It was naivety at its best. Everton had new £33 million signing Amadou Onana - a box-to-box powerhouse midfielder that several Premier League clubs were chasing - on the bench. He was itching to get on to show the Evertonians what he can do. But, coach Frank Lampard instead turned to Tom Davies to replace Abdoulaye Doucoure in the first half when the Frenchman went down injured. It turned out to be a very costly mistake by the coach.
Many have said he is not good enough to manage a club the size of Everton. He almost got them relegated last season but for a couple of vital victories late on in the season. The former Chelsea legend had a spell at Stamford Bridge and then at Championship club Derby. He flattered to decieve for both. He does have his admirers who feel there is a very good coach there. But he was nowhere to be seen as Everton struggled to break down a resilient Aston Villa in the Premier League clash.
And when the chance came to change the game early in the first half, the boss fluffed his lines. On came Davies - who has been awful for several seasons and offers nothing to the team in the most important position on the pitch - when the game was crying out for Onana. For years now the fans been begging the board to tear up Davies’ contract. He has been stealing a wage, and a very, very handsome one at that, for far too long now. 24-year-old Davies is an academy graduate of Everton, having joined the club at the age of 11, but he has not developed at all. He would not get into most Championship teams yet he was allowed to wander onto Villa Park and then go on to do what he does best - nothing. Lampard had a far better option available to him and the fingers will be pointed at the coach. Make no bones about it – Lampard cost Everton 3 points with his bizarre decision. And now it could cost him his job in the Goodison Park hot seat as the pressure from a poor start to the season begins to build.
Everton had played very cautiously for most of the game which was already lost when Onana, the six-foot five-inch 20-year-old from Lille, was eventually brought on but in the 10 minutes the Belgian was given at the end he stole the show and was the man of the match.
Pace and power
He showed brilliant close skill, pace and power to set up a goal for the Toffees with a minute remaining which cut the deficit to 2-1 in a largely drab match that Villa lead with goals in either half from Danny Ings and Emi Buendia. Onana showed a hunger and desire to get involved in the game and to drag his team back into contention. Davies, who had the best part of an hour on the pitch got himself booked for a silly foul.
Had Onana been on earlier he could have transformed the game in Everton’s favour. Instead, the game could now be up for Lampard who has started the new season in charge with 2 defeats from the first 2 games.