ASTON VILLA 1 (El Ahmadi 75) – EVERTON 3 (Pienaar 3, Fellaini 31, Jelavic 45)
Everton maintained their 100% start to the season at Villa Park with a first half performance that blew their opponents away. They were ahead within three minutes when Pienaar, just outside the area, received the ball from Naismith, rolled it invitingly under his right foot and then picked his spot from all of 30 yards. On the half-hour Fellaini headed through a fumbling Given after a superb Jagielka right-wing cross and then Jelavic sealed the points with a fine first-time finish from a Baines pass after good work by Fellaini.
In the second half Everton took their foot off the gas but could still have added to the scoreline as Jelavic and Distin had clear chances scrambled clear while a lively 20 minute cameo from new signing Kevin Mirallas contained a lovely headed goal from a Coleman cross which was unfortunately but correctly ruled offside.
David Moyes made just one change from the team which beat Manchester United on Monday, bringing Naismith in to make his full debut. Neville moved to right-back in place of Hibbert and Osman dropped deeper to partner Gibson. Everton started where they left off against United playing high-tempo attacking football which pinned their opponents back in their own half for most of the first half.
The Blues were able to penetrate the Villa penalty area at will; they had 34 touches in the opposition box compared to Villa’s 13 and their overall share of possession was 61%. Confidence oozing from every pore this display owed little to any rigid structure but a lot to freedom and flexibility – best exemplified by the sight of Phil Jagielka sprinting clear down the right wing and sending over a perfect cross for Fellaini’s goal while Pienaar, Naismith and Fellaini interchanged positions across the width of the pitch.
New signings Naismith, Mirallas and Pienaar have added further quality to the squad and significantly multiplied the tactical options available to David Moyes. With Nikica Jelavic already one of the most potent finishers in the league the future looks brighter than for many seasons. As well as directing these playing assets Moyes also has the difficult task of managing rapidly escalating expectations. These are exciting times to be an Evertonian.
ASTON VILLA: (4-4-2) Given; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker; Herd (Lichaj 60), El Ahmadi, Bannan (Weimann 70), N’Zogbia; Delfouneso (Holman 45), Bent ©
Subs not used: Guzan, Ireland, Delph, Burke.
Bookings: Clark (red), Al Ahmadi
EVERTON: (4-2-3-1) Howard: Neville (c), Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Gibson (Mirallas 71), Osman; Fellaini, Pienaar, Naismith (Coleman 64); Jelavic (Heitinga 87)
Subs not used: Mucha, Gueye, Barkley, Anichebe.
Ref: Michael Oliver