Aston Villa head to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday afternoon at 3pm with both sides targeting three points as a necessity following recent poor form. Gavin Bergin discusses.
A match between two teams struggling for form. Everton haven’t won in any of their last five games in all competitions, their last win coming in the Europa League against Wolfsburg almost a month ago to the day. Roberto Martinez has earned himself enough goodwill amongst the Everton faithful to see him through what he’ll hope is merely a dip in form.
However, a defeat in this game could see the locals starting to become restless. The Toffees are boosted by the return of James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman, but may again be without Ross Barkley as he continues his way back to full fitness.
Martinez has often been praised for the expressive type of football he encourages his team to play, but a more pragmatic approach may be needed to stop the defensive leaks that have hampered their season so far.
On a run of three consecutive defeats, the early season promise that Villa showed seems a distant memory at this stage. No goals scored in either of those three defeats is a big concern for Paul Lambert. The return of Christian Benteke is a welcome boost and may give them the spark up front that they have been lacking.
He managed a half hour against Man City, so he’ll be in contention to make a start here. Similar to their hosts, Villa need to shore up at the back and look to make themselves difficult to beat again. They will however, be without their star man in midfield, Fabian Delph who is out with a shoulder injury.
Lambert’s men do have a decent record at Goodison over recent seasons, despite losing there last season, so they’ll be confident they can push Everton all the way in this one.
Everton 2-1 Villa
Everton to get back to winning ways in a tightly contested game.
Gavin Bergin, Pundit Arena.