A rejuvenated Everton side will look to collect points for the third time in four games on Saturday (3pm). Aston Villa travel to Merseyside in search of a first win in four following a string of defeats. Will either get what they are looking for? This EFC vs AVFC preview with betting tips aims to answer that.
The Sean Dyche revival is well underway at Everton. The Toffees have picked up six points from a possible nine since the no-nonsense boss took charge at Goodison Park. Not only have they started to win games, but they have started to tighten up, keeping two clean sheets in three games, including against the Premier League leaders.
It remains to be seen whether they can avoid the drop, but Dyche has certainly laid the foundations for survival, and as things stand, Saturday’s hosts find themselves a point above the drop, sitting 16th in what is becoming an incredibly congested bottom eight.
Things have started to unravel slightly for the visitors, who come into this game off the back of a terribly disappointing defeat at home to Arsenal last time out. Prior to that, they were downed by Manchester City, while Leicester dished out some pain previously. Unai Emery’s men have lost three on the bounce, conceding a total of 11 goals in the process, so they need to tighten up, that is for sure.
Fortunately, fixture wise, things will get easier. It is unfortunate that their last two games have been against the top two in the division. They will be able to take positives from those efforts having scored against both Man City and Arsenal.
Dyche steadies the ship
Sean Dyche was always likely to bring about a certain amount of solidity. His teams are known for adopting a pragmatic approach, an approach that isn’t always easy on the eye but is often effective. That is exactly what he has been at Goodison Park so far, effective.
Sure, Everton lost the Merseyside Derby at Anfield by two goals to nil, but they weren’t battered, while they’ve turned in two encouraging performances at home. First time out under the new boss, the Toffees kept things relatively tight against Arsenal, while they also offered a reasonable amount going forward. Even if they only scored once, they created a more than respectable 1.7 expected goals.
Against Leeds last time out, Dyche’s men were once again relatively solid. They conceded only 0.5 xG, while they capitalised on that solidity by producing 1.4 at the other end, scoring what turned out to be a crucial goal through club legend Seamus Coleman. He is playing in his 14th Premier League campaign for Merseyside’s blue team.
Scoring goals is however a problem for Everton, an issue that could prevent them from pulling away from trouble. Everton’s top scorers are Demarai Gray and the now departed Anthony Gordon, both of whom have just three goals.
Aston Villa capable away from home
Yes, AVFC come here in poor form, and they absolutely need to tighten up at the back, but we shouldn’t judge them too harshly for their recent efforts. After all, as mentioned in this preview above, Aston Villa were handed some rather tough assignments. Prior to travelling to the Etihad, they had begun to dig in and improve on the road.
Before the World Cup break, the Villans won at Brighton, which is far from easy to do. They bottled that effort and then stunned Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on New Year’s Day, winning by two goals to nil. They then beat one of Everton’s relegation rivals Southampton by a goal to nil.
Three away wins on the spin represented a level of progression from Emery’s men, progression that could very easily resume after their minor blip away to Manchester City.
Villans on top in this fixture
In recent times, this is a fixture that has been dominated by Aston Villa. Not only have Saturday’s visitors won each of the last three renewals of this fixture, winning by two goals to one when the pair met at Villa Park earlier in the season, but they’ve now gone unbeaten in seven games against the Toffees. Everton’s last win in this fixture was in 2016.
Saturday’s hosts have failed to win any of their last three home matches against Aston Villa, the last two of which they have lost. When the teams last met at this venue, Villa won by a goal to nil.
EFC vs AVFC: Expecting goal drought?
In the early betting with the leading UK online bookmakers, taking the view that this won’t be a high-scoring game may just pay. For starters, we know that the hosts are going to be set up largely with containment in mind. Dyche has come in and tightened things up, but it is not just that. Before the visitors went to the Etihad, they had really started to frustrate teams on the road with a more measured approach. Combine the two and we could be looking at a game devoid of goals.
The Toffees have kept a clean sheet in each of their two home games under the new manager, conceding xG figures of 0.9 and 0.5. Villa have kept a clean sheet in two of their last three on the road, conceding xG figures of only 0.6 and 0.7.
It is also relatively common for the Villans either to fail to score or keep a clean sheet on their travels this term. Both teams have scored in just three of their last nine away games in the Premier League. Both teams have scored in only five of Everton’s 12 home games this term. Both teams have scored in just one of the last four renewals of this fixture too.
Those overwhelming stats lead to a somewhat inevitable selection for this preview and its EFC vs AVFC betting tips:
- Both Teams to Score – NO @ best odds of 19/20 with BetVictor.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.