Everton travel to Birmingham and receive a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Unai Emery’s Aston Villa.
Sean Dyche and Everton were on the road following a disappointing 0-1 defeat at Fulham that likely should have been a win. Despite this, the woe in front of goal was Everton’s downfall once again, a problem they hoped to solve by introducing Dominic Calvert-Lewin back into the starting eleven for the first time in the 23/24 Premier League season. Outside of this, Dyche named an unchanged side as the traveling toffees hoped to erase the negative thoughts surrounding a disheartening defeat in week one.
The first ten minutes were largely controlled by Villa, but Everton managed well enough to keep the play contained with a 4-1-4-1 formation that hoped to be able to outlet to Calvert-Lewin up top. This hope was largely put to bed in the 10th minute, when Doucoure put in a dangerous cross into the box that DCL looked to meet with his head. He, instead, only found the leaping shoulder of Martinez in goal leaving the Everton striker badly swollen below the eye.
Despite the swelling, he would carry on for the time being, but Everton would be hit only 8 minutes later. Leon Bailey and Moussa Diary combined before Bailey eventually cut back to John McGinn for a tap in goal as the Everton defense watched sorely beaten and badly out of place. Things would only go from bad to worse 4 minutes later, as Jordan Pickford came out of his goal and punched wildly at the air, ‘bringing down’ Ollie Watkins in the process. A penalty was awarded that Douglas Luis stepped up and converted with ease to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Villa continued to absolutely storm through the Everton midfield, and would nearly score again in the 34th minute. Moussa Diary hit a vicious volley that took a remarkable save from Jordan Pickford, who turned it onto the post to keep the scoreline at 2-0. 4 minutes later, Everton’s number 9 would see his day disastrously come to and end as his swelling got substantially worse, and was replaced by Arrant Danjuma in the 38th minute. The substitute would combine with James Garner right on the stroke of halftime just minutes later, lashing a chance at Martinez who would save well to end the threat and close the first half with the hosts 2-0 up.
The second half started no better for Everton, despite the introduction of Lewis Dobbin for Idrissa Gueye, as attacking subs could not hide another disastrous defensive effort that ultimately lead to a goal. A long throw in followed by a mangled and ghastly attempt at a clearance from Michael Keane would see the ball fall to Leon Bailey who only had to turn the ball into the net to put the game well out of reach at 3-0 only 6 minutes into the second half.
Maupay would enter the fray following the goal, and would have a chance through an Ashley Young cross 9 minutes later, but the effort was saved by Martinez as it travelled to the bottom right corner. The game would putter along in Villa’s favor until the introduction of John Duran for the hosts, who made an instant impact. Everton’s own throw in would go awry, and Duran would make mince meat of Keane before slotting past Pickford to add insult to injury for a final scoreline of 4-0 in favor of Villa.
The match was… not good for Everton. Sean Dyche said, “I could have taken the whole team off at half-time,” and quite frankly he is on the money. It was a shocking performance and a shocking setup that saw Everton offer nothing in attack and get shredded through the midfield and the backline. To add to the horrid result, DCL looks set to miss out as it has been reported that he suffered a broken cheekbone. When it rains it pours. Everton welcome Wolves to Goodison Park on Saturday for the third match of the season. Is it a must win? Probably not. Would a win go a long way in calming the already growing anxieties amongst the supporters? Who knows. All there is to know is that Everton are not scoring goals, are at the tail end of the transfer window, and the long-awaited return of DCL lasted 38 minutes (through no fault of his own.) No team has needed an international break so badly before, and we have only played 2 matches.