Everton - Aston Villa Preview: Villans still in search of first win since opening day
Will Lukaku score against Guzan? (photo: VAVEL)

Aston Villa go into the game as underdogs, but will hope to pick up their first win under Remi Garde's management as they visit Merseyside to face Everton on Saturday.

With Garde having taken over from the sacked Tim Sherwood just before the international break, he's held court for one game so far, a 0-0 draw at Villa Park against Manchester City.

Whilst that stopped the rot that had previously set in, with Villa having lost seven consecutive league games, they were lucky to avoid defeat against the Citizens. In addition, the resilient defensive performance may have only come due to the spark a new manager can provide, which could have faded away over the two week international break.

The international break hasn't gone too well for Villa, as they lost one of their best players so far this season to injury. Jordan Amavi ruptured his knee ligaments when in action for France Under-21, and has since been ruled out for the season.

This is likely to see Kieran Richardson step in at left-back, and line up against an in-form Gerard Deulofeu. The Spaniard has been enjoying an impressive season, and will be out to help 9th place Everton to a win.

Despite facing a difficult early run of fixtures, the Toffees have shown plenty of promise, and highlights of their season include victories over Chelsea and Southampton, aswell as the 6-2 home thumping against Sunderland.

Deulofeu celebrates a goal in the win over Sunderland (photo: Ian Hodgson)
Deulofeu celebrates a goal in the win over Sunderland (photo: Ian Hodgson)

Team news

It wasn't only the aforementioned Amavi who was injured on international duty, with target man Rudy Gestede also picking up a knock, on duty with Benin. He faces a late fitness test to be available for the game.

Gabriel Agbonlahor has been struggling with a calf problem recently, and remains doubtful for this affair, with Jordan Ayew likely to claim a place up front, having scored for Ghana last week.

It will come too soon for Jores Okore in terms of his recovery, whilst Brad Guzan and Carlos Sanchez may be rested having returned from the Americas late.

Everton are awaiting news on the fitness of young defenders Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway, whilst Leighton Baines is nearing a comeback. Phil Jagielka, Tony Hibbert and Bryan Oviedo are all sidelined.

Last meeting

The two teams met at Villa Park back in April, with two goals from Christian Benteke helping Villa to a tight 3-2 victory. He grabbed a brace before half-time, only for Romelu Lukaku to pull one back from the penalty spot.

Tom Cleverley, now an Everton player, got Villa's third just past the hour mark, whilst Jagielka pulled the lead back to one in the last minute.

Victory moved Villa up to 14th in the league on 35 points from as many games, two points clear of the relegation zone.