Wesley joined Aston Villa from Bruges for £22m in the summer
Aston Villa collected their first Premier League points of the season as goals from Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi gave them victory over Everton.
Brazilian Wesley, who arrived from Bruges for a club record fee, opened his account in English football with a close-range effort from Jota’s incisive pass.
El Ghazi sealed victory late on after collecting John McGinn’s pass and sliding a shot underneath Jordan Pickford from six yards out.
The result lifts Dean Smith’s side up to 11th in the table and gives Villa their first win in the top flight since February 2016.
Substitute Alex Iwobi went closest to scoring for Everton, driving a low effort against the right-hand post at 1-0.
However, it was a largely frustrating evening for Marco Silva’s side with Theo Walcott also spurning a glorious 89th minute chance to equalise from a right-foot volley.
Everton toil at both ends
With four points from their opening two fixtures of the season, Everton’s undefeated start to the campaign had been constructed on their collective solidity rather than attacking verve.
However, Villa’s opening goal was a result of a breakdown in communication and a disregard of defensive duties.
Andre Gomes, who joined the Blues permanently from Barcelona in July, and Michael Keane were both culpable.
Caught out of position by Jack Grealish’s quickly taken free-kick, the Portugal midfielder allowed Jota both the time and space to slide a pass through the Everton defence.
Keane’s sluggish reaction then compounded matters, with the England defender allowing Wesley to run across him and put the ball past a helpless Pickford from seven yards.
While Silva’s side were slick in possession, there was a noticeable absence of attacking threat to their play.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise at 1-0, firing a shot straight at Villa’s Belgian defender Bjorn Engels.
And while the second-half introduction of Moise Kean, Iwobi and Walcott provided more thrust and pace, the latter’s late miss with the goal gaping summed up an evening in which they only managed a single shot on target.
Jota and McGinn excel for Villa
Successive defeats have delivered a tough period of acclimatisation for Aston Villa who returned to the top flight this summer after three years in the Championship.
With individual errors rather than poor performances depriving Villa of points, this fixture was a test of their nerve and concentration.
Repeatedly cut open in the early stages, Smith’s side found discipline and shape before Jota was the catalyst for an upturn in their fortunes.
Exerting his influence from the right, the 28-year-old Spaniard’s presence of mind and ability to retain possession halted Everton’s dominance.
A delicious pass to Wesley brought the opening goal and three minutes later he again carved the visiting defence apart, sliding the ball behind Keane and Yerry Mina to create another opening for the Brazilian.
Not to be outdone his fellow midfielder McGinn produced a superbly weighted pass for El Ghazi’s goal in added time.
Man of the match – Jota (Aston Villa)
Jota’s pass success rate was 92% in the first half as he set the tone for Aston Villa
‘It’s difficult to see how we lost’- what they said
Everton boss Marco Silva, speaking to BBC Sport: “It is really difficult to see how we can lose this game when we create so many chances to score.
“We started well and controlled the game with some dangerous moments around their box. The first time they went in our box they scored.
“We spoke during the week that Villa like to play fast set-pieces and they did that and we switched off. In the first moment it was 1-0.
“It is concerning about the goals we didn’t score and of course we should score more. Against Palace we created lots of chances to score and didn’t and again today.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith told BBC Sport: “I am more pleased to get the first points in the Premier League. Our performances have been OK, Tottenham was tough first up and we were good for an hour. We played well against Bournemouth and from the supporters there is a lot of optimism. They stuck right behind us. Everton started brighter but it was a good performance to get the win.
“We have had a bit of fortune, they have missed two big chances form inside the box and Theo Walcott shot over. I always felt we were a threat on the counter and we broke at pace. They play a higher line and we used that well.”
Smith breaks Premier League duck – the stats
- Aston Villa ended a run of 15 Premier League games without a win (W0 D1 L14). This was their first top-flight victory since beating Norwich City 2-0 in February 2016.
- Everton suffered only their third Premier League defeat in their past 14 matches in the competition (W7 D4 L3).
- Aston Villa manager Dean Smith enjoyed his first win against Premier League opposition – as a manager, Smith had lost all eight of his previous games against top-flight opponents across spells at Walsall, Brentford and Aston Villa.
- Everton have lost back to back Premier League games against newly promoted opponents (also 2-0 v Fulham in April) for the first time since August 2011.
- Jota has been involved in 21 goals in 32 league appearances under manager Smith across his spells at Brentford and Aston Villa (12 goals, nine assists).
Aston Villa visit Crewe in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday (19:45 BST) and then go to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, 31 August (15:00).
Everton travel to Lincoln in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday (19:45 BST) before resuming their Premier League duties at home to Wolves on Sunday, 1 September (14:00).