Everton v Aston Villa preview

David Moyes’ men have stammered to a poor opening to the season, garnering a particularly fortunate victory at Ewood Park last time out with a last gasp penalty.

Their concession of two unconverted penalties suggests defensive frailties and it will be interesting to see how the Toffees cope with the loss of their talismanic Spaniard Mikel Arteta.

Everton almost have a full squad of players to choose from for this one with the influential Leighton Baines a slight doubt with a hamstring injury.

Victor Anichebe is definitely out with a groin problem, however, there is a beacon of hope for the Goodison faithful in both new signings Denis Stracqualursi and Royston Drenthe.

As top scorer in the Argentine Primera Division last season Stracqualursi is not just a commentator’s nightmare and could prove an astute and valuable signing.

Drenthe has been taken from Real Madrid and whilst he won’t replace Arteta, he will add a certain energy and indeed competition for places in the Everton midfield.

McLeish’s Villa have had a solid if not exhilarating start to the season.

Their American owner Randy Lerner has clearly appointed the Scot to resurrect what was a sinking ship under Houllier, results are his priority, not attractive football.

The Villans have some major injury worries for this one with Shay Given (Back), Alan Hutton (Groin) and their top marksman Darren Bent (Groin) all doubtful.

Carlos Cuellar is a long term absentee with a persistent knee injury.

This promises to be a hard fought encounter but not the most exciting of clashes.

If McLeish’s doubtful trio of Given, Hutton and Bent are passed fit Villa could snatch victory here.

The most likely scenario however is a low score draw with Scottish nous the winner and both managers cancelling each other out.

Match Prediction: Everton 1-1 Aston Villa

Betting Odds: Everton 2.10 (VC) Draw 3.30 (BS) Aston Villa 4.00 (VC)


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