Everton welcome Aston Villa to Goodison Park on the back of a devastating 4-0 loss in the Merseyside Derby on Tuesday night. With that result, Everton sit in 6th place, two points ahead of Man Utd, one point off Spurs and now four off their local rivals Liverpool. The race for a Champions League place is becoming more intense by the week and The Toffees will feel they need the win in order to keep up with the teams above. Aston Villa have just come off of a derby of their own but their fortunes fared much better as they ran out 4-3 winners against West Brom in a pulsating match. Having coming away from Anfield two weeks ago with a 2-2 draw, they will hope a similar if not better result against their neighbours.
Everton will hope that the midweek loss won’t a demoralising impact on Roberto Martinez’s men whose night was compounded by the injury to Romelu Lukaku who suffered ankle ligament damage. The Toffees are back at home at least where they have been excellent so far this season. Everton have won 7 of their 11 home matches so far, with their only defeat coming against Sunderland.
Villa on the other hand will be delighted with the character and determination showed in a victory which saw Paul Lambert’s team go 2-0 down very early on in the game. Their away form has actually been impressive so far with only 3 defeats from 11 away games, including away wins at Arsenal and Southampton as well as a draw against Liverpool.
Over the years, this fixture has not disappointed with some thrilling encounters in recent times. In this fixture last year, Everton came back from 3-1 down to end the match 3-3 in a pulsating game in which Fellaini scored a 90th min equaliser. Benteke scored twice that day and will hope to do so again this time round. Seven of the ten matches between these sides since 2009 have ended in score draws, but the reverse fixture earlier in the season finished in a 2-0 victory for Everton.
Everton have a whole host of player on the treatment table ahead of the game against Villa. Romelu Lukaku suffered an ankle injury after colliding with teammate Gareth Barry in the Merseyside Derby. However, scans have revealed that the injury is not as serious as first feared and the Belgian international is likely to be out for weeks rather than months. Kone and Gibson are long term absentees along with Oviedo who suffered a broken leg recently. Distin, Coleman and Deulofeu are still not ready for first team returns and new signing Lacina Traore is injured and won’t be available for around two weeks.
Gabby Agbonlahor missed the Midlands derby and is set to miss out again having suffered a knock against Liverpool a few weeks ago. Herd and Bennett may make their comebacks from injury whereas N’Zogbia and Kozak are long term absentees.
Possible Line Ups
- Villa only lost 3 games in their last 11 away top flight games.
- There is an average of 3.22 goals per game in the fixture.
- Everton have only conceded 9 goals at home so far, with three of them coming against Liverpool earlier in the season.
- The last time these two teams played out a goalless draw was in 2003, since then another 20 fixtures have been played.
- Aston Villa have won only one of the last ten matches against Everton.
Everton: Ross Barkley
After coming back early from his foot injury, Ross Barkley put in an impressive shift against a resolute Liverpool side which in the end was to no avail. Barkley’s aim now will be to continue in the same vein of form which saw him talked about so highly in the first half of the season. With a possible World Cup spot for England on the horizon, the young midfielder will firstly aim to help his side make it into the Champions League. The talented playmaker has so far scored three goals and created 20 chances for his team-mates. Barkley along with teammates Mirallas have been the creative stars so far and will hope to produce good performances on Saturday. With an 85% passing accuracy as well as winning 140 out of his 245 ground duels, you can see how much control Barkley has for Everton around the middle of the pitch and will hope to again dictate the play against Villa.
Aston Villa: Andreas Weimann
After a slow start to the season, Weimann has finally found his feet this season and with great timing with Villa also coming into some form of late. Weimann’s purple match of late has seen excellent performance against Liverpool and West Brom, matches in which he both scored in taking his tally to three for the season. He has created 18 chances for his teammates so far as well as chipping in with three assists. With Agbonlahor out injured. Weimann’s role in the team is even more important with vital support needed for lone striker Benteke. Weimann has already scored against Man City and Liverpool and will hope to have some impact against another team in the top 6 on Saturday
Villa away from home are a fantastic counter attacking team and are a threat for any side with their no fear attitude. However, Everton have a very good home record this season so it looks to be a cracker of a match. I see a few goals being scored in this match but a draw seems a good bet for me.
My Prediction: Everton 2-2 Aston Villa