What is there to say about Aston Villa at the moment that hasn’t already been said? How about “They’re very good”? That hasn’t been said in a while.
It’s easy to feel sorry for the Midlands club, who have not won in seven Premier League games and have fallen out of both domestic cup competitions to lower-league opponents in Millwall and Bradford City in the last two weeks.
Villa were finally sucked into the relegation zone after Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle – a result we correctly predicted, it should be said – and with the amount of youngsters in their squad, it is tough to see how they are going to be able to turn things around.
However, boss Paul Lambert will take some heart from the second-half performance at Villa Park against the Magpies and they can consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with at least a point after dominating for large periods.
Also, it must be remembered that the last time the Villans won a league game, they beat Liverpool at Anfield. Could there be something in the air on Merseyside?
Despite their inexperience, Lambert has some quality players in Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor to call upon and will need them to step up if Villa are to get out of the mire.
If you’re feeling brave, or just fancy an outside punt for the sake of it, then you can find Villa at the massive price of 33/4 to triumph.
While an away win may be a long shot, a draw is certainly not out of the question as the away side have picked up stalemates at Swansea and West Brom in their last two away trips.
Everton have nearly drawn as many as they have won at Goodison this season, with five of their 12 home games ending all square.
Overall though, David Moyes’ men have drawn more than they have won, with 11 of their 24 Premier League clashes bringing them a solitary point.
On three of the last four occasions Everton and Villa have locked horns there has been nothing to separate them and you can get 7/2 on another draw between the two on Saturday.
However, I just can’t get that voice out of my head that screams “Everton are going to win”. I think it’s called ‘common sense’ (sorry Villa fans).
Moyes has got his side playing well earlier than usual this season and there is the scent of Champions League football in their nostrils.
Everton have lost just three times this campaign – and only once at home – and brought themselves to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham with a 2-1 midweek win over West Brom.
Of their 39 Premier League meetings, Villa have won 16, there have been 16 draws and Everton have triumphed just seven times, but history won’t have much, if any, bearing on the outcome of this one.
The Toffees comfortably won the reverse fixture at Villa Park in August as goals from Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini saw them run out 3-1 winners and you can back them at 7/20 to complete the double over a very troubled Villa.
But with that price a touch on the short side, the key is to find some value on an Everton triumph and in that regard, a 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 home win looks the way to go at 3/1.
Punters registering with bwin can claim a free £20 bet and placing it on the Toffees to prevail by one of these three scorelines would return a cool £80 if successful.
The rationale behind this punt is pretty straightforward and is mainly linked to Everton’s inability to keep clean sheets at Goodison Park – they have managed just two all season in the league.
And with Villa notching seven goals in their past four Premier League away games, Lambert’s men are certainly good enough to grab a consolation, even if the hosts’ superior quality proves decisive in the end.