Roberto Martinez has no new injury concerns for the trip to Villa Park
What promised to be a quiet weekend for Evertonians, with most preparing to hunker down in case of the wrong result in the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley, exploded with news on the investment front as Iranian-born billionaire Farhad Moshiri was announced as the owner of a 49.9% stake in Everton FC.
While the full details have yet to be revealed and no one has heard directly from the former Arsenal shareholder himself, the general feeling is one of cautious positivity that Chairman Bill Kenwright has opened a new chapter in the club’s history, one that might finally see Everton given the financial backing that a club of its stature deserves.
As exciting a development as that may prove to be, the return to action on the field with a trip to Villa Park on Tuesday evening brings back into focus just how disappointing 2015-16 has been thus far. Indeed, with Everton idle, Chelsea continued their revival under Guus Hiddink with a 2-1 win over Southampton that moves them into 11th and pushes the Toffees into 12th.
Results elsewhere ensured that Roberto Martinez’s men will kick off against Aston Villa a full nine points adrift of Manchester United in 5th and eight behind West Ham in 6th. That they have a game in hand over all bar one of the clubs above them would be more reassuring if that missing fixture wasn’t the Anfield derby...
Still, when contrasted with their results at home, Everton’s away record has been remarkable this season and there are worse places to go when you need three points than the home of the Premier League’s bottom club. The Blues’ last three away games in all competitions have yielded three consecutive wins, as many clean sheets and have ushered them into the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.
Indeed, their last game was the unspectacular but professional 2-0 win at Bournemouth in the cup and a repeat of that display or the one that demolished Stoke City two weeks prior would be just the ticket to keep the team’s hopes of qualifying for Europe this season alive.
In addition to a rare 10-day break and the opportunity to take his players on a warm-weather training trip to Dubai, Martinez has a virtually full-strength first-team squad from which to choose. Muhamed Besic, Tyias Browning, Darron Gibson and, presumably, Tony Hibbert are not in contention because of injury but no other injury concerns have cropped up since the win over Bournemouth.
That will likely ensure minimal — if any — changes to the starting XI that began the game against the Cherries. If so, it would mean all three of Tim Howard, John Stones and Leighton Baines on the bench alongside Oumar Niasse who will be hoping to get more minutes under his belt as a substitute if he isn’t included in the starting XI.
While Evertonians are looking forward with some optimism to how things could change for the better at Goodison Park, Aston Villa are in the throes of genuine crisis and are almost certainly heading out of the top flight for the first time in the Premier League era.
Their plight is part of the cyclical nature of football that is still at play to varying degrees in the Premier League depending on the amount of immunity to such things massive wealth can provide but, given Villa’s rich traditions and historical kinship in that regard with the Toffees, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for a great old club clinging by its fingernails to the trapdoor to the Championship below.
With owner Randy Lerner looking for an exit after a decade at the helm and Remi Garde unable to bring about any renaissance in form since being appointed in November — the Midlanders have won just twice under the Frenchman — Villa are anchored to the bottom of the table, their players accused by their manager of not giving everything to the cause.
Garde’s Herculean task of pulling off a rescue act have been complicated by injuries and suspension to some important players recently and he will be without young midfielder Jack Grealish, Carlos Sanchez, Libor Kozak, Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi. Jordan Ayew is available for selection again, however, following suspension for a straight red card at West Ham earlier this month.
Given the mess Villa find themselves in, particularly from a psychological point of view, this game represents an excellent opportunity for Everton to go to Villa Park and compound their misery with another clinical performance. Garde will be hoping to inspire his men to show some fight and pride in their claret-and-blue jerseys but this is a game that the Blues are more than equipped to win if they approach it and execute in the right way.
Referee: Roger East
Predicted line-up: Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo, Barry, McCarthy, Cleverley, Lennon, Barkley, Lukaku.
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (76)
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1 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:28:49
2 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:43:20
3 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:48:23
I was talking to someone last week who said Villa played Villa U-21's last week behind closed doors and lost 3-0......not sure how much truth is in it but wouldn't surprise me at all.
4 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:54:20
5 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:58:25
6 Posted 29/02/2016 at 19:58:49
"Lennon hasn't done much lately".
He almost single handedly won us 2 of the 3 games where we had respectable results and the only game he was not at his best was when the whole team capitulated to the mighty West Brom.
Ask Seamus Coleman who he would like in front of him and I am sure he will tell you Lennon.
IMO Deulofeu is OK as a late sub to inspire a "moment" in the game but is not a 90-minute man, like Lennon.
I would also like Mirallas to occupy the other wide slot and really go at Villa.
7 Posted 29/02/2016 at 20:13:13
8 Posted 29/02/2016 at 20:17:05
I'd like to see some balance. Lennon, right, Mirallas, left or give the new man a start to give Romelu some support.
Let's hope that the team hasn't left it's talents back on the beach after their break.
Three points and nothing else will be acceptable. What would Martinez have as an excuse if we don't win?
9 Posted 29/02/2016 at 20:31:20
He's worked his socks off for the team, is it any coincidence also that Lennon tracking back helping Coleman out has resulted in us looking more solid as a unit defensively?
Don't get me wrong I'm a Deulofeu fan but at times his stropping and sulking when things aren't going his way can be off-putting for the team, he's mercurial and skillful but maddeningly frustrating at times.
On to the match itself, it looks increasingly likely to be our last trip to Villa Park for a while, a shame in many ways as it's always been one of my favourite fixtures on the calendar but a good example of what can happen when club's regardless of their size are poorly run.
If we can't win that game tomorrow night then do we really deserve to finish in the top half of the table?
Aston Villa are awful, truly apologetic as a Premier League football team, almost as bad as the Derby County side of 2007/08.
We have tough fixtures on the horizon in March and early April, so it's imperative that nothing less than 3 points is registered at Villa tomorrow.
We have spoken quite often about the fact we have only lost the 1 away game this season but we have only won 4.
Nothing less than a win tomorrow night will suffice.
10 Posted 29/02/2016 at 20:51:19
Yes it's good going to have lost once by March but just 4 wins let's it down from being classed as remarkable.
If we had won 7 or 8 then that would have been remarkable.
11 Posted 29/02/2016 at 20:57:05
As Jim says, we've only lost 1 but only won 4 away so here's a great chance to make it 5 against a side who I regard as one of the worst Premier League sides for many years.
12 Posted 29/02/2016 at 21:24:11
Coleman, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Oviedo;
Deulofeu, Barry, McCarthy, Lennon;
That should do the trick!
13 Posted 29/02/2016 at 21:31:14
Another 3-0 win is what I expect.
14 Posted 29/02/2016 at 22:15:59
Our away form isn't remarkable on its own but when you look at the fact that we've lost six times as many home matches as away by this stage of the season, I'd say that is worth remarking on.
The key is in the comparison.
15 Posted 29/02/2016 at 22:17:29
We should win this one... but when could we be sure of anything with Roberto on the touchline???
16 Posted 29/02/2016 at 22:55:31
He joined us for £13mil, age 23 but has not improved one jot. Once my favourite player, various injuries have hampered his progress and I'm hoping to see the old, quick, aggressive McCarthy against Villa.
After frantically licking the boots of Bill and Mr Moshiri, our manager will desperately want to demonstrate his competence and a resounding victory is confidently expected.
17 Posted 01/03/2016 at 00:14:38
Garde looks like a man who cannot believe where he has landed, they have nothing to offer, their spirit has gone but... they have supporters who, having accepted the inevitable, now want and are driving their players to some sort of dignity. They will win soon and it must not be against us.
18 Posted 01/03/2016 at 00:48:34
Someone needs to make sure your last line is right.
19 Posted 01/03/2016 at 00:58:51
21 Posted 01/03/2016 at 02:24:57
22 Posted 01/03/2016 at 02:37:54
Having said that and hoping to pull a double bluff, I reckon anything less than a resounding win would be unthinkable.
23 Posted 01/03/2016 at 02:41:19
24 Posted 01/03/2016 at 03:05:08
Villa haven't won a game, scored a goal or conceded less than 14 goals in a game since 1949.
Their first team and under 21s all have beriberi, trench-foot, nob-rot and lassa-fever, so they will be forced to play their under 18s for the rest of the season.
Top American therapist, Hiram J. Peppershaker III, describes the mood of the midland's club as 'lower than a grass-snake's ball-bag' and suggests that some players there have become so fragile, even a throw-in going against them could require months of therapy to get over.
Villa 2 Everton 1.
(this is Everton, it's a nap, 4/1 Ladbrokes - soften the blow).
25 Posted 01/03/2016 at 05:38:35
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas;
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
McCarthy, Barry, Cleverley;
26 Posted 01/03/2016 at 05:46:16
27 Posted 01/03/2016 at 06:17:02
If that counts for anything...
28 Posted 01/03/2016 at 06:22:18
29 Posted 01/03/2016 at 06:57:38
We are third in the away form league though, and this week's shot in the arm should have the players running around like mad things. Villa ought not know what's hit them.
30 Posted 01/03/2016 at 07:20:01
I'm still having a fiver on Eugene's shoreline of 2-1 to the home team because, well, we are Everton! Hope I'm wrong and we do a proper job, COYB!
31 Posted 01/03/2016 at 09:09:18
Lose this and all hope of RM keeping his job goes out of the window... surely we cannot lose this one???
32 Posted 01/03/2016 at 09:23:38
I think even not beating them would be a disgraceful result.
Losing is unthinkable but if we keep talking about this greatest squad in 30 years, you need to back up the hype, we should be beating these with minimum effort really if all the big players turn up.
33 Posted 01/03/2016 at 09:34:18
I fully expect us to win as he will put his 'philosophy' aside to make sure we get points on the board. If he wants to keep his job that will be the case. If we don't get 3 points tonight, I'm not going to have much hope for the weekend.
34 Posted 01/03/2016 at 09:48:57
I'm pretty sure our servants would like to make a solid impression on our wealthy investor and the lengthy layoff should only benefit our chances of demolishing them. Expecting a neat and tidy 4-0 win. COYB!!
35 Posted 01/03/2016 at 09:49:07
If he is sticking to his style of play then good on him for doing what he says he believes in, but it does not work: look at Arsenal against Man Utd lots of tip-tap in their own half and Man Utd on breaks put it all to the sword by scoring more and surprise they win the game.
If RM does change, it will come as a great shock to him as his whole philosophy will also change and all because he will want to keep his job. If he does and it works, then great lets get behind him and the team. But if he reverts, then I cannot see new owner putting up with it as he has waited long enough for Arsenal to move forward and WIN things.
36 Posted 01/03/2016 at 10:22:25
37 Posted 01/03/2016 at 10:24:07
38 Posted 01/03/2016 at 10:42:14
Jay 6, have to agree with you 100% mate.
39 Posted 01/03/2016 at 11:01:20
So sad to see a famous club like Villa relegated, great stadium, easy away trip to reach and like ourselves very much spent the last 20-30 year's underachieving.
When you look at the old clubs in the Championship nowadays, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, even clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers or Charlton Athletic who established themselves as top flight clubs over the last 20 years, it just shows relegation can happen to anyone.
40 Posted 01/03/2016 at 12:38:41
41 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:26:43
Please don't be another WBA. This has to be the worst season ever for feeling sick after games. There's just been so many!
42 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:27:34
Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines;
Lennon, Barry, Cleverly, Barkley;
We've got to show no mercy tonight start fast, get ahead, and take them to the cleaners. Let's keep the feelgood factor going for as long as possible.
44 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:30:30
Villa have no chance of staying up so can be relaxed and play just for pride but Everton need to stay focused on the job in hand, especially if they score early. There is a cause for real optimism now that the investment has finally arrived and although the top Euro places may be beyond them they might be able to sneak into Europa League if the improvement continues and they beat the RS along the way.
I don't see any reason yet to change the starting eleven unless Martinez wants to start rotating but they have all had a good rest since the last game.
45 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:31:26
46 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:36:37
Other than that...? I think a little side bet on Naismith first scorer!!
47 Posted 01/03/2016 at 13:39:51
48 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:20:38
49 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:24:49
50 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:26:50
Their crowd will wanting much more effort against us. I'm still hoping for a victory but not expecting a big score; maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
51 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:36:52
52 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:38:45
The four-goal thrashing in November was the only game I've seen at Goodison all season and I thought that was the worst Villa team I've seen in all of 50 years.
Nothing to worry about at all. Fill your boots @ 9/1 for us to win 2-0 and 17/1 to win 3-0.
Happy days.... I hope!
54 Posted 01/03/2016 at 14:47:18
55 Posted 01/03/2016 at 15:09:28
56 Posted 01/03/2016 at 15:09:48
I've watched many recent Everton games and I can confirm that Deulofeu has dropped off the pace big style. It doesn't help that he is totally knackered after the 60 minute mark whereas Lennon has seemingly limitless energy and tracks back too. With Everton's defence frailty, it makes sense, in my opinion, to start with Lennon and bring Deulofeu on later, if need be.
57 Posted 01/03/2016 at 16:02:42
58 Posted 01/03/2016 at 16:25:25
Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines;
McCarthy, Barry, Barkley;
Deulofeu, Lukaku, Mirallas.
Harsh on Lennon but I just feel we can afford to be attacking for this one.
59 Posted 01/03/2016 at 16:28:42
Same team to start as last time except maybe Mirallas coming in for Cleverley.
61 Posted 01/03/2016 at 16:50:56
I can't see RM changing the team that's started the last few. I'd like to see Mirallas given a go but I doubt it... I think he has to come on as sub and force the managers hand (although when he comes on and does well it still doesn't matter). Plus now Niasse is there too. Is Pienaar fit again? I'd also like to see a refreshed Baines back but again... doubt it. What a squad we have.
And finally my new song wasn't a misprint. Rock Lobster.... (Ross Barkley... catchy tune) :)
62 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:05:34
My team would be:-
Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, Barry, McCarthy, Oviedo;
A traditional 4-4-2 formation will hopefully put them under pressure from the start and with a few quick goals we can then start playing the tippy-tappy stuff and bring on the likes of Barkley and Mirallas in the second half with the game won.
63 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:17:43
Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines;
Lennon, Barry, Cleverley, Mirallas;
64 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:20:14
Every Everton game means something. This one tonight would be a real kick in the teeth, should we drop points. So here's hoping that just for once that we turn up, that we act and play like favourites.... that Martinez has the team going for goals, and not aimlessly passing the ball from Villa's half , back to Joel. Tip-tap fucking tippity-tappity nonsense... I don't want to see any of that tonight be more direct. This Aston Villa team will fold. Lukaku (should he decide to turn up) can fill his boots tonight. So can Barkley. Lennon starts in my opinion. Mirallas also gets a start. Maybe Cleverley gives way. Stones (for me) is still on the bench. Why split Jags and Funes Mori?
We cannot lose this game tonight... can we? Up the Toffees.
65 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:21:21
66 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:33:50
Unless you can remember an occasion, Michael?
67 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:37:28
A poster suggesting 4-3-1-2
The solidity of a central 3 would allow both full backs to get forward, let Ross play in the hole and get two forwards on the pitch.
68 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:38:45
I think I will stick to Russian roulette, it's safer!!
69 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:50:31
70 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:54:44
Like the look of your team mate and the four-four-two. The only thing I would change is Oviedo as left back and Bainsey further forward. I'm sure that those two working together on the left can cause a lot of damage.
The manager and players know that they need to perform tonight because of the new owner and personally I think they will and we will hammer them.
71 Posted 01/03/2016 at 17:59:29
72 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:11:19
We always make hard work if poor sides, see also West Brom last home game for that .
73 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:13:15
(I'm very rarely correct with my shitty predictions)
74 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:13:52
He's cool and collected in possession and an excellent distributor of the ball. Yes, he can learn when to launch it into Row Z and when to dribble but too many people are on his case.
I'd drop Funes Mori average passer of the ball and a bit slow when caught out of position.
75 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:15:47
76 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:16:23
77 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:20:14
78 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:24:32
I just read that Villa fans are planning a walkout during the game tonight - those rarely end well for home teams.
79 Posted 01/03/2016 at 18:30:18
80 Posted 01/03/2016 at 19:17:52
Also, if he's still making noises about fucking off next season, what's the point in playing him?
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