Everton vs Aston Villa match report: Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku score two each as Toffees dominate struggling Villa

Everton 4 Aston Villa 0

There are plenty of reasons to fear that Villa’s 27 seasons of continuous membership of the Premier League might be under grave threat, possibly too many to list. But here are a couple.

First for those who swear by omens, Villa may have dodged relegation for four years in a row but the last time they finished 15th or below for four consecutive seasons, back in the 1960s, the next season saw them go down. Second, they are not very good.

Everton enjoyed a second consecutive Goodison goalfest, having put six past Sunderland here last time. Ross Barkley scored twice, as did Romelu Lukaku, who passed 50 Premier League goals. Man of the match Gerard Deulofeu played a part in all four.

Ross Barkley opens the scoring for Everton

The match was over at half‑time, in effect, whenVilla, having set out to frustrate Everton with a five-man midfield sitting deep, were three goals down, beyond the point at which Rémi Garde’s dressing-room address could have affected the outcome.

Villa had kept Manchester City at bay in Garde’s first match but were undone after 17, 29 and 43 minutes and Garde may have seen it as a minor victory that Everton were limited to only one more.

Everton were impressive. The first, popped in by Barkley – right, with John Stones – after Brad Guzan had palmed out a shot by Deulofeu, followed sharp linking between Barkley, Lukaku and James McCarthy. The second came after more of the same before Lukaku directed a header beyond Guzan. The Belgian joins Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in reaching 50 goals before his 23rd birthday.

Romelu Lukaku heads in his first and Everton's second

Goal three came after Micah Richards, dispossessing Lukaku after a patient build‑up by Everton, gave the ball away to Barkley, who launched a move he finished himself, putting away the rebound after Guzan had denied Arouna Koné.

The fourth came 14 minutes into the second half. Deulofeu supplied Barkley, whose threaded pass Lukaku slotted past Guzan. “I wouldn’t swap Lukaku for another striker,” Roberto Martinez, Everton’s manager, said. “But then I am biased.”

Garde said he knew that it would be a difficult game. “But there are still a lot of points to play for. It is important we stay together and stay focused,” the Frenchman said.

Barkley added the third before half-time

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway; McCarthy (Gibson, 84), Barry; Deulofeu (Mirallas, 73), Barkley (Osman, 73) Koné; Lukaku.

Aston Villa (4-1-4-1): Guzan; Hutton, Richards, Clark, Richardson; Westwood; Gil (Gestede, 57), Veretout, Gana (Sanchez, h-t), Grealish (N’Zogbia, 74); Ayew.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Match rating: 7/10

Man of the match: Deulofeu (Everton).

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