Both teams head into this without a win in their last three games as both sides have seen their early season optimism crash back to earth. Everton have endured a dismal start to their second season under Roberto Martinez with just six points gained from seven fixtures. Meanwhile, Aston Villa looked set to finally kick on under Paul Lambert but three defeats in a row have tempered what hopes they had and now a result against Everton is paramount to avoid another panic at the Midlands’ club. For Everton, a simple 2-0 win a clean sheet would do nicely but a clean sheet looks a million miles away at the minute so we could expect goals – especially with Villa’s counter attacking style making them a serious threat.
Everton have faced a heavy load of injuries so far this season which could go some way to explaining their dismal form. The Toffees could be in luck this weekend with a number of players due for a late fitness test before this match. Steven Peinaar (thigh), Seamus Coleman (hamstring), James McCarthy (thigh) and Sylvain Distin (knock) are all potentially available for the Merseyside club – Distin especially would be a timely return given the serious ankle injury to John Stones.
Other casualties include Belgian winger Kevin Mirallas who tore his hamstring in the away Derby with Liverpool whilst Ross Barkley is still out with knee ligament damage despite his return to training.
Aston Villa have fared a little better in the injury department but fitness issues are now trying to creep in. Centre-back Philippe Senderos is out with a thigh injury whilst Libor Kozak is still out with a broken leg,
Late fitness tests will determine as to whether Gabriel Agbonlahor (illness) and Ron Vlaar (calf) are fit with both potentially playing a key role for Villa in the coming weeks.
- Everton conceded 39 goals in the entirety of last season but the Blues have already leaked 16 goals this term in just seven matches.
- Everton have scored five goals from set pieces this season – over a third of their total tally which is 13.
- Everton’s record signing Romelu Lukaku has just two goals from seven league appearances this season.
- Both Villa and Everton have had 12 yellow cards this season so both should be prone to conceding a couple this weekend – but who will keep their composure the best? Back Villa to gain more yellow cards than Everton, in this weekend’s match, at 1.5/1 with Tailor Bet.
- Villa have the worst goal difference in the top 10 with a score of -five having scored just four and conceding nine times.
Scotland international Steven Naismith has enjoyed a very effective start to the season despite Everton’s struggles in the bottom half of the Premier League. The hard-working, former Rangers attacker has netted four goals already for Martinez’s Everton and has also registered a prosperous shot accuracy of 56% – competitive figure for an attacker expected to take shots on a regular basis.
However, Naismith isn’t just about goals. So far, Naismith has completed a total of six defensive actions which includes around two interceptions in every three matches.
Everton will again be reliant on the in-form striker with Lukaku showing few signs of replicating last season’s form – is the muscular Belgian another victim of the post World Cup fatigue?
Fabian Delph has enjoyed a steep rise to fame in the last six months or so with his high energy performances earning him international call-ups and national compliments – finally, some results to go with that young potential. Now 24, Delph is the lynchpin of an Aston Villa side that still contains many fresh faced youngsters. Any Villans travelling up to Merseyside will hope Delph is on point for this fixture as the Villa aim for a first win in three games.
So far this term, Delph has won a fantastic 63% of the total duels he has entered into – showing how important he is in terms of defensive work. However, another side to Delph is that he is agile when on the ball and these duels include success take-ons too – with the England international excelling in this department in particular. Delph has been successful in 78.26% of his take-ons so far which represents an impressive 18/23. Delph could be more physical in the air with only three out of his ten headed duels being won but this player does the talking with the ball at his feet.
However, Delph must improve his shooting if he is to improve the attacking side of his game as the 24 year old has hit just 10% of his shots on target this season – a very poor record indeed.
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With Everton’s current form and Aston Villa’s preference of playing away from home I’m going for a draw here. I think the score will be 1-1 with Villa to score on the counter.