At Everton and a competition

Another busy week that meant I forgot to launch the competition yesterday. It means you know the number from yesterday, but you've got a few more games to go. You have one guess and if you get it right and I find another guess from you, you'll be removed. Click here to enter.

That out of the way, we play Everton for the first time this season today and this is one of those fixtures every season that is a good barometer of our season. What I mean is, we're a similar sized Club and beating them shows us how good we are.


Both of us have the potential too. If one of us were to make the Champions League, it would be a surprise but not completely unexpected. We're a little bigger and a more prestigious Club, I think all would accept that, but we're very close.

And that is why I like this match and it's also why it's important. Not long ago, we were very close in the table but today there is a big gap. Everton still have a real opportunity to get into the top four this season whereas our chance ended a few weeks ago. It's matches like today for them that they need to win and that tells us how they are going to approach the game.

We are playing for nothing, but we have that advantage. We know if we sit back and try to not lose it doesn't usually end well. We need to have a go at them tonight and if we don't, we know where it will end up.

And us trying to not lose is just how it looks. I know it's a plan, but the plan of trying to stop them from scoring and getting something on the counter isn't the right way. We need to be attacking and getting the ball back quickly and making space and runs. We need to be getting in crosses and creating those opportunities.

All that said, our season is over so I'd actually prefer to see some of the younger players given a chance today. If we play our strongest side, we've got to go out to not just score one more goal than them and try to defend. It's not that the result doesn't matter, but the real opportunity today is seeing the younger players on the pitch and the players that wont be here next season or the ones we need to replace not even on the bench.

And on that, time for a day getting things done. I'll be back later. Don't forget the competition.

Match facts from the BBC

Head-to-head

  • This is the 205th league meeting between Everton and Aston Villa, making it the most played fixture in English top-flight history.
  • It's the latest first meeting between two sides in an English top-flight season since 1987-88.
  • Villa have gone nine games without a win at Goodison Park since a 3-2 Premier League victory in December 2008 (D5, L4).

Everton

  • Everton have only won once in their past nine home league matches (D3, L5).
  • Defeat on Saturday would be a club record-equalling eighth at home in a 38-game Premier League season.
  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored three times in his last 16 Premier League appearances, following a run of 11 goals in his first 11 games this season.
  • Richarlison has scored 32 goals in 99 top-flight games for Everton.

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa have lost nine Premier League games in 2021 - only Sheffield United and Southampton have a worse record, with 12 defeats apiece.
  • Villa have recorded seven away wins in the league this season, having won eight away games in their previous three Premier League campaigns combined.
  • They could set a club record of nine away clean sheets in a top-flight season.
  • Emiliano Martinez has kept 14 Premier League clean sheets this season and needs one more to equal Brad Friedel's club record set in 2009-10.