Anwar El Ghazi’s strike in the 80th minute rocked Everton’s European hopes as Aston Villa claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.
Ollie Watkins’ 14th Premier League goal of the season put Villa in the lead after a mistake by Mason Holgate (13) but Dominic Calvert-Lewin restored parity by meeting the corner from Lucas Digne (19).
But as the game headed for a draw, El Ghazi had too much time to throw a shot into the far corner to clinch an eighth away Premier League win of the season for Dean’s side. Smith.
The result means Everton remains in eighth place – nine points short of the Champions League with five games to go – while Villa moves up to ninth.
Everton: Pickford (8), Coleman (7), Digne (6), Godfrey (6), Holgate (5), Allan (7), Gomes (5), Sigurdsson (6), Iwobi (5), Richarlison (5), Calvert-Lewin (7).
Submarines: Delph (5), King (n / a), Bernard (n / a).
Fulham: Martinez (6), Cash (7), Targett (7), Konsa (7), Mings (6), Luiz (6), McGinn (6), Barkley (7), El Ghazi (7), Traoré (7) , Watkins (8).
Submarines: Davis (n / a), Ramsey (n / a).
Man of the match: Ollie Watkins.
More frustration at home for Everton
It was the 205th top-level meeting between Aston Villa and Everton, the most-played game in the English Premier League – but the hosts seemed disturbed by the late withdrawal of James Rodriguez in the opening stages after the Colombian turned away. injured calf in the hot- at the top.
- Carlo Ancelotti had selected an unchanged side for the hosts, with Everton again remaining with a full-back that included Coleman, Digne, Godfrey and Holgate ahead of Pickford. But James Rodriguez then found himself with a calf strain during the warm-up and was belatedly replaced by Alex Iwobi.
- Aston Villa made just the one change from the side that drew 2-2 at home against West Brom last time around. Matty Cash served his one-game suspension as the right-back moved to replace Ahmed Elmohamady. Ross Barkley started against his old club while Wesley was again named as a substitute.
Villa arrived in Merseyside having opened the scoring in each of their previous three Premier League games – without winning any of them – but the way Everton fell behind on Saturday was entirely self-inflicted.
Holgate looked like he was playing from behind, but his poor control was attacked by Watkins, who showed good strength and composure to steal possession and get his shot in between Jordan Pickford’s legs.
In front of England manager Gareth Southgate, Watkins almost added to Villa’s lead when he ran on a long ball from Ezri Konsa, pushing back Holgate again, but his shot from the corner was muffled by Pickford.
It would prove to be a costly failure as moments later Everton were on the same level. Calvert-Lewin escaped Ross Barkley at the far post to propel his header from Digne’s corner onto the line despite Tyrone Mings’ best efforts to keep him out.
Four minutes later, Calvert-Lewin must have thought he had completed the turnaround when his diving header from Digne’s superb volley center was parried by Emiliano Martinez at close range.
Villa would carve out the best chances for the remainder of the opening period, however, with Pickford producing a double save to deny Bertrand Traore. Watkins then renewed his battle with the Everton goalkeeper as he met Matty Cash’s cross before El Ghazi cut the crossbar on the rebound.
Smith’s side didn’t end there in a frantic half as Barkley, on his return to Goodison, recovered Traore’s pass and hit the base of the post with Pickford beaten.
Everton had worn their luck, but they emerged on the brighter side after the restart as Alex Iwobi and Allan rebelled with right-footed efforts in quick succession before Richarlison rushed to Pickford’s long ball but lagged behind his shot a yard from the post.
Villa struggled with the long ball, as Everton’s lane 1 approach nearly proved effective once again as Mings’ misjudged header landed once again at Richarlison’s feet, but his weak training was handled well by Martinez.
The visitors absorbed their opponents’ best efforts, and with the game appearing to drift into a stalemate in a relatively uneventful second period, Villa struck once more with 10 minutes remaining. With their first shot on target since the interval, El Ghazi recovered Traore’s pass and completed his effort beyond the Pickford dive.
What the managers said
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: To follow…
Boss of Aston Villa Dean smith: “It was a good win. It was a very good football game and both teams tried to win. I think we earned it on the scales of odds. Jordan Pickford was in great shape and has refused to Ollie Watkins on numerous occasions.
“It’s easy for people to say we have nothing to play for, but we want to finish as high as possible. We want to get the momentum and consistency back that we had earlier in the season.
“I’ve said it before, but for me Ollie Watkins is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. I had no doubt he could come and do it in the Premier League.
“He’s better than he was like I got in Brentford. He used to go home and fight but he’s recovering a lot more now and learning. He’s a really humble guy and he gets his grades. rewards now. “
Man of the Match – Ollie Watkins
It took some time for Watkins to regain his early season form after Jack Grealish suffered a leg injury in February, but the Villa forward could have ended with another U-turn against opponents from Merseyside after his hat-trick in October against Liverpool.
Mason Holgate couldn’t keep up with his move in an opening period in which his mistake led to Watkins’ clinical opening. It was one of four attempts he had made during an energetic evening.
Watkins is a class act, improvising well for another chance at the far post, and with the Southgate on the watch, known for picking fit players, Watkins is well positioned to benefit from the extended 26-man squad for the Euros.
“It’s been a long time,” Watkins said BT Sport. “We haven’t played too well lately so it was nice to score three away points.
“I think I could have done better with a few chances. I should leave the field with two or three goals, but the most important thing is that we got the three points.
“I think any striker will say he can do a little better with the chances I had. I just have to keep working on it. No matter who’s watching you just have to work hard and do your best. . “
Commenting on his hopes in England, Watkins added: “Any international game is magic. I’m just focusing on my club form now, trying to push us towards European places. I think that’s a possibility. are coming fast and strong now. If we get a few wins, that gets us back up there. “
Everton travel to face West Ham on Sunday, live Super sunday; coverage starts on Sky Sports Premier League and Main event at 4 p.m. with kick-off at 4.30 p.m.
Aston Villa is home to Manchester United on the same day, live on Sky Sports; kick off at 2:05 p.m.