Sunday 29th August 2010
Venue: Villa Park
Kick Off: 16:00
At the end of a very bad week for Aston Villa a match up against Everton may not be ideal to remedy the pain caused by Newcastle and Vienna. The home sides record against the Toffee’s makes for interesting reading having not lost in their last 8 encounters of the most played fixture in English football.
Boosts for the Villain’s include the likely return of Stewart Downing, Stephen Warnock and Richard Dunne after they were rested in midweek. John Carew is looking to return from a knee injury with fellow strike partner Gabby Agbonlahor also hoping to be fit after coming off against Vienna with a calf problem. It is likely that the unimpressive Curtis Davies and Habib Beye will make way but Heskey should keep his place after a decent performance in Europe.
Everton have no real injury worries with captain Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo the only real doubts for the game. The visitors will no doubt be looking to profit from a disastrous Villa spell and are hoping for the first win of the campaign. Failure to do so would result in the worst league start for 10 years though Moyes’ side have lost just once in their last 13 games.
Villa new boy Stephen Ireland will be looking to build on a decent performance on Thursday in his home league debut and should cause Everton problems. An undoubtedly strong midfield for the opponent’s will look to exploit a shaky Villa defence with advanced playmakers such as Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar. The main threat for Villa may be an aerial one as they have struggled with crosses recently and the imposing danger of Tim Cahill who has 4 in his last 4 against the Villa will need to be dealt with.
Overall a defensive master class is needed and a clean sheet would be a godsend for Kevin MacDonald. This, backed up by a goalscoring start to the league campaign for Gabby Agbonlahor would certainly turn Villa frowns upside down with the possibility of moving into the top 6 with a win. 3 points would definitely quash any thoughts of a crisis at the club though a draw may not be a terrible outcome.
Possible Starting XI: Brad Friedel; Luke Young, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Stephen Warnock; Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov, Stephen Ireland, Stewart Downing; Emile Heskey, Gabby Agbonlhaor
Martin’s predicted scoreline: 2-2
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