1st April 2011
Everton climbed to 8th place in the standings as they beat Fulham at home with the Toffees now looking to continue the rich vein of form against Aston Villa. The Villans, on the other hand, are just one point clear of the bottom three after losing the Midlands derby to Wolves and they now face another difficult task.
Everton needed almost entire season to finally hit the ground running with the latest good run of results long overdue. The Toffees largely struggled during the first part of the season and while they played pretty well against the title contenders, David Moyes’ side dropped quite a few points against bottom table sides and that has cost them dearly this season. The Toffees have, however, showed a massive improvement of late, having picked up ten points from last four games and they are now favourites to win this match as well. Nonetheless, boss David Moyes faces another injury crisis with Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini out with injuries, while there are also doubts over the fitness of Tim Cahill, Seamus Coleman, Jack Rodwell and Jose Baxter. Should Cahill and Rodwell fail to recover in time to face Aston Villa, the hosts will be severely weakened at Goodison.
Aston Villa have been even more disappointing than Everton this term, although it is off the field problems that are giving the Villa fans a cause for concern. Just when the Villans started showing some improvement and when it seemed they will manage to turn the season around, clashes between the players and coach Gerard Houllier started filling the newspaper headlines, and it was little wonder the future developments had a very negative effect on the squad. It now appears that the French coach has lost control over the dressing room, that is if he ever had one to begin with, and following back to back defeats to Bolton and Wolves, the Villans find themselves in real problems. Aston Villa now sit just one point above the relegation zone and since they are set to face relegation rivals West Ham and West Brom away from home, nobody can guarantee that Gerard Houllier’s side will be able to avoid the drop. James Collins and Richard Dunne should return to the side, but Ciaran Clark is banned. Kyle Walker is doubtful with a groin problem.
Everton have been playing pretty well lately and they look like favourites against struggling Aston Villa. The visitors are all over the place at the moment and they will be under extreme pressure at Goodison, so I see a good value in backing Everton to win this game.
Verdict: Home win Everton (1)
Best Odds: 10/11
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler
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