Everton’s latest early-season charge up the table gets a Villa Park test from an Aston Villa side whose only win this season came against wobbly Newcastle United (start time 12:30pm ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
The Toffees will hope to finish the day at 4W-1D-0L, the same record it boasted to start 2020-21 under Carlo Ancelotti.
This is Rafa Benitez’s Everton, though, less about ego massaging and more about demands, and while the Toffees have looked less flashy at times, the steadiness is encouraging the Goodison Park faithful (even if their manager’s status as a Liverpool hero still hasn’t won everyone over).
Meanwhile, Dean Smith’s Villa is still learning how to attack without Jack Grealish, though there were encouraging signs before a 3-0 loss to Chelsea which also showed the need for education at the back.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Aston Villa vs Everton.
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Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup
Villa has Emi Buendia and Emiliano Martinez back after their COVID-19 quarantine following the international break, though Buendia is on the bench. Trezeguet, Keinan Davis, and Carney Chukwuemeka remain out.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 18, 2021
Everton team news, injuries, lineup
Fabian Delph and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are out, while the Toffees are still awaiting “fitness” for James Rodriguez and he’s also not in the 18.
— Everton (@Everton) September 18, 2021
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
A Villa win would pay +140 while Everton taking three points at Villa Park deals out +195, while a draw delivers +225.
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Villa Park will be buzzing for Its latest home game, and we believe the return of Emiliano Martinez can be a huge boost, especially with Dominic Calvert-Lewin at less than 100 percent (at best). Aston Villa 1-1 Everton.