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The Talking Point: Aston Villa 4-0 Everton

Tom Nightingale is back to highlight the big takeaway from Villa’s most recent game. This week, the explosive Everton rebound.

Aston Villa v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Well, that was bloody good fun.

When you hear managers, players, fans, or analysts talking about teams needing to rebound, Sunday’s Aston Villa vs. Everton game (and particularly the first quarter of it) should be the video that is kept on file as an example for others to follow.

Villa returned with a ruthless vengeance on Sunday in the first home game of the season, coming out hissing and clawing like the wounded animal they were following their humbling at Newcastle on opening day, laying all their frustration at their first result and their ACL nightmares on a hopeless Everton. It was sensational to watch, a reminder that this team are capable of tearing apart opponents.

John McGinn (£2.5 million from Hibernian, don’t you know?) defined Villa’s aggression, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and driving the team forward as he does so often, and was rewarded for his leadership and impetus with a neat near-post finish.

Aston Villa v Everton FC - Premier League
John McGinn was one of several standout performers.
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

One caveat, not to stifle the enthusiasm: Everton are bad. There’s no surprise that Villa’s right flank of Matty Cash and Leon Bailey looked 10 times better against the Toffees than it did at St. James’ Park. But Bailey, in particular, came up with big moments, his goal, assist, and involvement in the penalty-winning incident capping the kind of performance that has thousands of Villa fans hanging on to the idea that he can be a scintillating Premier League winger.

Such as the difference in quality that Everton fans started heading for the exits as soon as Villa’s third goal went in six minutes into the second half. We can sympathize, right? It’s no fun watching a shit team.

But it is bloody good fun watching Villa when they swagger around like this. This was a Villa who knew what they wanted — to put in an emphatic, imperious performance and bank the three points — and simply walked up and took it from the first moment. Unaiball at its finest; not that the exacting Unai himself will think he has yet seen his team’s full potential.

A particular pleasure in this game? Seeing Villa unquestionably win the game so early that Moussa Diaby and Douglas Luiz, two players who will be integral pillars of this side all season long, were able to sit back and relax in the dugout for the final half an hour ahead of the return to European football on Wednesday.

10 minutes later, Watkins was given a similar rest and Jhon Durán showed hunger like the wolf to rob a defender and ice Villa’s cake (back to zero goal difference, guys!) and open his Villa account just 50 seconds after stepping onto the pitch. By that point, Everton had long since come undone.

Results and days don’t come much worse than last Saturday. They don’t come much better than Sunday, apart from poor Phil Coutinho, who lasted just 22 minutes before his hamstring popped. Such is the rollercoaster life of football.

But don’t let that take too much shine off what was a raucous, rampant performance from Villa. It was the perfect bounce-back, a marker laid down by the players to themselves, Emery, us as fans, and our Premier League rivals.

Sure, it’s just one game, but our season has truly begun.