Birmingham: Aston Villa won for the first time this season as they routed Everton 4-0 on Sunday to erase the bitter taste of last weekend’s thrashing at Newcastle.
Tipped to improve on last season’s strong finish, Villa were hammered 5-1 on Tyneside in a shockingly bad start to their Premier League campaign.
But Unai Emery’s side got back on track in the Villa Park sunshine as goals from John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Leon Bailey and Jhon Duran brushed aside woeful Everton.
Emery will hope Villa’s biggest victory of his reign kick-starts a season in which they will compete in Europe for the first time in 13 years after qualifying for the Europa Conference League.
Everton have less lofty ambitions after narrowly avoiding relegation last season and Sean Dyche’s men already look destined for another grim fight for survival.
Beaten 1-0 at home by Fulham last weekend, Everton have lost their opening two games in tame fashion.
It is only the third time Everton have been beaten in their first two league matches without scoring a goal and the first since 1956.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Dyche also had to contend with the sight of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alex Iwobi both coming off injured.
The injury-plagued Calvert-Lewin was fit to start in place of Neal Maupay, but the striker’s return was short-lived.
Hampered fitness and form issues, Calvert-Lewin had managed only four goals since August 2021 and scored just two last season.
Incredibly, his injury woes resurfaced when he needed lengthy treatment on a facial cut following a collision with Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez early in the first half.
Calvert-Lewin was able to continue but Everton fell behind in the 18th minute.
Bailey sprinted onto Moussa Diaby’s pass and cut the ball back to Scotland midfielder McGinn, who emphatically volleyed home from close-range.
Villa doubled their lead six minutes later from the penalty spot after Everton keeper Jordan Pickford caught Ollie Watkins with his out-stretched arm as he tried to punch clear.
Luiz stepped up to slot the spot-kick past Pickford, who was booked for trying to delay the penalty in an unsuccessful bid to distract the Brazilian.
Pickford saved from Diaby’s low strike and then produced an even better stop to turn the Villa winger’s volley against the woodwork as Emery’s men laid seige to the Everton goal.
Looking tentative whenever the ball came near him, Calvert-Lewin finally came off before half-time with blood still scarring his cheek wound.
Iwobi limped off to add to Everton’s problems and Villa added insult to injury with a third goal in the 51st minute.
Dismal defending by Michael Keane allowed Bailey space to plant a powerful drive past Pickford from 12 yards.
Many of Everton’s travelling fans had seen enough as they streamed towards the exits from Bailey’s goal.
It proved a wise move as Duran scored 47 seconds after coming on to complete the demolition in the 75th minute.
Keane was guilty of more sloppy defending, missing his kick to allow Duran to slot home.
On an otherwise perfect day, the only frustration for Villa was a late injury to Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.