After the immense disappointment of losing to Liverpool on Tuesday night Everton will look to bounce back when they take on Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday. The Blues will be looking to put the disastrous result behind them by closing the gap between them and the top four with three precious points.
Everton’s home record against Aston Villa is particularly poor, with the Blues having failed to win in the Premier League against the Claret and Blues for the last seven years. The last four meetings at Goodison have all ended all square including a 3-3 draw in last seasons corresponding fixture. In one of the most dramatic matches of last year, the Blues fell behind on three occasions and were indebted to a Marouane Fellaini goal deep in injury time to rescue a point.
In contrast Everton have done well at Villa Park in recent years and won the reverse fixture in relative comfort, despite conceding a first half penalty that was missed by Villa’s main striker, Christian Benteke. The Toffee’s responded in an impressive manner, scoring through Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman as Everton ran out 2-0 winners.
Aston Villa have failed to build on last season’s dramatic survival in the way that many pundits predicted. The Villains possess a dangerous attack, full of pace and verve, but their naive approach to many games leaves they susceptible to defeat. Paul Lambert’s team have a terrible home record, winning just three of their twelve matches, however this did include a dramatic 4-3 win over local rivals West Brom on Wednesday night. On their travels they have fared much better, and Everton must be aware of their counter attacking style. Four wins and four draws away from home leaves Aston Villa in the top half of the table in advance of the weekend fixtures.
Everton’s injury list continues to grow, with Romelu Lukaku ruled out for at least two weeks. New loan signing Lacina Traore is also out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, which leaves the Blues short in attack. Roberto Martinez will need to decide between Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith to lead the line, with the Scot likely to get the nod after his two goals in the cup last weekend. If that is the case, Mirallas will line up in his familiar right sided role, with the Evertonians hoping he continues in the same rich vain of form he has shown in recent weeks.
Ross Barkley should be fine to play, with John Stones expected to revert to the centre of the defence alongside captain Phil Jagielka. Tony Hibbert could receive his first start of the league season with Seamus Coleman still nursing a hamstring injury. One player who is set for a return to the substitutes bench is Barcelona loanee, Gerard Deulofeu.
Possible Starting Team: Howard; Baines, Hibbert, Jagielka, Stones; Barry, McCarthy, Barkley; McGeady, Mirallas; Naismith.
This is the most played match in football league history. The two founder members have played each other on 197 occasions, with each side winning 72 times.
Everton have only lost once at home all season.
Aston Villa have only lost three times away from home all season.
Everton have won five, lost two and drawn three of their last ten Premier League matches.
Aston Villa have won three, lost five and drawn two of their last ten Premier League matches.
The corresponding fixture last season ended 3-3, with Victor Anichebe and two from Marouane Fellaini scoring for the Blues.
The reverse fixture earlier this season at Villa Park, ended 0-2, Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman were on the score sheet.
Our archive footage comes from the New Years Day in 1987. Everton chasing their second Championship in three years destroyed Aston Villa 3-0. The rampant Blues won thanks to goals from Alan Harper, Trevor Steven and Kevin Sheedy.