Everton - Aston Villa Preview: Toffees hoping to keep up with chasing pack
Everton vs Aston Villa : Toffees Look To Stay in Race for Top 6

It will be a battle of a team looking to stay in contention for Europe versus a team in a relegation battle as Everton take on Aston Villa at Goodison Park. 

Form

After a disapopinting finish last season, Everton find themselves mid table again. The Toffees currently sit 9th with 17 points from 12 games. They are in the same position as last year but one must note the tough schedule Everton has faced. They have faced the likes of West Ham, Chelsea, Man City, Man United, and Arsenal this season. Not to mention they beat the Blues and have had draws against the Hammers, Tottenham, and against rivals Liverpool. They've got through a tough set of fixtures, and must take advantage of what lies in front of them.

It has been a dreadful season so far for Aston Villa. They sit last in the Premier League with five points from 12 games. They only have one win in the season - and that was on opening day. Tim Sherwood has been let go and Frenchman Remi Garde is now in charge. Garde will have a tough task in front of him as Villa are five points behind 17th and have some key games in front of them. 

Key Players 

The key player for Everton will be Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has had a great season for the Toffees as he has hit the back of the net seven times. He will be looking to break down a Villa defence that have conceded 20 goals. Lukaku is the key to the Everton attack as his ability to beat defenders with a combination of strength and speed is lethal. Look for him to play a big role if Everton come out with a win. 

The key player for Villa will be Keiran Richardson. He will be matched up against Gerard Deulofeu, who has been in form for Everton. The Spaniard has been running rampant and it will be Richardson's job to make sure he doesn't split the Villa defense with a key ball or cross. This will be the key defensive matchup for Aston Villa. 

Team news

Aston Villa suffered a huge blow when striker Jordan Amavi ruptured his knee tendon in a French U-21 game and will miss the rest of the season. Jordan Ayew will likely be the one to replace the promising striker. 

Meanwhile Everton have been linked with former Villa defender Ron Vlaar as the Toffees look to find a solid replacement for Phil Jagielka, who is out for injury. 

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