Everton travel to Aston Villa in the Premier on Friday night as they seek to continue their unbeaten run. Villa meanwhile are looking for their first win of the season. Here are the Three Keys to this clash. Bet on the Premier League here.
Inexperience v Experience
After three seasons away from the Premier League, Aston Villa are finally back in the top flight. Their first two matches didn’t go as planned as they lost away to Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth, although they produced a better performance in both matches. Villa spent over £100m and most their squad members have never played in the Premier League. With games coming thick and fast, Dean Smith will have to get his side acclimatised to the league or risk falling into an early-season crisis. The Villa team is less experienced than Everton but if their performances in the first two games are anything to go by, it’s only a matter of time before they click. Villa have also lost five matches in their last six against the Toffees.
Everton invested heavily this summer and are still working to integrate the new squad members slowly into the team. However, most of the Toffees’ starters have been around the Premier League for a while and have the experience of playing at this level. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Theo Walcott and Seamus Coleman are part of the Premier League furniture and add a bit of toughness and leadership to the team which can be crucial in many league games. Comparing the Everton’s starting team with Villa, it’s obvious the visitors have more experience at this level.
Defensive errors v Tight defence
Although Villa have performed well in their two league games, the five goals they have conceded have been self-inflicted. Jack Grealish lost possession in a dangerous area against Spurs which led to a goal, while they also conceded a penalty early in the game against Bournemouth. On Friday night, they’ll have to be much tighter and organised in order to avoid giving up goals early in the game.
Everton are the only team in the Premier League yet to concede a goal this season. A goalless draw against Crystal Palace and a 1-0 win over Watford has seen Everton play some good defence, led by centre-back pairing Michael Keane and Yerry Mina who’ve been solid. In their last eight league matches last season, they kept six clean sheets some against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal which makes their back four one of the best in the division. Villa will have to be clinical to break them down.
Jack Grealish v Gylfi Sigurdsson
Grealish was instrumental in Villa’s promotion last season but he is yet to make his mark in the league this season. Against Spurs he was unfortunately dispossessed for the hosts' second goal, whilst against the Cherries, he was decent again, but couldn’t impact the game. He has also lost 19 straight matches in the league, which is the most in the competition’s history. The Englishman will have to raise his game on Friday night against the Toffees.
Sigurdsson has been Everton’s creative force in the last few seasons. He scored 13 goals and provided six assists last season. There’s no denying Sigurdsson’s quality but he’ll have to bring it on Friday and hit the ground running in what is a huge season for the Toffees. The Iceland international also has two goals and an assist against Villa.