Everton vs Aston Villa – Pre-game Assessment

Our Villans and Everton’s Toffees have often found themselves compared.  Whether it be for their longevity, their consistency in staying close to the top of the Premier League or its predecessor, or their habit of coming close to grabbing the brass ring only to see it slip from their grasp at the last second.

When Carlo Ancelotti was persuaded to bring his impressive credentials to Merseyside in 2019, there was the anticipation that the team would turn their talented squad into a top-6 contender.  With Brazilian international, Richarlison, Colombian star, James Rodriguez, Gylfi Sigurdsson[PH1] , Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and England goalie Jordan Pickford they started off with a bang. 

However, a combination of key player injuries and the allure of an invitation to return to Real Madrid where Ancelotti (one of only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League three times) would inherit an already excellent team left the Toffees in the lurch. 

In his defense, Ancelotti would not have considered his position to have been very secure as hands-on owner Farhad Moshiri has gone through 8 managers in the last eight years.

Another interesting twist is that Rafael Benitez was the latest Everton boss to get the chop after only being able to win one game in the last fourteen.  A loss to cellar dweller, Norwich, was the last straw.  His last managerial action was to sell Lucas Digne to our Villans, losing one of the few healthy stars the team had left.

Back when Dean Smith was sent packing, we could have been looking at an Everton-like situation.  Instead, we have headed in the opposite direction.  Our management team already had a plan, and with new manager Steven Gerrard it is being executed.  Not that I enjoy someone else’s misfortune, but it looks like our Villa are heading in the opposite direction to Liverpool’s other team.

It would not be a surprise to see Digne pour salt in the wounds by contributing to a Villa victory.  With Coutinho likely to start (replacing Ings) and Buendia getting better each outing, I anticipate a comfortable win at Goodison Park.  My prediction: Everton 0, Aston Villa 2.

UTV.

Likely Starting xi:

Everton (4, 4, 2): Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Mykolenko, Gordon, Gomez, Grey, Doucoure, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Aston Villa (4,3,3): Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Luiz, Ramsey, McGinn, Coutinho, Watkins, Buendía


 [PH1]

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