Everton vs Aston Villa at Goodison: Match Preview

Stu Forster

Can the Blues show bouncebackability?

Well what a week. A comprehensive cup win, a horrific injury, an awful derby display, and a muted transfer deadline day. Next up are Aston Villa and a chance for the team to put some things right.

Team news

The good news is that there are no new injuries, well not since the Liverpool game. The bad news... well it'll likely be the same line up that was soundly beaten on Tuesday minus Romelu Lukaku, who will probably be replaced by Steven Naismith. The other likely change is that we'll see Aiden McGeady come in for Steven Pienaar. Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman are still injured and Johnny Heitinga has gone.

For Villa, Gabby Agbonlahor is a fitness doubt, but Grant Holt is waiting to step in for his first start. Other than that it'll be business as usual for Villa.

Keys to the game

The obvious match up is between Christian Benteke and the under performing Blues centre back pairing. Phil Jagielka is clearly not 100% fit, and Antolin Alcaraz is also not at match fitness, both struggles against the pace of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez on Tuesday. With Benteke finding some form Everton will be hoping that the few days since the derby have been sufficient recovery time. The alternative is to bring John Stones into the centre and Tony Hibbert at right back.

Again, Kevin Mirallas will be a key man for the Blues, his pace and direct running worried Liverpool and he will be important to the Everton gameplan again.

The most important aspect of the game though will be the mentality that Roberto Martinez has instilled in his men. The worry is that his positivity is great when things are going well, but how does it work in times like this? Will the team respond? We'll find out this afternoon.

Match facts

The number of wins each (72) is equal in this, the most played fixture in the top flight.

Aston Villa are Leon Osman's favourite team, he has scored against them more than any other team (6).

Villa are strong on the road, they've lost just 3 games of 11 this season.

7 of the last 10 between the two teams have been draws.

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