New Telegraph

EPL: Everton fan arrested after Villa players Digne, Cash hit by bottle

 

An Everton supporter was arrested after Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne and Matty Cash were struck by a plastic bottle thrown from the crowd during the Premier League game between the sides.

It was thrown as Villa celebrated Emiliano Buendia’s decisive goal, reports the BBC.

Both players fell to the turf holding their heads before continuing.

“Investigations in conjunction with the police are ongoing. The club will issue bans to any fans identified throwing objects,” read an Everton statement.

Full-back Digne joined Villa from Everton two weeks ago after asking to leave.

“What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad,” Digne wrote in a post on Instagram at the time.

“But I will not enter a war on words with anyone.”

Figures released on Friday showed arrests at football matches across the top five English leagues are at their highest levels in years, with fan disorder “getting worse” according to the UK’s football policing lead.

The latest data covers the first half of this season – which has seen the return of fans to capacity stadiums after a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

There have been more than 800 football-related arrests in the first six months of the campaign, alongside more than 750 reported incidents of disorder.

“It was crazy, it hit me straight on the head,” Cash told BT Sport after the game.

“It’s not nice having that but we got three points so we’ll take that.”

Everton caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson also called the incident “disgraceful”.

The build-up to the game at Goodison Park had been emotionally charged, with Ferguson taking interim charge of the team following Rafael Benitez’s sacking last week.

Anger among fans has been building about the direction of the club following a run of one win in 13 league games before the visit of Villa.

A plane flew over the ground before kick-off, calling for the resignation of chairman Bill Kenwright, who has been associated with the club for more than 20 years.

The bottle-throwing incident follows a similar scene at Elland Road at the beginning of January when Burnley’s Matt Lowton was struck by a bottle while celebrating a goal against Leeds.

“It just needs to be a lifetime ban for anybody caught doing it. It’s dangerous,” said former Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If it’s a coin you could cause real damage. Or a full bottle with a lid on it, which they are not supposed to have in there anyway, you could really hurt someone.”

Former Everton forward James McFadden added: “It’s disgusting to see things being thrown from the crowd, it’s a disgrace.

“It should never happen. There is no way a player should be hit by a bottle or objects thrown from the crowd.”

Following the incident at Goodison Park, the Football Association added: “We will investigate the incident and will be liaising with the club and the police as a matter of urgency.”

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