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Everton 0-2 Aston Villa: Early season momentum stifled by listless performance

Three thoughts from Everton’s loss to Aston Villa

Aston Villa v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Clean sheet streak comes to an end

The one major positive for Everton so far this season has been their defence. With their attack struggling to click, the defence has been there to keep them in matches. There has been a solid effort to keep the ball out of their goal across the entire starting XI, but that effort was not there against Aston Villa.

The biggest offenders were not defenders, but the two players in defensive midfield. Andre Gomes was terrible in this match. Typically he is solid on the defensive side of the ball, he is certainly more of an offensive minded player, but he can break up play in the midfield. But against Villa he was at his worst. He seemed constantly out of position when tracking back on defence, and was turning the ball over more than he usually does.

His partner Morgan Schneiderlin was not much better. Schneiderlin does not bring the aggression and nastiness that Idrissa Gueye or even Jean-Philippe Gbamin have. He was nearly invisible for the entirety of the match. Gbamin may still need time to get settled with the team, but he seemed to offer more to the squad in his limited time than Schneiderlin has.

The line-up needs fresh blood

Kudos to Marco Silva for trying to keep things consistent with his starting XI. He cannot be faulted for trying to ease his new arrivals into the team. We have seen the past what can happen when new signings are thrown into the starting line up with high expectations. But despite a solid start to the season, Everton’s attack just isn’t working.

Two players in particular are not delivering currently. Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Calvert-Lewin has yet to show he has what it takes to lead the line for Everton game in and game out. He may still be young, but Everton cannot afford to have a player with such a poor scoring record start at striker. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison have also not contributed much this season. While Richarlison has been streaky since he arrived at Goodison, his lack of consistency can hurt this team. A player of his caliber needs to be finding his way onto the scoresheet more often.

The likes of Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean should get the opportunity to play some real minutes in the coming weeks. Kean alone has had more impact in a substitute role than any striker for Everton since Romelu Lukaku. Silva must get the momentum back on Everton’s side before they start dropping points that could really matter later in the season.

Bad loss this early in the season

As it was happening, this felt like the most Everton loss that this team could have given up. Playing against a newly promoted team with two solid performances under their belt, Everton found a way to lose by two goals. A draw would have been unfortunate, but a loss is just plain bad.

Every Everton supporter wants this club to finally break through to the top-six. But no amount of ambition and positive thinking can make that happen if they are losing to Aston Villa in the third match of the season. Sure, even good teams lose to lesser competition sometimes, but those kind of losses are expected in the grinding winter months. At the minimum, this team should have came away with a point in this match.

On the whole, things may be on the upswing for Everton, but their inability to score consistently and the over-reliance on the defensive unit will cause more losses in the future. The supporters want progress, not the same 7th-10th place finish year after year.