Duncan Ferguson begins with a loss as Everton slump continues with Villa defeat
Premier League, Goodison Park - Everton 0 Aston Villa 1 (Buendia 45')
Lucas Digne of Aston Villa (obscured) is hit by an object thrown from the crowd after celebrating their sides first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Aston Villa at Goodison Park on January 22, 2022 in Liverpool, England
Everton were unable to arrest their slump in Duncan Ferguson’s first game back in his second spell as caretaker manager as Aston Villa sealed a 1-0 win at Goodison Park to move into the top half of the Premier League.
Both sides were fired-up in the first-half with strong challenges going in, but Steven Gerrard’s side had the better of the chances and eventually took the lead just before the break courtesy of Emi Buendia.
A corner was whipped in by Lucas Digne, and the Argentine did superbly to create a yard for himself with a quick run from the goalline to just outside the near post, before glancing a looping header over Jordan Pickford and Andros Townsend on the goal-line into the back of the net.
TALKING POINT - Encouragement for Everton despite another defeat
Yet another loss for Everton - their 11th league defeat of the season - has sapped the hopeful optimism from the fans following Duncan Ferguson stepping up once again to take the reigns on a caretaker basis. However, his side showed fight and determination in the second half and that surely has to be seen as a positive.
Everton went a bit more direct in their passages of play this afternoon, and proved to be a real threat from crosses in wide areas during the second phase of the game. Anthony Gordon proved to be a game-changer in this respect as the deliveries into the area from the substitute were right on the money.
The Toffees now go into the two-week winter break with four crucial games to look forward to when they return against sides that are around them: Brentford (H), Newcastle (A), Leeds (H) & Southampton (A). Taking a chunk of points from those fixtures may prove to be season-defining for Everton. Whether Duncan Ferguson will remain in charge for those remains to be seen.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Emiliano Buendia
Villa will hope Buendia's form continues following his move
Image credit: Getty Images
The diminutive Argentinian attacker produced yet another outstanding display for Aston Villa in this game, and proved to be the match-winner with his excellent header on the stroke of half-time - a chance that was only made possible because of his movement off the ball to create a pocket of space.
It is now in three consecutive games in which Buendia has produced performances of the highest quality, and the 25-year-old has improved a lot under Steven Gerrard's management.
Buendia had a total of four shots on goal during the match, with two of those efforts on target. He also made three successful dribbles in addition to four key tackles.
Everton: Pickford 6, Kenny 6, Mina 6, Holgate 6, Godfrey 6, Townsend 6, Doucoure 7, Gomes 6, Gray 7, Richarlison 6, Calvert-Lewin 6. Subs: Allan 6, Gordon 7, Onyango 6.
37’ - CHANCE FOR VILLA! - What a chance for Ollie Watkins! TyroneMings clips a long-ball over the top all the way into the opposing area, and Yerry Mina is nowhere for Everton to head clear. Watkins produces an excellent first-touch, but his finish is poor and he skews it wide of the far post after Jordan Pickford put him under pressure.
45+2’ - GOAL! (Emiliano Buendia) - Seconds after a Coutinho header forces a tipped save out of Pickford, the resulting corner is put in by Buendia! The Argentine does superbly to create a yard for himself with a quick run from the goalline to just outside the near post, before glancing a looping header over Pickford and Townsend on the goal-line into the back of the net!
61’ - OFF THE LINE! - A second consecutive Everton corner causes problems for Aston Villa and it is cleared off the line! Calvert-Lewin's flick on header from Anthony Gordon’s set-piece finds Ben Godfrey, but his header from a few yards out is headed out by Tyrone Mings right on the goal line!
68’ - CHANCE FOR EVERTON! - Chances in quick succession for the hosts! Gordon's corner from the left is met at the near post by Yerry Mina, but his header is millimetres wide of the upright!
Everton have now won just one of their last 13 league games.
Everton have recorded 19 points from their first 20 Premier League games this season, their lowest total at this stage since 1997-98 (17), a season they finished 17th – their joint-lowest ever Premier League finish.
Aston Villa have not lost to Everton in the Premier League since their return to the division in 2019 (W4, D2).