Tom Marlow, BBC Radio WM
While all eyes may have been on one little South American making his full debut for Villa, it was another who used his head wisely to secure all three points and ruin Big Dunc’s big day.
Emi Buendia marked his resurgence under Steven Gerrard with a clever header to send Villa fans back down the M6 happy, and lead some Everton supporters to stay behind long after the final whistle to vent their anger against the Toffees board.
Many predicted Buendia’s place in the side to be under threat with Villa’s high-profile new arrival, but he was at the heart of a wave of first-half attacks, while his continental counterpart Coutinho had a largely ineffective afternoon as he builds up his fitness.
Jordan Pickford had already denied Buendia with a fine save on 13 minutes, but when the smallest man on the field met recent Toffees full-back Lucas Digne’s corner with a clever angled header, the Everton number one could only get fingertips onto it as it looped over him and team-mate Andros Townsend into the net.
Gerrard refused to comment on the unsavoury scenes which followed the game’s decisive moment, with both the celebrating Digne and Matty Cash floored by missiles from the Gwladys Street End, but he was full of praise for the way his side dug in and fought for a first victory of this new calendar year.
A two-and-a-half-week break now gives the Villa boss a chance to reflect on a promising first couple of months in charge. A favourable trio of fixtures when the season resumes in February against teams in the bottom six should see Gerrard’s side looking to challenge in the top half of the table, something his exciting squad looks more than capable of achieving.