Aston Villa welcome Everton to Villa Park as both teams continue their push to challenge for European placings.
Victory could put Villa up to ninth until Sunday (19 September) afternoon if Brentford and Crystal Palace lose elsewhere, whilst Everton could temporarily go top with a win if Liverpool fail to beat Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
Carney Chukwuemeka is ruled out for Villa with a groin injury picked up on international youth duty for England, which saw him sit out last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez (both fitness) are doubts but Jaden Bidace (knock) joins Trezeguet and Keinan Davis (both knee) on the sidelines.
Everton could be without James Rodriguez as the Colombia midfielder continues to build up match fitness.
Fabian Delph (shoulder) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (muscle) are definitely ruled out.
- Aston Villa have lost just one of their last five meetings against Everton (W2, D2, L1).
- Everton are unbeaten in three of their last five visits to Villa Park (W2, D1, L2).
- No Villa player has produced more crosses in their four opening league matches than John McGinn, who has produced 18 crosses in three appearances.
- Rafa Benitez’s Toffees have kept just one clean sheet in their four opening league matches this season (W3, D1).
- Everton’s Demarai Gray has converted all three shots on target into goals in four league appearances.
Although Dean Smith’s Villains found themselves on the harsh end of a mauling at Chelsea last weekend, they were excellent for much of the match but defensive blunders and poor finishing were their downfall so expect improvement here.
Everton meanwhile have adapted quickly under Benitez which was evident in their excellent fightback to defeat Burnley on Monday evening, so I do expect them to cause trouble if they can get on the front foot with aggressive pace and take their chances well.
I however am expecting a difficult contest here because Villa won’t be easy pushovers but if Everton play like they did in the last 30 minutes against Burnley, I fancy them to edge this match.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Everton
Result: Aston Villa 3-0 Everton