It all came together for Villa at Goodison with Ollie Watkins, Ross Barkley, Bertrand Traoré, Anwar El Ghazi and others enjoying their best performances in a long time.
Watkins was just great in the first half and could have pulled off a hat-trick without Jordan Pickford’s form.
Villa shot himself in the foot – as they often do – when Barkley let Dominic Calvert-Lewin return home, but, with 10 to go, El Ghazi stepped up to fold in style to win him over. .
BirminghamLive Aston Villa Correspondent Ashley Preece was inside Goodison Park on Saturday night and here are some of the moments the fans might have missed.
CHUKWUEMEKA WORKS AGAIN WITH THE FIRST TEAM
In the directors box in front of the press bench were two familiar faces as Bjorn Engels and Carney Chukwuemeka sat next to each other after missing the bench of nine Smith substitutes.
Belgian Engels was not involved at Everton due to the return of Matty Cash, with Ahmed Elmohamady coming back down to the bench. The 26-year-old hasn’t made a first-team appearance in 420 days with Ezri Konsa’s position at right-center-back simply unbreakable.
As for Chukwuemeka, the 17-year-old is arguably Villa’s greatest talent and has traveled with the first team numerous times this season while benching Smith twice against Leicester and Man City.
The teenager scored a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup quarterfinals last week and I asked Smith about Chukwuemeka’s plan knowing that some of the European heavy hitters were looking to take him away.
“He’s got a path at club soccer,” Smith said. “He has a plan at the football club. He is doing very well. He trains regularly with the first team. He was on the bench for us. He’s been part of several teams and he’s doing very well. We are really satisfied. its progress so far. ”
‘YOU LITTLE …’
Now let’s move on to a point in the game, and just seconds after arriving in the second half, former Villa captain Fabian Delph received a good kick from John McGinn.
McGinn hacked Delph’s leg and was behind with Everton still in possession as play continued. Delph, dishonored for his U-turn before joining City in 2015, then had a pop to McGinn that can’t be repeated, which sounded like, “You little…”
The pair exchanged words as the match continued before the winner of El Ghazi. This kick-off was for the supporters of the Villa, eh Ginny!
EZRI’S FULL-TIME ROAR OF EMOTION
As referee Simon Hooper blew full-time in Villa’s 2-1 win over Everton, it was Konsa’s cry that made reporters look up from their laptops on Saturday night.
The win meant everything to Konsa who let out a huge release of emotion knowing that Villa was defending himself well to see what was a must-have three pointer.
I made a point in my notes and in player notes to mention how much fun Konsa had against Calvert-Lewin and roaming Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Konsa loves to defend, which was evident by the final whistle at Goodison Park.
SMITH IN A SERIOUS MOOD
Elsewhere in Liverpool this weekend, manager Smith was in a stern and serious mood during his post-match press conference. The boss was keen to silence those who suggested his team were on the beach after a two-game winning streak in 11 games. “It calls into question our professionalism,” he said, before revealing that Villa’s end-of-season speech was the subject of his pre-match squad interview.
That was Smith’s mood, I reminded him to smile before signing knowing how good a performance was. It was what Villa fans had grown to love at the start of this season, a team full of determination, confidence and quality.