Aston Villa return to Villa Park for the Saturday evening fixture against high-flying Everton.
Dean Smith’s men will be looking to pick themselves up from a 3-0 defeat last time out against Chelsea, a game in which for at least the first half, they impressed and more than held their own against the European champions.
Everton have got off to a great start under new manager Rafa Benitez, winning three out of four league fixtures against Southampton (3-0), Brighton (0-2) and Burnley (3-1) with their other fixture finishing 2-2 away to Leeds United.
The appointment of Benitez was heavily criticised by many due to his previous allegiance to Liverpool but he is a manager with a solid track record and he appears to be getting the best out of an Everton side in which he has not been able to build upon with large transfer fees.
Demarai Gray (£1.8mil) and Andros Townsend (free) have made particularly promising starts to the season and they have been joined by Salomon Rondon (free) and the returning Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun (end of loans).
It is usually a close game and goals aplenty when the two teams meet, last season saw a rare 0-0 at Villa Park and a 2-1 win for Villa on their travels to Goodison Park with goals from Ollie Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi.
Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith should be able to call upon as close to his strongest side as possible which will be a welcome opportunity following countless injuries and absences.
Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia could feature following their late arrivals back in the U.K. following the recent international break and the chaos it ensued.
Bertrand Traore appears to be back to full fitness and Morgan Sanson being on the bench last week means another potentially important player becomes available.
Trezeguet, Keinan Davis, Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Carney Chukwuemeka will all miss out.
Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Luiz, McGinn, Bailey, Buendia, Watkins, Ings
Everton Team News
As for Everton, their most notable absence is Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh) who will miss around two to three weeks and former Villan, Fabian Delph (shoulder) will remain sidelined.
James Rodriguez has been allowed to train with the first team this week and could be an outside call up to the matchday squad.
Possible starting line up:
Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Gomes, Townsend, Richarlison, Gray
One to watch:
Initially this may seem a surprise choice but Abdoulaye Doucoure is a player that could hold a key to Everton getting a result today.
A strong, combative, box-to-box midfielder that offers protection to the back line and often starts attacks with key passes, Doucoure must not be given the time on the ball by the likes of John McGinn and Douglas Luiz.
Last season, Doucoure scored 2 goals in the Premier League and gained 3 assists. His key attribute was his passing in which he completed 1157 out of 1357 (85%) which was one of the best records in the league.
He also won 64% of tackles across the season.
This season he already has 1 goal and 3 assists to his name as he has started to drive forward more.
Head to Head record:
Aton Villa 82 wins, 60 Draws, Everton 82 wins
The most played fixture in league history incredibly sees the honours shared in regards to games won!
Last five meetings:
13 May 2021 – Aston Villa 0-0 Everton (Premier League)
01 May 2021 – Everton 1-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
16 Jul 2020 – Everton 1-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
23 Aug 2019 – Aston Villa 2-0 Everton (Premier League)
01 Mar 2016 – Aston Villa 1-3 Everton (Premier League)
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
I can see this being another tough game and taking chances will be key.
A fully fit Villa side will want to prove a point but equally they need to start building some consistency and Everton will be a difficult side to face in the form they are in.
Aston Villa 2-2 Everton
Tip of the day
Danny Ings has scored more goals against Everton than any other side. A decent shout for first or last goalscorer.
Danny Ings to be score first or last 7/2.
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