton in 2017/18, no goalkeeper has given away more penalties in the competition than him (five – level with Ben Foster).

Furthermore, only Fulham (8) and Brighton (7) have conceded more penalty goals in the Premier League since the start of last season than Everton (6). It all but sealed their win as Villa had won 36 of the 37 previous Premier League home games in which they have been 2+ goals ahead at half-time, the only exception being a 4-4 draw with Leicester in February 1995.

When it rains, it pours. Alex Iwobi came off with a hamstring injury minutes after the break. No sooner as Neal Maupay came on Leon Bailey — who assisted McGinn’s effort – made it 3-0. “How hard have Villa had to work to get to this scoreline? Not very,” came Andy Hinchcliffe’s thoughts on Sky Sports commentary.

Incredibly all six of Bailey’s Premier League goals have been at Villa Park, the joint-most a player has scored in the competition with 100% coming at the same stadium, alongside Roman Bednár at the Hawthorns, John McGinlay at Burnden Park, and Paul Rogers at Bramall Lane.

Those who had been cheering in blue saw enough and subsequently headed for the exit. They missed Jhon Durán’s first Premier League goal which came 50 seconds after coming on and it proved to be the quickest a Villa substitute has scored in a Premier League match since John Carew against Everton in October 2009 (46 seconds).

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“The throw-in from Ashley Young is diabolical! Michael Keane wasn’t ready for it…it’s just appalling, it’s disgraceful defending,” was Hinchcliffe’s response.”It’s far too easy for Everton to be ripped open. You can set a team up and have decent players on paper, but when they go out and perform like this, what can you do?”

Everton never looked like turning it around meaning their boss Dyche is winless in his last 38 top-flight games when conceding first (with his last such victory coming against Villa in Jan 2021). As touched upon Everton’s lack of spending is a concern. They’ve spent less money than any other Premier League club this window so far (£12m) while Dyche watches his former team, newly-promoted Burnley, splash £77m on new signings.

Dipping back into the market has to be a must considering, across all 20 Premier League clubs, only Sheffield United (10) have more injured players than Everton (8) currently.

Emery, though, would have been pleased with his side’s response following last weekend’s humbling 5-1 loss away to Newcastle United which greatly tempered the lofty expectations surrounding this team. By seeing this game out, with no trouble, Villa won an eighth consecutive home Premier League game, their longest home league winning run since February 1990 (run of nine). The Villans have shipped just two goals in this spell, and none from open play.

That setback at St. James’ Park felt like a historic loss which this one certainly was for their guests. The last time Everton started a top-flight season losing each of their first two league games without scoring a single goal was in 1955/56. Next up are games against Wolves and Sheffield United, it’s too early to say they are season-defining matches but they are a huge test of character and the mood is reaching rock-bottom levels.

“At what point can we start protesting against the board again?” wrote Reddit user Guy_Incognito123 on the Everton sub.

“Because this is a team that is definitely getting relegated this year unless things change drastically now.”