Aston Villa vs Everton predictions: Steely Gerrard will have Villa on their mettle

Simon Barlow
Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa lost their Premier League opener at Bournemouth last week
Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa lost their Premier League opener at Bournemouth last week

Opening-weekend defeats for hosts Aston Villa and visitors Everton mean both clubs are under pressure to get a positive result from Saturday's Villa Park clash.

Villa stumbled to a 2-0 away loss at newly-promoted Bournemouth and subsequent talk around the club has centred on manager Steven Gerrard's comments about former club skipper Tyrone Mings. 

It seems unlikely that Gerrard will bring the England international back in from the cold this weekend, despite the trouble the Cherries strikers caused in Mings' absence. 

Toffees boss Frank Lampard moved swiftly to bring another top-class central defender into the club in the shape of Conor Coady after losing both Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey to injury in last Saturday's home defeat to Chelsea. 

His attacking resources were stretched thin by an injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the suspension that prevented Salomon Rondon from featuring. 

Lampard looks likely to persist with winger Anthony Gordon as a lone striker on Saturday, but knows his team must improve in the final third if they are to offer a consistent threat during Calvert-Lewin's convalescence. 

Team news

New signing Conor Coady will be handed an immediate debut in the heart of Everton's three-man defence, alongside Mason Holgate and James Tarkowski. 

Conor Coady joined Everton on loan from Wolves this week
Conor Coady joined Everton on loan from Wolves this week

Out-of-favour centre-back Michael Keane will remain on the bench while Mina and Godfrey face lengthy spells on the sidelines. 

Amadou Onana, signed from Ligue 1 outfit Lille this week, may have to be satisfied with a spot among the replacements with Alex Iwobi retaining his place in midfield alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure. 

Although Rondon is available again after suspension, all the signs point to Lampard continuing with Gordon down the middle with Demarai Gray and Dwight McNeill on the flanks of a 3-4-3. 

Gerrard is reportedly considering numerous alterations to his line-up with Ollie Watkins likely to be drafted in to play off Danny Ings in attack. 

Emiliano Buendia, who was brought on at half-time against Bournemouth may be preferred to Leon Bailey, while Phillipe Coutinho's place is also less than certain. 

Douglas Luiz is pushing for a recall in midfield and could replace Jacob Ramsey. 

The stats

Last weekend's 1-0 home reverse to Chelsea was the Toffees' first defeat in the season's opening match since 2011-12. 

And their recent record at Villa Park leaves a lot to be desired as Everton have failed to score in each of their last three away trips to B6, attempting 38 shots without success. 

With exactly one-third of their 66 goals conceded coming from dead ball situations, Lampard's men were the Premier League's leakiest defence from set pieces last season. 

They fell behind 28 times last term as only Watford trailed in more top-flight games. 

Villa will fancy their chances of catching the visitors cold given they have won four of their last five Premier League matches played in the 12.30pm slot on Saturdays, prevailing by a score of 1-0 each time. 


Gerrard will have Villa pumped up and fully prepared to overpower an Everton side that were forced to defend deep by Chelsea's dominance of possession last weekend.

Expectations at Villa Park were raised by the Liverpudlian's arrival last November and he has been backed to the hilt in the transfer market. 

However, back-to-back defeats at the start of the season would be a huge blow to all concerned at the club and could lead to even more drastic action from the ex-Rangers boss.

But his stern words in public and private should get the message across in the short term to his players and engender enough of a reaction to ensure the home side claim all three points.

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