Danny Ings scores Villa opener with thumping left-foot finish
Emiliano Buendia doubles home side's lead after one-two with Ollie Watkins
Lucas Digne sparks frantic finish with own goal for former club
They were two famous members of England’s fabled Golden Generation, and the spotlight will inevitably shine far brighter on Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard this season.
After a combined 220 international caps as players, they can now be properly judged in the latest chapter of their gilded careers and, after their first encounter in the technical area, it is Lampard who will be looking wearily ahead.
Lampard’s fingernails have only just returned to normal length after last season’s scramble to safety and two successive defeats this season suggest it could be another campaign of struggle.
With an alarming lack of forward options, Everton were toothless here for long periods and it was a fine individual goal from Danny Ings and late strike from substitute Emiliano Buendía which enabled Gerrard to produce a response following the poor display at Bournemouth.
Villa ultimately have ambitions of European football and this display had glimpses of promise and also moments of concern, with defender Tyrone Mings impressing on his return after being left out last weekend.
Mings produced a brilliant piece of defending in added time to prevent substitute Salomón Rondón from pinching an equaliser for the visitors.
This was only Villa’s third victory at Villa Park this year, and there is clearly much more improvement required. The main concern for Gerrard was an injury to £26 million summer signing Diego Carlos, who was taken off in clear discomfort in the final stages.
Gerrard said: “We deserved the external criticism last week but we stayed calm and used the week to prepare the best way we can. We asked them for a response and we’ve got that across the board. It was one of our strongest performances since we’ve been together.
“There was a lot of noise [around Mings] but he’s a fantastic footballer with big attributes. He was really dominant and played an important role in a big win for us.”
Gerrard admitted the withdrawal of Brazilian centre-back Carlos, with an injury to his achilles and ankle, could force him into the transfer market.
“We have to see the outcome but I’m extremely worried about it as it doesn’t look good now,” he said.
“He needs a scan and the medical staff are very worried. That will tarnish how I feel about the win and we will have to wait and see the outcome of his injury [before deciding whether to sign a replacement].”
Lampard’s fears over his absence of firepower were enhanced here, and he desperately needs to sign a striker before the transfer window closes.
The sale of Richarlison to Tottenham and injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin has left Lampard with few alternatives, and the gameplan here seemed to revolve around stifling Villa through possession and a low block.
“There has to be a reality check because it’s early in the season and we need to be patient,” he said.
“We have got players coming back from injury and have signed new players so we’ve seen good things and things we can improve.
“We will obviously miss a player like Dominic who is the focal point of our attack and we will look to get another forward in. We created three or four good chances here and it’s a shame we haven’t picked anything up from our first two games.”
In the first half Everton had the cutting edge of a plastic spatula and what Lampard would give for Villa’s vast array of forwards.
Ings only needed a few inches of space to strike home a wonderful opening goal just after the half-hour mark.
After Ollie Watkins’s charge into the area, Ings poked the ball past Abdoulaye Doucouré to tee up a clinical left-footed finish from 16 yards.
Everton did respond, with Villa struggling against set-pieces and Demarai Gray testing Emiliano Martínez nine minutes after the restart.
Philippe Coutinho was taken off just before the hour, due to an injury, but Gerrard must have been considering it in any case after another ineffectual display from his £17m signing.
Lampard made changes of his own in a bid to claw back some momentum, with £33m midfielder Amadou Onana making his debut nine minutes from the end.
Villa added the second goal in the 86th minute when Coutinho’s replacement, Buendia, combined with Watkins to slide home from close range.
Everton managed a consolation less than 60 seconds later when their former defender, Lucas Digne, could only divert Onana’s cross over the goal-line.
Suddenly Villa appeared nervy, with Carlos’s withdrawal unsettling them further, and it was Mings’s desperate clearance which prevented any more late drama.
Aston Villa 2 Everton 1: as it happened
Frank Lampard speaks
I thought we should have got a draw, we had two or three good chances late on.
We made mistakes and in a couple of transitions they score. you can't make mistakes like that, you're punished. We were set defensively and organised, I didn’t think they gave us huge problems
Without a genuine focal point, the three players have to be active and mobile and really strong. We're not the only ones in the Premier League playing this way, it's been put on us at the minute but we weren't good up there in the first half but they were more active in the second half.
But the spirit was good. In two games now, we’ve had an injury and had to make a sub in the first half. It’s not the factor, but it’s a factor.
Steven Gerrard speaks
We did enough to get over the line and I don't think anyone can point any fingers about the outcome of the game. We wanted to be aggressive, we wanted to be brave. Having another body up there [Watkins] gave their back three something to think about.
We had large pockets of control, we could have scored a couple more goals. We conceded a poor goal and there was always going to be nervousness, but that was a big test of our character and resilience, and we stood firm. I thought we deserved our win.
[On Coutinho]. We're hoping it's cramp. Phil had to work hard and run hard. Young Buendia is showing the energy and aggression and was pushing to be a starter before his little set-back [in pre-season].
Buendia taps in Villa's second
Danny Ings speaks
It was difficult. After last week’s performance, there was always going to be edgy moments. Everton are a physical side and caused us a few problems, but that’s how you grind it out and win ugly. Overall we deserved the win. Credit to everyone at the back for digging in and staying strong.
That’s what this league is all about. To get the win is huge, and hopefully we can build on it.
Full time: Villa 2 Everton 1
Thrilling end to a match played in sweltering heat. Everton carved out enough late chances to have scrambled a draw but Villa shaded it on the balance of play and attacking incisiveness. What immediate takes are there? Buendia is better than Coutinho in this system, Onana looks a proper player despite his error, Mings stood up strongly after a strange week and Everton badly need a serviceable and durable centre-forward.
90+9 min Villa 2 Everton 1
Watkins goes down in the box but as soon as he hits the deck, chasing a long pass, the referee blows for full-time.
90+7 min Villa 2 Everton 1
Gordon's first shot is blocked by Chambers and his second floats into Martinez's clutches. Young is booked for time-wasting when taking a throw-in.
90+5 min Villa 2 Everton 1
What a finish this match has had and Onana has a good chance to equalise but is thwarted by an excellent Chambers tackle. There were supposed to be five minutes of added time but the substitutions took so long, who knows how long's left.
90+4 min Villa 2 Everton 1
Triple Villa substitution: Cash, Diego Carlos and Ramsey go off and Konsa, Chambers and Young come on. Carlos's substitution is delayed for two minutes while he receives treatment.
90 min Villa 2 Everton 1
Digne smashes a shot over from the resulting corner. Everton take the goalkick and a good save from Martinez stops Gordon's right-foot shot cutting in from the left and Mings nips in ahead of Iwobi to stop him reaching the rebound.
88 min Villa 2 Everton 1
Pickford thwarts Watkins after a quick Villa break from an Everton corner after Bailey flew upfield in possession and sent Watkins in down the left of the box.
Villa 2 Everton 1 (Digne og) Onana makes immediate amends with a great touch and drive down the left, followed by a menacing cross looking for Iwobi's back-post run that Digne blunders into his own net, his feet in the wrong position.
85 min Villa 2 Everton 0
Onana, not up to speed understandably, dawdles in midfield and is mugged by Buendia who brings the ball forward, Watkins takes a defender with him as he splits to the right, receives the pass and rolls it back across for Buendia to slot in.
Villa 2 Everton 0 (Buendia) A tap-in after a fine, counter-attacking move.
82 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Mings has to be mustard to nip in ahead of Dele Alli who was waiting for the pass to roll across his body before he could shoot with his stringer right foot. Martinez leaps out to claim the subsequent corner.
81 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Double Everton substitution: Onana comes on for his debut alongside Dele Alli. Gray and Coady, whose debut this also was, depart.
80 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Ramsey storms up the left, finds Watkins after gobbling up the ground and the centre-forward cushions the pass deftly then fires a shot that is deflected behind for a corner that Buendia wastes.
78 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Villa make their second change: Bailey replaces Ings who has just been booked for pulling Gray's shirt.
76 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Mykolenko hooks a deflected Buendia shot that was spinning viciously after Coady's block and scuttling towards goal. Some of the ball was over the line but not enough before Mykolenko's vital intervention. Having brought on Rondon, perversely for Everton it's been all Villa since.
73 min Villa 1 Everton 0
From the corner, Diego Carlos wins a back post header but, under challenge, can only sort of trap it. But when the ball falls to earth he lets a right-foot shot fly that Patterson throws himself in front of bravely to block.
71 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Ings is sharply on to Tarkowski's headed backpass on resumption and his quick feet help him evade Coady before Holgate nips in to knock the ball behind.
69 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Alert work from Tom Davies to anticipate Buendia's scooped pass and win the ball back by the byline in his own box. The referee signals it's time for the second drinks break.
67 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Buendia does to Ings what Ings did to Coutinho except he didn't score when latching on to the pass into the Everton box and taking it off the centre-forward's toe.
65 min Villa 1 Everton 0
The heat is beginning to take its toll.
Ings gets down the right against a struggling Mykolenko but his cut-back to Watkins is six inches off and Coady intercepts.
63 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Coady is OK to continue but Everton will make a change, taking McNeil off for Rondon. Gordon moves to the right wing.
61 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Coady blocks McGinn's rasping shot with his head, the impact knocking him off his feet and he landed heavily on his left ankle. When the physio comes on, he rolls down Coady's sock and reveals that his calf is already heavily strapped. But he gets up and has a refreshing glug of Lucozade.
60 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Curtains for Coutinho who limps off. He is replaced by Buendia, whom the fans prefer.
59 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Pickford picks off Cash's cross after Ramsey devours Gordon down the Villa left. Coutinho is down and needs treatment to his right leg.
57 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Davies tries to switch play with a raking crossfield chip to Patterson but overclubs it and the ball sails out for a throw-in.
55 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Coady wins the header form the corner, knocking it back to the edge of the box but Patterson's shot is blocked by Cash and pinballs through a crowd of yellow and claret and blue shirts. Gordon feeds off the scraps and clouts a fizzing shot straight at Martinez who slaps it away with his palms.
53 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Davies slides in to win the ball and take down Watkins with his followthrough. Villa are furious a free-kick has not been awarded but Everton break and Gordon gets to the byline down the left, tries to beat Cash and the right-back makes a well-timed, vital tackle to put the ball behind.
51 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Once again the Villa defence creaks at a set-piece, Everton winning two headers from the cross before McNeil hooks a shot wide, the ball bouncing too high for him to control properly.
49 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Patterson has Digne on toast down the right, bullies him off the ball and is about to slip away and into the box until Digne trips him.
48 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Watkins floods into space vacated by Mykolenko and has all the time in the world to pick a pass to meet Ramsey's run into the box but hits it straight to Davies who had taken up a good position.
47 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Digne is caught offside foolishly when McGinn hits an almost perfect diagonal.
46 min Villa 1 Everton 0
No changes so far but there will have to be many during this half by virtue of the all but intolerable heat. Iwobi floors McGinn 15 yards outside the Villa box. Iwobi closes down McGinn when the free-kick is headed out quickly enough for the Villa captain to snatch at his shot and slice it over the bar.
Half-time Villa 1 Everton 0
A decent first-half. Villa look more composed going forward, with better movement and incisiveness in the inside-forward positions but, given they have a set-piece coach, look alarmingly frail at defending corners and lack width other than the full-backs. Kamara looks a gem. Everton are well set up at the back but need Coady, the closest we have to an English sweeper, to step forward when he is the free man and pass long to the wingers rather than expecting the wing-backs to dribble it forward, ie get Cash and Digne running back towards their own goal. Rondon would help both at corners and in holding it up, testing Diego Carlos's robustness in only his second Premier League game.
45+3 min Villa 1 Everton 0
After a VAR check for a possible foul on Holgate or a Diego Carlos handball that changes nothing, Villa break up the left on the stroke of half-time, get in behind Patterson and Holgate and Ramsey centres the ball through the six-yard box, a cross that eludes the lunging Coutinho and Watkins by six inches at best.
45+2 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Villa, and not just their keeper, flap at the corner which scuds through the box, presenting half chances for Holgate, snuffed out by Diego Carlos, and Tom Davies, snuffed out by his own technique when trying a sidewinder, flying volley. Villa scramble it away.
45 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Iwobi swings in a deep cross from the left, Mings misses the header and just as it was about to land for Gray to half-volley it in from a couple of yards, Kamara nipped in to put it behind for a corner.
43 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Lucas Digne overhits a left wing cross that virtually bypasses the box and reaches Cash on the other flank. He recycles it infield but Everton and Iwobi in particular stop the probing.
41 min Villa 1 Everton 0
But given that both times they had a corner, Everton made Villa panic, they need to push on despite the threat of being hit on the break. Davies is penalised for a foul just inside the Villa half.
39 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Kamara has made a couple of very good tackles. Everton, with Gray. McNeil and Gordon switching positions, still lack a focal point no matter which of the three wingers takes a turn in the central role.
37 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Coady and Tarkowski both shield the ball well to stop Watkins stealing into the box on the right. When Villa manipulate one of Iwobi and Davies/Doucoure out of position, their otherwise well-organised defence looks vulnerable.
35 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Good work from Coutinho on the right against Mykolenko tow in the ball and spin away. He feeds Watkins but he runs up a dead end.
33 min Villa 1 Everton 0
Quite a delay while Doucoure receives treatment ... to no avail. He has to go off. Tom Davies replaces the Everton midfielder.
Villa 1 Everton 0 (Ings) He took it off Coutinho's toe which elicited a few groans but he spun through 270 degrees to take three defenders out of this road and smashes a left-foot shot from 15 yards into the left of the goal. The move started when McNeil lost the ball 10 yards outside the Villa box. McGinn launched a 50-yard pass up to watkins on the right who skittered in, faced up Tarkowski then rolled a pass to put it on plate for Coutinho but Ings eats his dinner!
28 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Villa corner on the right. McGinn takes it, swinging it deep for Coutinho who can't contol it and ends up shoving Patterson over as the right wing-back attempted to ignite a counter-attack. Coutinho and Dele Alli have the same problem. They used to glide past players. They seem to have lost that light-footed ability.
25 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Time for a drinks' break.
24 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Everton twice unsettle Villa from successive corners, the second of which ends with Gordon spinning to hook the knockdown into the goal but the flag went straight up as he was an inch or two offside.
Villa didn't deal with the first header at all.
22 min Villa 0 Everton 0
McNeil and Doucoure win the ball to the right of the centre circle and race forward. McNeil tacks towards the left, Gray peels off into space to shoot but McNeil's pass is too heavy and Villa work it out for a corner.
20 min Villa 0 Everton 0
I don't know what Gerrard's got against wingers but Villa are way too narrow against a team playing with wing-backs. There is space behind the wide defenders but Watkins and Coutinho do not look like the type to exploit this. Ings concedes a free-kick with a shove on Holgate who gulled him with the old routine of sneaking ahead and then slowing down to an emergency stop, buying a bump.
18 min Villa 0 Everton 0
The crowd groans at a McGinn pass into the box that he spins straight at Tarkowski. Everton are well organised at the back and Villa, for all their possession, cannot pick the lock.
15 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Kamara curls a pass from the centre out to the right to Coutinho but his header looking for Ings and Ramsey is wayward and Everton counter up their right through Gordon who makes 40 yards. Doucoure makes a good support run 10 yards inside but Mings steps across Gordon, throws out his right arm to create a barrier and worms ahead of him. Gordon goes down clutching his face in the penalty area but the only contact was with his chest and entirely legal in any case.
12 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Excellent long pass from Mings to Watkins in the right side of the box. He traps it, faces up Tarkowski and tries to thread a pass through to Ings that Coady cuts out.
Back come Villa down the right and Cash, who does have a handful of his shirt grasped by an Everton defender outside the box, throws himself to the grass as soon as he crosses the 18-yard line. The referee, Michael Oliver, tells him to get up.
10 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Digne runs out of room as he goes on another run up the left, forcing Patterson back once more. Ramsey's trip on Gordon earns Everton a breather but Pickford hooks the free-kick out for a Villa throw.
7 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Couple of hairy moments for Everton when Tarkowski blasts a back pass at Pickford who deals with it calmly and clears and then when Holgate loses the ball and Ramsey storms down that inside-left channel again but finds no support in the box from either Ings or Coutinho.
5 min Villa 0 Everton 0
The home crowd loves Cash's crunching but fair tackle on Gordon as Everton try to build an attack down the left. Villa sweep it out to Ramsey on the left and he links with Digne to get to the byline where Holgate again snuffs out the attack. Everton look exceptionally vulnerable when they lose the ball in midfield, lacking the legs to recover quickly.
3 min Villa 0 Everton 0
All Villa so far. Ramsey storms down the inside left but Holgate makes a sensational recovery tackle, sliding in to hook it away when the Villa midfielder was cocking his knee back to shoot from the left of the box.
2 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Big chance for Villa. McGinn's inswinging corner from the right with his left is arrowed on to Diego Carlos's head. The big centre-half easily beats (and beasts) Iwobi in the air to give himself a free header but bludgeons it over the bar from eight yards.
1 min Villa 0 Everton 0
Everton in yellow, kick-off, attacking the Holte End. There is no taking of the knee today, for the first time in the Premier League since the killing of George Floyd in 2020.
Ings burst through the centre circle and forces the ball out to the right to Cash on the overlap. His first-time cross is blocked by Tarkowski and put out for a corner.
The Premier League has mandated two water breaks because of the heat
At roughly halfway through each half – the thermometer is skirting 33C in Birmingham this afternoon.
The teams are in the tunnel at Villa Park
Which must mean it's time for Hi Ho Silver Lining.
Lampard on Rondon
Just hasn't had enough game time because of his suspension to start and the manager liked the energy and movement of Gordon, Gray, Iwobi and McNeil during the narrow defeat by Chelsea.
Bagchi here, taking over from Uche Amako who has been wielding the baton in the build-up. Slightly surprised by both line-ups. Not at all sure about Frank Lampard's decision to persist with Anthony Gordon up top when he has Salomon Rondon who might not be prolific but certainly is a presence and brought his Newcastle team-mates into the game well under Rafael Benitez a few years back. He's not going to be a School of Science cherished alumnus but he's decent enough and Gordon is at his best out wide.
As for Villa, I thought Douglas Luiz would come in and Emi Buendia for Philippe Coutinho but Steven Gerrard is sticking by Jacob Ramsey and his own former Liverpool team-mate, who sparkled at times in the first 10 weeks of his loan but has been wading through treacle ever since.
An Everton debut for Coady
Gerrard on Mings returning to starting line up
Tyrone Mings is fully fit. I know I took the captaincy off him but I didn't take the position off him.
Hopefully he will be very important for us.
Everton starting XI to face Aston Villa
Pickford, Patterson, Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, McNeil, Doucoure, Iwobi, Gray, Gordon.
Subs: Keane, Onana, Begovic, Alli, Coleman, Davies, Ruben Vinagre, Rondon, Mills.
Aston Villa starting XI to face Everton
Martinez, Cash, Diego Carlos, Mings, Digne, Ramsey, Kamara, McGinn, Watkins, Ings, Coutinho.
Subs: Konsa, Douglas Luiz, Buendia, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young, Olsen, Bailey, Archer.
Hello and welcome to coverage from Villa Park as two former England colleagues go head-to-head as managers when Aston Villa take on Everton.
Ahead of the match, Steven Gerrard said his and Frank Lampard's desire to win is the same now as managers as when they shared an England midfield together.
It is the first time that the two men who sparked countless debates over whether they were suited to playing together, but actually did so 71 times for England, have met as managers.
Gerrard said: "I know Frank extremely well and I shared a dressing room with him for many years. He's a fierce competitor. He's a winner. He's very composed, very calm, and has got a really impressive football IQ.
"I could see from very early on, once I started sharing a dressing room with him, that he'd probably stay in the game in some capacity.
"It's no surprise to see him in a similar position to myself, which is to try and lead a big establishment and progress it and move it forward.
"In terms of competing against each other, whether it be on the pitch or now as a manager, you've got two people who are desperate to be on the winning side. That will never change. It never did when we played, and it won't from a touchline point of view."
Villa started their campaign with a 2-0 defeat by newly-promoted Bournemouth last weekend.
Gerrard felt Villa "let ourselves down", and he is expecting a big response from his players at their first home game.
He said: "I want them to give a better account of themselves in certain departments because we can't expect to get anything when we post that level of performance.
"We've got fantastic players and we're building a really exciting, talented squad. That's what we believe.
"We let ourselves down last week but I believe we've got a lot of tools and attributes in our squad and the personnel to hurt teams. The players will hopefully back that up.
"What it (Bournemouth) showed me was having a real positive, strong pre-season where your players are in a fantastic place doesn't guarantee you're going to get results in the Premier League.
"We were disappointed with the level of performance we gave. In this league, you can't get away with that - it doesn't matter who you play. You need to be at it every single week."