Aston Villa beat Everton 2-1 at Villa Park as Steven Gerrard got the better of Frank Lampard in their first-ever managerial duel.
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Danny Ings set Villa on their way and Emiliano Buendia made it 2-0 late on. However, Everton got one back right away via a Lucas Digne own goal and almost snatched an unlikely draw in stoppage time.
The win is Villa’s first of the new season, while Everton have now lost their opening two games but have shown plenty of promise.
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What we learned from Aston Villa vs Everton
Villa’s energy impressive as cutting edge finally arrives
From the first whistle Villa came flying out of the traps but they couldn’t quite find the cutting edge. Until Ings’ quality arrived. In and around the box they struggled to carve out big chances but they did look very good on the break and when they got the ball forward quickly and with purpose. For both goals there was composure at the key moment and that is exactly what Gerrard called for.
Everton’s pragmatism forced upon them
They had a real go late on and almost snatched a point and you can’t fault the effort of this Everton side. But key injuries in defense and attack have once again forced them to play a more defensive formation. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin out injured and Richarlison sold this summer, they don’t have a focal point up top. Lampard has been forced to be more pragmatic but there was enough from Everton to suggest when they finally have a center forward available, they will win plenty of games. That said, they have lost their opening two PL games for the first time in 13 seasons and there is no more pressure on Everton to buy a new striker.
This is a huge season for Gerrard, Lampard
It was only Week 2 but the passion on the sidelines showed us just how big of a season this is for the former England teammates and friends. Gerrard got the better of Lampard this time and his Villa side did just deserve the win. A successful season for Villa is a top 10 finish, while Lampard will be very happy if Everton can stay in midtable and away from a relegation scrap. They are at very similar clubs and it will be intriguing to see whether or not both can kick their teams on.
Everton stayed compact in what essentially became a 5-3-1-1 formation and Lampard was keen to stay solid defensively and try to hurt Villa with direct play down the wings and from set-piece situations. As for Villa, they got the ball forward early and often and when they got it wide they dragged Everton’s central defenders out to the flanks. If Ings and Watkins can stay fit, Villa have a front two who can really drag opponents all over the place. For Everton, they are hamstrung by their injury issues so once again they have to go for pragmatism over adventure.
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Stars of the show
Danny Ings: Scored a beauty and caused Everton’s defense so many problems with his movement.
Anthony Gordon: Always willing to run at Villa’s defense and carried Everton’s biggest threat going forward.
Aston Villa play at Crystal Palace next Saturday, Aug. 20 as they look for back-to-back wins, while Everton host Nottingham Forest on the same day and Lampard badly needs a win.
Aston Villa vs Everton: Gerrard gets better of Lampard in tense clash originally appeared on NBCSports.com