Anwar El Ghazi’s late stunner delivered Aston Villa a 2-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Ollie Watkins also scored for the Villans, who move four points back of their eighth-place hosts with the win.
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Villa still has an outside shot of a European finish, while Everton has given away a realistic chance to finish in the top four.
Both teams have five matches left including a rematch at Villa Park.
Three things we learned from Everton – Aston Villa
1. Everton too bad to be good, too good to be bad: Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be tired or simply unable to operate at peak production without James Rodriguez, who was a late scratch from the lineup. There’s no other excuse for the misfiring Richarlison, sloppy Mason Holgate, or hung out to dry Jordan Pickford. Of course Calvert-Lewin found his goal and Lucas Digne was good as usual but this Everton team that showed so much promise early has thrown away Champions League hope as well as perhaps a Europa League place. The Toffees have taken just four of six points from Liverpool and Tottenham but just one point from Burnley and none from Newcastle. Infuriating.
And what could this have looked like had Ross Barkley not helped his old pals get on the scoreboard at his former home?
2. Aston Villa depth steps up in Grealish’s absence: Dean Smith surely wants another offseason to fortify his troop depth, because the Jack Grealish injury absence has definitely shown that the Villans attack is not driven by one man. Villa isn’t deep enough to snare a European place but El Ghazi’s show-stopping winner and Watkins’ industrious opener both showed that — along with John McGinn and the injured Trezeguet — there are pieces here. Yes, of course, Grealish drives the boat, chief. The 25-year-old is still tied for third in the PL for assists despite being out since Feb. 13, and Villa has 12 goals in that span… three of them coming against Fulham. Villa now has 48 goals this season. Grealish has the goal or assist for one-third of them and casts a big shadow, but Watkins’ 13 goals are more than all but six PL players this season.
3. Goal-hazi: Wow. Did Anwar El Ghazi stun with his match-winner. That’s the thing, the moment of brilliance those laboring through this watch deserved!
Man of the Match: Tyrone Mings
Why did Emiliano Martinez only have two saves? Because his top center back blocked more shots than that. The England center back finished with six clearances, three blocks, and five interceptions.
Everton – Aston Villa recap
Mason Holgate’s clearance was stolen by Watkins, who kept control of his body despite contact from the Everton back and slotted between the legs of Jordan Pickford for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
But Everton got its goal back when ex-Toffees midfielder Ross Barkley couldn’t handle Calvert-Lewin on a set piece and the English striker pushed his header past Emiliano Martinez for 1-1.
Martinez made a slick save on a Calvert-Lewin diving header in the 23rd as the Toffees looked better money for the next goal.
But, of course, only one more arrived and it was quite late when El Ghazi fired home a gorgeous goal to enliven the final 10 minutes.