2021-22 English Premier League
  • Emiliano Buendía (45'+3')

Aston Villa win at struggling Everton as objects rain down from the stands

Michallik: It's a difficult and dangerous time for Everton (1:04)

Janusz Michallik gives his take on the troubles at Everton and questions how long stars like Dominic Calvert-Lewin will stay for. (1:04)

Everton's first match of the post-Rafa Benitez era began with a 1-0 Premier League defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday amid a tense atmosphere at Goodison Park where the visiting team were hit by missiles thrown from the crowd.

A lively first half ended with Emiliano Buendia scoring with a flicked header that arced over Jordan Pickford in goal and the provocative celebrations led to a bottle being launched from the stands and hitting the Villa players.

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Villa's Matty Cash, who went down after being hit by a bottle, told BT Sport: "Crazy, it hit me straight in the head, it's not nice but three points, we'll take that.

"It was a tough game, they threw everything forward in the last 15 to 20 minutes and we said we had to deal with the horrible part. We picked up the three points, massive."

Everton later said they arrested the supporter who threw the bottle after security identified the culprit with CCTV footage.

Lucas Digne, who was booed by Everton fans on his return to Goodison Park since last week's transfer, provided the assist and he was also hit by an object, with stewards and police trying to identify the perpetrators.

Duncan Ferguson, in interim charge at Everton for a second time after his brief caretaker stint in 2019, had asked his players to show "fight and determination" but scoring opportunities were in short supply in the first half.

Winger Anthony Gordon's introduction greatly improved Everton's attack in the second half but his team mates failed to convert his delightful crosses into the box as Villa held on to provisionally move up to 10th with 26 points.

Everton are 16th on 19 points, five points above the relegation zone, having secured one league win since September.

"The character was second to none and the graft was really there," Pickford said. "It'll come, we are working hard on the training pitch and then go out and express yourself, it wasn't to be today."

Their sorry state was highlighted by a banner flown over the stadium with the words "22 years of failure Bill," aimed at club chairman Bill Kenwright.

English Premier League Standings

1 Arsenal 19 +29 50
2 Manchester City 20 +33 45
3 Newcastle United 20 +22 39
4 Manchester United 20 +7 39
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 +9 36
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 19 +10 31
7 Fulham 21 +2 31
8 Brentford 20 +4 30
9 Liverpool 19 +9 29
10 Chelsea 20 +1 29
11 Aston Villa 20 -4 28
12 Crystal Palace 20 -9 24
13 Nottingham Forest 20 -19 21
14 Leicester City 20 -7 18
15 Leeds United 19 -7 18
16 West Ham United 20 -8 18
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 -18 17
18 AFC Bournemouth 20 -23 17
19 Everton 20 -13 15
20 Southampton 20 -18 15