Premier League Preview: Everton - Aston Villa
Roberto Martinez's men saw their four-match unbeaten run in the Premier League ended comprehensively by Liverpool on Tuesday, while their visitors are resurgent.
By Matthew Rogerson
This weekend's hosts saw a four-game unbeaten run in the Premier League ended comprehensively on Tuesday by Merseyside neighbours Liverpool, which ran out a 4-0 winner at Anfield.
A day later, Villa came out on top against West Brom in an entertaining encounter at Villa Park, triumphing 4-3 to record its first home victory in the league since November.Prior to the turn of the year, Villa had won only twice in 13 Premier League fixtures but it has shown signs of improvement in 2014 - beating Sunderland, picking up a point against Liverpool and edging past West Brom.
Christian Benteke's return to form has provided a particular boost for Paul Lambert's side, with the Belgium international scoring in each of his last three games.
Everton will be wary of conceding further goals this week, having been put to the sword by the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez on Tuesday.
The defeat to Liverpool was only Everton's third in the league this season, with Roberto Martinez's side having based much of its success on home comforts.
Martinez has only tasted one top-flight defeat at Goodison Park in the league since succeeding David Moyes as manager in the close season, and Everton sits sixth in the table, one point adrift of Tottenham.
The Spaniard is eager for his charges to use the loss against Liverpool as motivation on Saturday as the Blues aim to maintain a challenge for European qualification.
"We don't hide the fact we had a real disappointment because we know how important the derby is," he said. "We're still in that privileged group with only three defeats in the league; we want to get together as a football club.
"It's something we need to take in as our advantage."
Everton will be without leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku, who suffered an ankle injury against Liverpool, while Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman (both hamstring) will miss out as well.
Gerard Deulofeu (hamstring) is also an absentee for Everton while Villa have fitness doubts over Gabby Agbonlahor (foot), Chris Herd (hamstring) and Joe Bennett (back).
Everton won the reverse fixture 2-0 in October, thanks to goals from Lukaku and Leon Osman, although the last four meetings between the two at Goodison Park have ended in draws.
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Top 3 Predictions
Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
- 16.86 %
Everton 2-0 Aston Villa
- 14.54 %
Everton 2-2 Aston Villa
- 13.37 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||2014-02-01||Everton 2 - Aston Villa 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||2013-10-26||Aston Villa 0 - Everton 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||2013-02-02||Everton 3 - Aston Villa 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||2012-08-25||Aston Villa 1 - Everton 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||2012-01-14||Aston Villa 1 - Everton 1|
|2014-03-08||Arsenal FC 4 - Everton 1||FA|
|2014-03-01||Everton 1 - West Ham United 0||EPL|
|2014-02-22||Chelsea FC 1 - Everton 0||EPL|
|2014-02-16||Everton 3 - Swansea City 1||FA|
|2014-02-09||Tottenham 1 - Everton 0||EPL|
|Returns:||Everton $14.40||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to $100 CAD|
|Returns:||Draw $43.30||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to $100 CAD|
|Returns:||Aston Villa $70.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to $100 CAD|
|8||Karim El Ahmadi||Midfielder|