Date:Friday August 24 2012
Saturday, August 25
A confident Everton outfit will travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on Saturday. Everton are riding a wave of confidence following a very impressive 1-0 victory over Manchester United to kick their season off in style. The hosts, under the new management style of Paul Lambert suffered a minor setback on opening day going down at the hands of newly promoted West Ham 1-0, in a game which they largely dominated. Everton will be looking to build on the performance of Monday night and continue their impressive start to the season and will be looking to make it 2 from 2, something which has been rare for Everton. Everton fans will also have one eye on new signing Kevin Mirallas and will hope to see him make his debut against Villa. Meanwhile for Villa, the revolution will continue despite the setback, and with a raucous Villa faithful behind them, Lambert will be expecting that his players put in a decent shift and play some decent football, something that was sorely missing from Villa Park last season.
Everton shot stopper Tim Howard has assured fans that they will not get ahead of themselves, insuring fans that they are solely focussed on Villa saying
'A lot is always made of starts. As players, we don`t look at us making a start in the first 10 games, you can only judge after. We just take it a game at a time, and we`ll be focusing on Villa now. We have always played from a good foundation. We have tried to get rhythm early on in the season, that`s how the top teams stay on top, they have good passing and rhythm and that never goes away from them. That part of the game isn`t something we have always had in abundance. We`ve always been able to play on the knock and get up on to teams, but our passing against United was really, really good. Against United that`s the best we have looked from a football standpoint, particularly on our left-hand side. I thought we were immense.'
Aston Villa frontman Darren Bent expects to see goals from the Aston Villa side saying
"We know we`re more than capable of scoring goals, turning results around and getting wins, We played well and scored goals in pre-season, even against a top German side in Werder Bremen, so there are definitely goals in the team. I love Villa Park and I`m looking forward to doing well for the club, I`m hungry to score goals and I want to be here for a long, long time.``
The hosts, despite it only being the 2nd game of the season have some injury concerns. Youngsters Carruthers (Ankle/Foot) and Albrighton (Foot) will be missing for a few weeks. Richard Dunne will also be missing with a groin injury and Villa speedster Agbonlahor will also miss a few weeks with a knee injury. However, it should be mainly the same side that faced West Ham on opening day
Possible Starting XI: Given, Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Clark, Delph, El Ahmadi, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Weimann, Bent
Having watched the Villa V West Ham game last weekend, this lad was the standout for me, which was impressive considering it was his first game in the Premier League. Bought for a mere 2mil in the summer from Feyenoord, he definitely has the potential to be one of the buys of the season. Although, he will have a big task ahead of him when he takes on the likes of Fellaini, Pienaar and Osman. It will be a crucial battle in the middle of the park and if he can quell the effect of the before mentioned trio, then Aston Villa will have a good chance of taking the 3pts
After the Manchester United match on Monday there were a couple players left feeling a bit worse for wear. Everton centre back Sylvain Distin had to be practically carried off after the final whistle with a back complaint, however he has assured fans on twitter that he should be fine. Everton frontman Nikica Jelavic was subbed off with cramps, but is expected to take his place in the starting line up. However, other than that, the squad is in tip top shape. In positive news for the club, Kevin Mirallas is eligible to play after signing from Greek side Olympiakos for 5.3mil, however, after the team's performance on Monday may have to bide his time on the bench.
Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Hibbert, Neville, Gibson, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Jelavic
The big Belgian won many plaudits on Monday following his dominant performance against Manchester United on Monday night. Fellaini was essentially unplayable against United and topped off his performance scoring the winner. Deployed in behind the striker, one which was opened following the departure of stalwart Tim Cahill, Fellaini gave the United defenders a world of trouble as they failed to cope with his physical stature and his ability to control the ball and lay fi off to the likes of Pienaar and Osman. If he has the same control on the game as he did on Monday, then Everton will be walking away from Villa Park with the 3pts in the bag.
1. This will be the 195th league fixture between the two historic clubs. It is the most played fixture in English history.
2. Everton and Aston Villa are the only clubs to have been in more than 100 top flight seasons, with this season being Everton's 110th season and it is Villa's 102nd season in the top flight
3. A win will break several milestones for Everton. If Everton win, it will be their 100th away win since the formation of the Premier League, it will also mean that we have surpassed the 300 goal mark against Villa in the league and will be Moyes' 200th Everton win in all competitions.
4. Everton will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 dating back to last season, this will equal a club record in the Premier League having achieved the feat at the back end of the 2009/10 season
5. Aston Villa have been some sort of a bogey side for Everton. Everton are currently winless in the past 12 league games against Villa, having last won in 2006. Everton's record at Villa Park is not much better having not won in the past 8 seasons. However, this fixture has seen its' fair share of draws, with 6 of the past 7 matches between the clubs ending in draws, and bizarrely Everton had taken the lead in 5 of those 6 draws.
Many Everton fans seem confident of a win against Villa, and I think they are justified considering the performance on Monday night and the addition of new boy Kevin Mirallas will give the club an extra boost, however, as mentioned before, Villa are our bogey side. On paper, if I am brutally honest, the quality gap between the two sides is rather large, however this will be Villa's first home game of the season and following the dismissal of Alex McLeish, a move that put a smile on every Villa face and the appointment of the highly rated Lambert I would expect Villa Park to be rocking. I am cautious, no matter what Everton seem to do, no matter how well we play, we just can't beat Villa. However, this is probably been our best chance in years, but I just can't be confident against Villa and because of this I am sitting on the fence with a 1-1 draw with Jelavic and Bent on the scoresheet. COME ON LADS, BULD FROM MONDAY AND CONTINUE THE FINE START AND SMACK THE VILLIANS COYB!!!!!!!!
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Date:Friday August 24 2012
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