Everton new boy Amadou Onana had a moment to forget with a mistake that led to a goal against Aston Villa on Saturday, before immediately going on a mazy run from the kick-off to set up an opportunity that saw the Toffees pull one back. The former Lille youngster had a wild ride on his Premier League debut with fans given plenty to process on their big-money acquisition.
Onana, who only completed his move from Lille officially on Wednesday, was left on the bench against Villa as manager Frank Lampard plumped for Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucoure in midfield. It was evident that the youngster was not up to speed when Doucoure came off injured in the first half, only to be replaced by Tom Davies.
The 20-year-old, who cost Everton £33.5million, emerged from the bench in the 81st minute and was immediately thrust into the action. Just four minutes into his Premier League debut, an audacious midfield run was snuffed out by Villa who immediately went on the attack and scored with Emi Buendia.
After a head-in-hands moment, Onana picked himself off, dusted himself down and mounted the perfect response. Almost straight from kick-off, the Belgian international embarked on a powerful run down the left flank, breezing past several players before his low cross was tapped in by Lucas Digne for a humiliating own goal against his former side.
Onana could have rescued a point for the Toffees late on when he met a hopeful ball into the box, but Calum Chambers was there to make a crucial block and deny another wave of emotion on the youngster’s rollercoaster Everton bow.
Although there were positives to take, Lampard will still have left the West Midlands disappointed after slumping to a second consecutive defeat to start the season. The Toffees only narrowly avoided relegation last term and were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea last weekend.
Their attacking shortage was on full display against Villa with Anthony Gordon – most often deployed on the wing – asked to fill in through the middle again. Everton struggled to create anything in the first half but showed more intent after the break, particularly in the game’s dying minutes after Onana gave fans hope.
A new-look back-five included James Tarkowski and Conor Coady, and while the latter’s long passing was on full display, it wasn’t enough to keep Villa at bay. With a tricky fixture against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest next on the agenda, former Everton centre-back Ashley Williams believes that Lampard should prioritise his attacking options.
“Everton need a striker, a focal point,” he told the BBC. “They need someone to shoulder the burden of scoring goals in that team.
“They need more possession – I don’t know how long we’ve been saying it, they need more control in games. The performance last weekend was OK, but today they weren’t as good.”