Everton stumble against Gerrard’s boys in 2-1 Aston Villa defeat
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were two famous members of England’s fabled Golden Generation, and the spotlight will inevitably shine far brighter on them this season.
They can now be properly judged in the latest chapter of their illustrious careers after a combined 220 international caps as players, and Lampard will be looking wearily ahead after their first encounter in the technical area.
Lampard’s fingernails have only recently returned to normal length following last season’s fight for survival, and two consecutive defeats this season suggest it could be another trying season.
Everton were toothless here for long periods due to an alarming lack of forward options, and it was a fine individual goal from Danny Ings and a late strike from substitute Emiliano Buendia that allowed Gerrard to respond to the poor performance at Bournemouth.
Villa have European ambitions, and this performance had moments of promise as well as moments of concern, with defender Tyrone Mings impressing on his return after being rested last weekend.
Mings produced a brilliant piece of defending in added time to prevent the visitors’ substitute Salomón Rondón from equalizing.
This was Villa’s third victory at Villa Park this season, and there is clearly room for improvement. Gerrard’s main concern was an injury to £26 million summer signing Diego Carlos, who was taken off in obvious pain in the final stages.
“We deserved the external criticism last week,” Gerrard said, “but we stayed calm and used the week to prepare as best we could.” We asked for a response and received it across the board. It was one of our best performances since we started working together.
“There was a lot of talk about Mings, but he’s a fantastic footballer with a lot of talent.” He was extremely dominant and played a critical role in our big win.”
Gerrard admitted that the withdrawal of Brazilian center-back Carlos, who has an achilles and ankle injury, could force him into the transfer market.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but it doesn’t look good right now,” he said.
“He requires a scan, and the medical staff is very concerned.” That will taint my feelings about the victory, and we will have to wait and see what happens with his injury [before deciding whether to sign a replacement].”
Lampard’s concerns about his lack of firepower were heightened here, and he urgently needs to sign a striker before the transfer window closes.
Lampard had few options after the sale of Richarlison to Tottenham and the injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and the gameplan here seemed to revolve around suffocating Villa through possession and a low block.
“There has to be a reality check because it’s early in the season and we have to be patient,” he explained.
“We have players returning from injury and new players, so we’ve seen good things and things we can improve.”
“Obviously, we will miss a player like Dominic, who is the focal point of our attack, and we will look to bring in another forward.” We had three or four good chances here, and it’s a shame we didn’t score in our first two games.”
Everton had the cutting edge of a plastic spatula in the first half, and Lampard would give anything for Villa’s vast array of forwards.
Ings only needed a few inches of space to score a fantastic first goal just after the half-hour mark.
Following a charge into the area by Ollie Watkins, Ings poked the ball past Abdoulaye Doucouré to set up a clinical left-footed finish from 16 yards.
Villa struggled against set pieces, and Demarai Gray tested Emiliano Martinez nine minutes after the restart.
Philippe Coutinho was substituted just before the hour due to an injury, but Gerrard must have been considering it anyway after another ineffective performance from his £17 million signing.
Lampard made his own changes in an attempt to regain momentum, with £33 million midfielder Amadou Onana making his debut nine minutes from the end.
Villa added a second goal in the 86th minute when Buendia combined with Watkins to slide home from close range.
Everton got a consolation goal less than 60 seconds later when Lucas Digne could only divert Onana’s cross over the goal line.
Villa became tense as a result of Carlos’s withdrawal, and it was Mings’ desperate clearance that prevented any further late drama.
Leave a Reply