Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Anwar El Ghazi stuns Toffees with a late curling attack to dent European hopes
Carlo Ancelotti has had numerous victories in the San Siro and Bernabeu during his great career, but Goodison Park causes him a lot of trouble.
The Italian dreamed of taking Everton to the Champions League and has one of the best away records in the Premier League.
But they achieve nothing if they collapse so regularly on their own soil. This was a fantastic treat on Saturday night, one of those games neither team deserves to lose, but Everton does and their hopes in the top four are now over, eight points behind Chelsea.
Anwar El Ghazi scored a stunning winner and took Aston Villa’s victory over Everton on Saturday
Villa’s winger found the space to crawl into the top right corner in the 80th minute
Everton had a strong spell, but individual mistakes and moments of naivety detracted from their chances
MATCH FACTS / PLAYER REVIEWS
Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford 7: Coleman 6, Godfrey 6, Holgate 5, Digne 7; Gomes 5 (Delph 69 6), Allan 6; Iwobi 7 (Bernard 76), Sigurdsson 6.5 (King 82), Richarlison 6; Calvert-Lewin 7
Subs unused: Olsen (Gk), Virginia (Gk), Keane, Mina, Nkounkou, Davies
Target: Calvert-Lewin 19
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez 6.5; Cash 6, Konsa 6, Mings 7, Targett 6; Luiz 6, McGinn 6; Traore 8 (Ramsey 88), Barkley 7, El Ghazi 7; Watkins 7.5
Subs unused: Heaton (Gk), Taylor, Nakamba, Elmohamady, Hause, Bidace, Wesley, Davis
Target: Watkins 13, El Ghazi 80
Booked: Luiz, El Ghazi
Referee: Simon Hooper 7
Evertonians don’t have to look far to see why. Everton has won just one of the last eight in the league at Goodison, beating eight times – a record since the Premier League has been cut to 20 teams.
Against an Aston Villa side nurturing their own European hopes, the final score could have been five.
But after England strikers Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin exchanged early blows with a goal each, there was a wait until the 80th minute for the decider when Anwar El Ghazi pulled the trigger from the edge of the penalty area to keep Jordan Pickford unlikely. to give. .
“I thought it was a very entertaining game,” said winning Villa boss Dean Smith.
It was certainly one of the best Ollie Watkins performances for us. He has always been one of the best forwards in the Premier League and now his shifting game is improving and adding goals.
Ollie Watkins lingered early and took advantage of Mason Holgate’s mistake at the back to slide in low
‘He always beat himself up when he missed opportunities. He got over that. It’s a sign of a really hungry player. ‘
Everton may have felt it wouldn’t be their night when James Rodriguez came out injured in warm-up and had to be replaced shortly by Alex Iwobi.
Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate formed a young mid-half couple while the more experienced Michael Keane and Yerry Mina stayed on the couch and Watkins messed them up and could have taken a hat-trick with a little more restraint.
The die was thrown after 13 minutes, which turned out to be bad luck especially for Holgate. There was little pressure on him as he comfortably got a square pass on the edge of his sixteen, but inexplicably returned to his own goal and his pocket was picked by Watkins.
The Villa forward stumbled when Holgate tried to reclaim the situation with a tackle on the last gasp, but continued his run instead of dropping and was rewarded with a low finish past Pickford.
It was the 25-year-old’s 15th goal in an impressive debut season at the Premier League club and he should be on Gareth Southgate’s England team now that it has expanded to 26 players.
A little later, Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed in the equalizer from Lucas Digne’s corner
The striker took his 15th goal of the season and was a threat to the Villa center-backs
So does Calvert-Lewin, who quickly led Everton level with his 20th of the season, but only his second goal in eight games.
Lucas Digne’s corner kick floated to the far post where Calvert-Lewin beat a group of players including his former Everton teammate Ross Barkley to head in.
The early goals provide a remarkably open game. Watkins was rejected three times by excellent stops from Pickford and the visitors also hit the woodwork twice via El Ghazi and Barkley who had success in a hesitant Everton defense.
Pickford also made a double save to deny Bertrand Traore whose attacking threat meant that the injured Jack Grealish was not missed once.
But it wasn’t a one-way street, and Everton had opportunities too. Calvert-Lewin threw himself on a Digne cross and made contact with a low header – reminiscent of former Everton hero Andy Gray – that was brilliantly pushed away by Emiliano Martinez.
Calvert-Lewin came close again shortly after his goal with a header that was saved
Jordan Pickford had a good game and made some big saves for Watkins in the first half
Twice Gylfi Sigurdsson crawled into the penalty area and was blocked by Tyrone Mings who threw his body in the way.
Concerned about Everton’s chances of surrendering, Ancelotti adjusted things tactically in the second half, reverting to a 4-4-2 with Sigurdsson on the left to help prevent Traore and Richarlison from playing closer to Calvert-Lewin during the Brazilian’s hundredth competition. for Everton.
Everton gradually gained some control. John McGinn was in a rush to give the ball away to Iwobi, who made a hash from his finish. Martinez did well to cling to a powered center from Digne and Richarlison fired wide from a sharp angle.
Still, Watkins was still buzzing around giving Everton nightmares and after hitting the woodwork 20 times this season, a Premier League highlight, Villa probably felt they deserved the late win.
Holgate’s opening goal error continued a theme of errors in Everton’s back line
It was a cracker again. Traore drove through Everton’s back line and gave a pass to El Ghazi on the left side of the box.
While Seamus Coleman came for cover, the Villa Netherlands international cleverly used him as a marker to bend his shot around the defender and past Pickford into the far corner.
Everton will move from Goodison to a shiny new stadium on the Bramley-Moore dock in 2024. Ancelotti will wish it would happen in August.
‘It’s unbelievable, the flight we have at home compared to the flight from home. It’s the same team that won at Arsenal seven days ago, but we had less concentration. We have given up many opportunities, ”he said.
‘It’s hard to say why, but we were no good. We had no balance. But the season is not over yet.
There are five games and we have to keep fighting. Everton may still reach the Europa League, but the Champions League, which Ancelotti has won three times, has disappeared.
Watkins led the line superbly for the visiting Villains at Goodison Park on Saturday night
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