Everton will be aiming for back-to-back Premier League wins when they entertain Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Merseyside outfit have transformed their fortunes since the appointment of manager Sean Dyche and they are currently one point ahead of the drop zone.
The Toffees will be hoping to extend the gap to the bottom three this weekend but face a tricky challenge against Villa, who have been a bogey club for them.
Everton made the perfect start under Dyche with a stunning 1-0 home win over Arsenal. Last weekend, they beat Leeds United at Goodison by the same scoreline. The Toffees have now picked up six points from the last three outings and should be fancied to beat the Villans with home advantage.
On the contrary, Villa are going through a lean patch. They made an impressive start under manager Unai Emery but have lost their way in the last three games with no points on the board. They have scored five times during this period but have been defensively poor with 11 goals conceded.
Everton have struggled against Villa since the latter’s promotion back to the top-flight four years ago. In the last seven meetings between the clubs, Villa have won on five occasions with two draws. Despite the poor head-to-head record, the Toffees should fancy their prospects of beating the Midlands outfit with their improved defensive resolve under Dyche.
Everton have plenty of long-term absentees. Andros Townsend, Nathan Patterson and James Garner are sidelined with serious injuries while Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out indefinitely after a fresh hamstring concern. Amadou Onana, however, could be deemed fit following a minor knee issue.
For Villa, Diego Carlos is the only major absentee after his long-term Achilles injury. The former Sevilla man recently featured for the Under 21s and he is touted to make his first team return next month. Goalkeeper Robin Olsen should make the bench after a minor niggle kept him out last weekend.
Everton (4-5-1): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Conor Coady, James Tarkowski, Vitaliy Mykolenko; Alex Iwobi, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye, Andre Onana, Dwight McNeil; Neal Maupay.
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Emiliano Martinez; Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Alex Moreno; James McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Boubacar Kamara, Philippe Coutinho; Emiliano Buendia, Ollie Watkins.
Everton are winless in the last seven league meetings against Villa with just two points gained. However, they have an excellent opportunity to end the dreadful streak this weekend. Villa are there for the taking with their vulnerability in defence. The Toffees have been brilliant in the last two home victories over Arsenal and Leeds. If the club can produce the same level of performance, they should come on top with a third-straight home win.
Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
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