Now that the transfer window is closed, the Toffee nation can make its mind up whether they want to be agitated that no new players were added or they want to be relieved that centerpieces Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini were not moved. Meanwhile, there remains the small matter of some Premier League football to be played and David Moyes will make sure his Everton side come ready to play. The game against Aston Villa marks the196th time the two play each other, the most played fixture in the English top flight.
Aston Villa are currently a club in turmoil, rooted in the bottom five of the table with manager Paul Lambert stuck in an uncomfortable situation that he has inherited. The Villans are equally capable of sparkling in attack as they are of complete ineptitude in defence, with some shambolic showings especially at home. After 25 consecutive years in the top flight, the Midlands club could genuinely be under threat of losing their place in the Premier League.
Team News -
Key men Darron Gibson and Kevin Mirallas came through their first game back from injury on Wednesday, and should both feature on Saturday. Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman remain out with their injuries, and it could be interesting to see if Moyes uses new signing John Stones at right back instead of Phil Neville.
Lambert could have veteran Richard Dunne back in defence, but another veteran Stilian Petrov remains out. Marc Albrighton, Chris Herd, Gary Gardner and Fabian Delph are all out with injuries. New signing and French under-21 international Yacouba Sullya and on-loan winger Simon Dawkins are also available for selection.
Keys To The Game -
A home game against a bottom side sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered for a goal-starved striker. Step forward Nikica Jelavic, and please replicate your form from exactly a year ago when you joined Everton. With Mirallas and Gibson playing alongside Leon Osman and Everton 's December Player of the Month Steven Pienaar in midfield, an early goal or two could open the floodgates for a rout by Everton.
The last time Villa won a game was in December, when they visited Anfield and spanked Liverpool 3-1. On that day, they used blistering pace to tear the Reds apart. Everton will have to watch out for more of the same, especially with Benteke and Weimann.
Match Facts -
- Everton have hit the woodwork 19 times this season, most in the Premier League.
- Steven Pienaar is the most fouled player in the League, having been hacked down 52 times.
- Marouane Fellaini is the biggest culprit, having committed the most fouls in the League with 47.
- In their last seven games, Villa have only gained two points from a possible twenty one.
- Villa have also conceded 44 goals, easily the worst defence in the League.
- The last time Everton did the double over Villa was in 1986-87.