Duo fire brace as Villa lose at Everton
Aston Villa slumped to a heavy first defeat under Remi Garde in his second game in charge as braces from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku condemned the Barclays Premier League basement boys to a 4-0 thrashing at Everton.
Barkley put the Toffees ahead in the 17th minute, finishing at the far post when Brad Guzan turned Gerard Deulofeu's effort his way.
Lukaku then headed home in the 28th minute, before poor Villa defending allowed Barkley to add another three minutes before half-time.
Lukaku notched his second just before the hour, with Barkley and Deulofeu again involved on an afternoon the young trio truly shone.
While Everton boss Roberto Martinez will be delighted to see his team produce another impressive display after the 6-2 thumping of Sunderland last time out at Goodison Park, this was a hugely concerning spectacle for opposite number Garde, whose side remain five points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.
Garde's first game in the job, the 0-0 home draw with Manchester City, had made for an encouraging start, but the challenge facing the Frenchman was laid bare here as Villa's winless run in the league extended to 12 matches - a sequence in which they have lost 10 times.
Everton dominated possession from the off, and it was not long before they broke the deadlock.
A flowing move started with Barkley delightfully flicking a John Stones pass to Lukaku, and the ball then moved slickly on to James McCarthy and out to Deulofeu.
He sent it goalwards and Guzan was only able to parry it into the path of Barkley, who converted with ease.
Ten minutes later Guzan pulled off a fine save to keep out Arouna Kone's shot.
But soon after he was beaten again as Deulofeu tried to play Lukaku in, Micah Richards' block saw the ball break wide to Seamus Coleman and his chipped cross was headed in by the Belgium striker.
It was Lukaku's 10th goal of the season in all competitions and saw him become only the fifth player to reach 50 Premier League goals before turning 23.
It had been a torrid half for Villa's defence but things turned embarrassing before the interval when Everton notched their third.
Lukaku and Barkley helped the ball through and Guzan saved at Kone's feet - but he could not hold on to it, and despite the presence of several Villa defenders, Barkley was able to step in and fire into the net.
Villa had some glimmers of hope after the break, with Tim Howard rushing out to make a decent save when Jordan Veretout tried to pounce on an under-hit back pass by Ramiro Funes Mori, and the goalkeeper then pushing away Kieran Richardson's shot.
But in the 59th minute Everton struck again as their stand-out trio combined once more, Deulofeu feeding Barkley and his tee-up finding Lukaku, who lifted the ball past Guzan.
Lukaku was almost in for his hat-trick towards the end, but Guzan this time kept him at bay.
TWEET OF THE MATCH:
Everton ripping Villa to shreds. Barkley, Deulofeu and Lukaku having a field day - The Times' Merseyside football writer Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) sums up the story of the game
Tim Howard: 7/10
Brendan Galloway: 6
Ramiro Funes Mori: 6
John Stones: 7
Seamus Coleman: 7
Gareth Barry: 6
James McCarthy: 7
Arouna Kone: 7
Ross Barkley: 8
Gerard Deulofeu: 8
Romelu Lukaku: 8
Leon Osman: 6
Kevin Mirallas: 6
Darron Gibson: 6
Brad Guzan: 5
Kieran Richardson: 4
Ciaran Clark: 4
Micah Richards: 4
Alan Hutton: 4
Idrissa Gana: 5
Ashley Westwood: 5
Jordan Veretout: 5
Jack Grealish: 5
Carles Gil: 5
Jordan Ayew: 5
Carlos Sanchez: 5
Rudy Gestede: 5
Charles N'Zogbia: 5
Gerard Deulofeu. One of three stand-out performers along with Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, Deulofeu might not have got his name on the scoresheet like the other two, but he looked threatening virtually every time he had the ball and was involved in three of the four goals.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
Lukaku's second goal. Not the best one of the game technique-wise, but it marked a nice personal milestone for the in-form striker as he joined the 50-Premier-League-goals-before-the-age-of-23 club, which only has four other members.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT:
More for Roberto Martinez to get excited about as his young talents showed off their skills to devastating effect. Quite the contrast to how Remi Garde will be feeling - Villa struggled to get anything going in attack and looked vulnerable at the back throughout.
MOAN OF THE MATCH:
Villa's defending - generally poor, and the way they failed to keep out the third goal was borderline comical.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Bournemouth v Everton, November 28 (Premier League)
Aston Villa v Watford, November 28 (Premier League)