Aston Villa are expected to finally get their first Premier League point of the season from a tough match-up against Everton on Friday night.
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Aston Villa v Everton
Friday 2000 BST - Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Everton have the incentive of being able to go top of the Premier League when they visit Villa Park on Friday night with the newly-promoted hosts desperate to get their first points on the board.
Dean Smith’s Villains have played well in spells of both their games so far, and actually won the first half at Tottenham and the second 45 minutes against Bournemouth, but it’s time now for them to put a full 90 minutes together.
That won’t be easy against Marco Silva’s side, who can now officially be known as ‘stingy’ after opening up with back-to-back clean sheets to continue the defensive solidity from last season. It’s now 10 clean sheets in their last 13 outings.
The hosts, of course, have the weight of that 15-game winless run in the Premier League on their shoulders, and that in part leads to the perhaps harsh reality that Smith and his side already find themselves under pressure after just two games.
Performances have been decent for a newly-promoted side, but having spent £100m the thoughts of ‘doing a Fulham’ are growing with every defeat – and they need a win, fast, to settle everything down.
Villa have come into the Premier League with the same attacking intent they had in the Championship – where they failed to score at home just once under Smith. This, though, is a canny Everton side that knows how to defend and win ugly if needs be.
The first goal is a crucial element, with the Toffees winning the game nine out of the last ten times they’ve taken the lead – notably all of those wins coming without conceding – and with Villa looking wide-open at the back they really cannot afford to concede first on Friday.
Aston Villa v Everton betting
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Everton (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
For all of Everton's defensive expertise, their away record isn't great with just three wins from 10 on the road this year, and after two defeats Dean Smith will surely have his side set up a bit more solid as they need to stop leaking goals and start picking up points.
Everton will also look to keep it tight, as is their new mantra, so this could end up in a bit of a stand-off, but there's enough passion and pace about Villa to see them get a goal - I just don't see them being able to keep the visitors at bay.
John McGinn's been excellent so far for Villa and has scored once while firing in eight shots in two games. Against a packed and tight defence, pot shots become more prevalent and there's nobody finer in this team than the Scotsman for taking aim from range.
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Aston Villa v Everton Opta stats
- Aston Villa have won just two of their last 15 Premier League matches against Everton (W2 D7 L6), with both victories coming at Villa Park (1-0 in August 2010 and 3-2 in May 2015).
- Everton have scored two or more goals in each of their last eight Premier League encounters with Aston Villa (22 goals); their longest such scoring streak against a single team in the competition.
- Aston Villa vs Everton is the most played fixture in English football league history. This will be the 203rd league meeting between the sides, all of them in the top-flight (73 wins for Aston Villa, 76 for Everton).
- Aston Villa have won more Premier League games (18) and scored more Premier League goals (68) versus Everton than they have against any other side in the competition.
- Aston Villa won their first ever Premier League match played on Friday back in December 1997, beating Spurs 4-1 at Villa Park; since then they’ve drawn three and lost twice on Friday in the division.
- Everton have won five and lost just one of their last eight Premier League matches held on Friday (W5 D2 L1), losing only to Stoke City in this run (December 2014).
- Everton have lost two of their last three Premier League games versus newly promoted opposition (W1), as many as they’d lost in their previous 37 combined (W22 D13 L2).
- Aston Villa have earned just one point from their last 45 available in the Premier League (W0 D1 L14). Their winless run of 15 games is their second longest in top-flight history (19 between August 2015-January 2016).
- Everton have kept two consecutive clean sheets from the start of a top-flight season for the first time since 1993-94. They last kept a clean sheet in their first three such games back in 1912-13.
- Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has lost his first two Premier League games. If he loses this match, 2019 would be the first calendar year to see as many as three different managers lose their first three games in the competition, after Scott Parker and Jan Siewert.
Odds correct as of 1700 BST on 22/08/19
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