Everton - Aston Villa: Five things to look out for
Romelu Lukaku strikes for goal against Villa last season (Image via The Guardian)

As Everton prepare to face Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday, here are five things to look out for ahead of the game. 

Left back problems for Everton?

There’s a potential problem at left back for the Toffees. Leighton Baines has been out since before the season started and he may return, but the only football he’s played was against Preston North End in a behind closed doors friendly last week. 

There’s no telling if Baines is back at the speed required to start in the Premier League after being out for nearly 10 months. 

Brendan Galloway is carrying a knock which required him to miss out on England U21 duty and is touch and go for the fixture against the Villains. Bryan Oviedo is still out injured with a hamstring problem. 

With the uncertainty around the left back positon, Everton boss Roberto Martinez’s hand may be forced into starting Baines.

Ramiro Funes Mori could fit in at full back but the Blues are lacking at centre halve too and he'll be needed in the middle. 

Potential counter attacking dangers from Villa

Typically when a new manager takes over a team lower down in the table, they come in and immediately look to fix the defensive problem. 

Roberto Martinez says he knows what he expects from new boss Rémi Garde but the Frenchman should have a few tricks up his sleeve from his time at Lyon

The new Villa boss has players at his disposal that can trouble Everton. The Toffees struggle against teams that can set up defensively and that look to frustrate them.

If Villa can keep Everton at bay and use players like Gabriel Agbonlahor on the counter attack, they may get some joy at Goodison Park. 

Rudy Gestede is another player who may get a bit of luck against the Toffees. Everton struggle with physical strikers who can roll off their marker and also go up and win a number of headers. 

Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu

Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu have developed a really good understanding in attacking areas this season. They’re joint second when it comes to a assister and goalscoring pair, behind only Lukaku and Arouna Kone and also tied with Mesut Ozil and Oliver Giroud

In his first spell at Goodison Park, Deulofeu would look to make it to the byline before looking up for Lukaku, and while elements of that Deulofeu still remain, he is playing passes a lot quicker in his second spell. 

Just in the past two games, Deulofeu has assisted Lukaku with similar goals. A through ball through the middle which splits the centre backs and allows Lukaku to get one on one with the goalkeeper. 

Deulofeu’s crosses to Lukaku have so much pace and dip on them it’s difficult for defenders to judge them. Against Sunderland, the Spaniard played a cross into the Belgian that completely tricked Sebastian Coates, leading to an own goal. 

Roberto Martinez said the pair are vital to any potential push for European football and if they can keep up their understanding, they may be able to carry Everton up the Premier League table. 

New manager bounce

When a new manager comes in, they seemingly bring an effect with them that leads to an upturn in form for their new side.

Rémi Garde set his team up well against Manchester City and got a 0-0 draw from it, in a game which either side could have won had they taken their chances. 

The Frenchman has won trophies in France and brings a respect with him that the players look to have reacted to. Tim Sherwood brought in a number of French based and French speaking players in the summer and Villa fans will be hoping Garde can get the best from them.

Jordan Ayew has failed to impress like his brother, Andre Ayew, so far this season. Jordan Veretout had bigger teams chasing after him but joined Villa and is yet to make any headlines so far. 

Jordan Amavi will be a blow for Villa after he suffered an injury on international duty keeping him out for the rest of the season.

He looked like he had adapted well to the Premier League after joining the West Midlands side from OGC Nice in the summer. 

Roberto Martinez - Aston Villa at Goodison Park

Everton - Aston Villa is usually a tightly contested affair at Goodison Park but last season the Toffees ran out 3-0 winners over then manager Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa team. 

The Blues are unbeaten at Goodison Park under Roberto Martinez against The Villains and they will be hoping to keep that run going with this game. 

A win is the target for both sides, while three points could lift Villa off the bottom of the table, Everton could climb to seventh place should results go their way. 

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