The Toffees’ hope for continental competition is still alive although the race is getting tighter to the end. They are sitting on the eighth and still have one game in hand compared to their contenders. This midweek, Richarlison and Co are facing off Aston Villa, the dark horse whose form has been degrading since their skipper, Jack Grealish was ruled out. A victory could lift them off to the sixth and have the same points as West Ham on the fifth.
The teams’ previous games
Everton managed to secure a narrow win while travelling to Emirates Stadium, London. Their only goal was scored by Arsenal’s Bernd Leno’s blunder when he was supposed to catch the passing ball from Richarlison. It was their fifteenth wins of the season.
Their counterpart, Aston Villa, is still struggling again to pick up one point while hosting West Brom last weekend. They could only muster a 2-2 draw. Anwar El Ghazi’s penalty gave them the lead but the Baggies responded by Matheus Perreira’s penalty and Tyrone Mings’ own goal. Dean Smith’s men had to wait till a few minutes before the final whistle when Keenan Davis bagged a dramatic equaliser.
Carlo Ancelotti’s mission to raise Everton’s level in the Premier League does not seem to be easy. The Italian boss shall consider deploying 4-3-3 formation with the transition to 4-2-3-1. The trident, Richarlison-James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin can be optimised on their attack supported by Allan, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Tom Davies to cover Abdoulaye Drocoure who is injured from the second line. Some other names on the sideline are Jean Gbamin and Michael Keane.
Dean Smith apparently also deals with the same issue, the absence of star players. Jack Grealish, Matty Cash, Mahmoud, Morgan Sanson are all unavailable for this fixture. Thus, the 4-2-3-1 seems to be the most possible formation Smith can opt for. Ollie Watkins shall feature as the lone striker supported by Ross Barkley plus Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi on both flanks. In the midfield, John McGinn and Douglas Luiz will be occupying the area.
Players to watch
The Colombian James Rodriguez and Yerry Mina remain Everton’s key men this season. The former has netted six times and provided four goals while the latter has scored two goals. Another notable name to watch is the former Barcelona wing back, Lucas Digne.
Ollie Watkins will be one of the few notable names left to rely on upfront. The former Brentford man has bagged twelve goals and provided four assists. Another important figure to watch is the Scottish international John McGinn with two goals and five assists.
Everton vs Aston Villa Prediction
In this tight affair, The Toffees are still expected to win, although they were simply quite lucky to win in their last outing. Ancelotti needs to prove that they can do more than just winning by fortune here, especially with the Villans’ circumstance now without any particular objectives as they are already safe from the relegation threat. A narrow win for the home side should be doable.