Aston Villa vs Everton match preview: Stats, team news and key battles

Aston Villa host Everton in the Premier League evening kick-off on Saturday, with Dean Smith hoping to see his side get back to winning ways.

Villa have picked up just four points from our opening four league games, with our last outing ending in a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea despite it being one of, if not the best, performance of the campaign thus far.

READ MORE: Why Dean Smith should stick with 4-3-3 system for Villa

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Nevertheless, that’s now in the past and the focus switches to Everton in front of another expected sold-out Villa Park, and it’s hoped that we put three important points on the board to get us back on track.

Villa vs Everton statistics

  • Aston Villa are unbeaten in four league games against Everton, winning two and drawing two. They’d only won two of their previous 15 Premier League meetings with the Toffees (D7 L6).
  • Everton have won three of their last six away league games against Aston Villa (D1 L2), as many as they had in their previous 29 visits to Villa Park (W3 D12 L14).
  • Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last four Premier League home games (W2 D2), last going longer without defeat at Villa Park in the competition in January 2015 under Paul Lambert (5 games).
  • Everton have lost just two of their last 17 Premier League away games (W10 D5), with those defeats coming at Chelsea and Manchester City last season. The Toffees have recorded seven clean sheets in their last 10 away league games, as many as in their previous 33 on the road.
  • Everton are unbeaten so far this season, winning three and drawing one of their four games. The Toffees were unbeaten in their first five league games last term, but have never done so in consecutive campaigns in their league history.
  • Aston Villa striker Danny Ings has scored five Premier League goals against Everton – against no side has he scored more in the competition. The Toffees are the only club against which Ings has scored for all three of his previous top-flight clubs (Burnley, Liverpool and Southampton).
  • Everton manager Rafael Benítez has lost just one of his 17 games against Aston Villa in all competitions (W10 D6), while the Spaniard has never lost at Villa Park (W4 D5).
  • Andros Townsend has been involved in three goals in his four Premier League games for Everton this season (1 goal, 2 assists), as many as he had in his previous 31 for Crystal Palace in the competition (3 assists).

Team news

Smith confirmed in his press conference on Friday that Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez are due back in England on Saturday after observing Covid isolation guidelines, and so he’ll make a late call on their availability.

The Villa boss added that Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace are the only two injury absentees.

As for Everton, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out with a toe injury, while Fabian Delph is also expected to miss out against his former club. James Rodriguez could be in contention to return.

Key Battles

Gray vs Cash, Townsend vs Targett

Demarai Gray has three goals in four Premier League games so far this season, while Andros Townsend has two goals and two assists in five outings across all competitions.

Everton might be without Calvert-Lewin, but Richarlison will likely lead the line in his absence and the Brazilian forward can certainly make the difference with his quality.

In turn, Matty Cash and Matt Targett, assuming both start, will have to be switched on and at their best defensively this weekend to cut off the supply into Richarlison, but also to win their individual battles against Gray and Townsend respectively in order to nullify their threat and keep Everton contained.

Midfield trios

The expectation is that Smith will go with a three-man Villa midfield of Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey.

Rafa Benitez is also likely to go with a trio of Gomes, Allan and Doucoure in a 4-3-2-1 system, and so whoever is able to impose themselves in midfield and control the tempo and possession will go a long way towards to winning the game.

It’s imperative that Villa get a foothold and pen Everton back to get the crowd behind them and to be on the front foot to allow our attacking quality to make the difference. Luiz, McGinn and Ramsey are all capable of applying a high press, and have quality in the final third to be a direct threat too.

Bailey vs Coleman

Villa may well hand Leon Bailey his full debut this weekend as the Jamaican winger has been edging closer towards full fitness after suffering an injury earlier in the month.

After his dazzling cameo appearance against Chelsea, it’s hoped that he gets the nod to start tomorrow, and if he does, his duel with Coleman could be critical.

If Bailey has a good game, sparks the Villa faithful into life and causes Everton all sorts of problems, we’ll know we’re very much in the encounter. His creativity and direct goal threat could be decisive as he looks to impress in front of the Villa fans.