Everton v Aston Villa
Everton new boys Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi will go into the squad for Saturday's game against Aston Villa and both will hope to make their debuts at Goodison Park.
Leighton Baines withdrew from the England squad with a foot injury but will hope to be fit in time to make a 70th consecutive Premier League appearance.
Frontman Darren Bent missed England's games against both Bulgaria and Wales with a groin injury and boss Alex McLeish admits it is 'touch and go' as to whether he features on Saturday.
Villa signed Spurs pair Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton on deadline day, the latter will battle with youngster Chris Herd for the right-back berth. Herd was man of the match in Villa's 0-0 draw with Wolves last time out.
After an opening day disappointment against QPR at Goodison Park, David Moyes' side responded well with two victories the following week.
The Blues came from behind to beat Sheffield United 3-1 in the Carling Cup second round, before Mikel Arteta's final act in an Everton shirt was to seal a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers from the penalty spot at Ewood Park.
Villa have made an unbeaten start to life under Alex McLeish, having won one and drawn two of their three Premier League matches as well as progressing to the third round of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 win over Hereford United.
Goals have been the problem in the league so far for Villa, the West Midlands club drew a blank against Fulham and Wolves either side of a 3-1 win over basement boys Blackburn.
1 Everton have not beaten Aston Villa in the Premier League since March 2006 – the run of 10 matches is the longest without a league win against any current top-flight side.
2 Tim Cahill has scored more goals against Aston Villa – seven in total – than any other club while at Everton.
3 Aston Villa are also Leon Osman’s favourite side – the midfielder has netted four goals against the Midlands’ club, and also requires one more appearance to reach 250 in his career.
4 It will be Phil Neville’s 200th Premier League appearance for the Toffees should the skipper play on Saturday.
5 David Moyes and Alex McLeish have met six times as managers with one win apiece and four draws.
Phil Jagielka on playing Villa: “There seems to be a few goals at either end most times, last minute goals, stuff like that. As a defence after picking up our first clean sheet at Blackburn, somehow, mainly thanks to Tim Howard, we would like to progress and keep a clean sheet and maybe not have as crazy a game against Villa.
Alex McLeish on Darren Bent's fitness: "It is touch and go. There is no doubt about that. We’ll be working around the clock to try and get him fit for the Everton game. But at this moment he is injured and that is a fact. You never know by the weekend. We don't think it is too serious and it is not going to keep him out for a while - but hopefully he'll still be available for the weekend."
Everton 2-2 Aston Villa. Saturday, April 2, 2011. The 192nd league meeting between Everton and Villa proved a highly entertaining fixture with both sides surrendering the lead at one point in the game and ultimately having to settle for a point. Leon Osman danced through the visitors defence to put Everton 1-0 ahead at the break but a brace from Darren Bent swung the game in Villa's favour. Leighton Baines converted the Blues first penalty of the season to secure a draw late on.
Everton 4-1 Aston Villa. Saturday March 18, 2006. Everton's last league win over Aston Villa came in convincing fashion back in March 2006. David Moyes' side had raced into a 3-0 half-time lead courtesy of goals from James McFadden, Tim Cahill and Leon Osman. Villa debutant Gabriel Agbonlahor reduced the deficit on 64 minutes, but Cahill scored his second of the game in injury time to make it 4-1.
Once again we've opened up this part of the match preview to the Blues fans on Facebook and Twitter and have been able to produce a team of former Everton and Aston Villa players.
We were struggling for a goalkeeper in our team before we found Harry Morton who made nearly 200 appearances for Villa before moving to Everton in 1937.
The back four would be John Gidman, Derek Mountfield, Mike Pejic and current Villa centre back Richard Dunne.
The midfield three of David Ginola, Bruce Rioch and Kevin Richardson provides a good mix of flair and grit, and there would be plenty of goals in a forward triumvirate of Andy Gray, Adrian Heath and Dave Hickson.
Plenty of players are vying for a place on the subs bench including the likes of Steve Watson, Ken McNaught and Gareth Farrelly.
An honourable mention should go to David Unsworth who was at Villa for less than a week in 1998 before returning to Everton for a second spell at the Club.
Tickets for the game against Aston Villa are on general sale now call the box office on 0871 663 1878 to secure your seat. Or click here to use eticketing.
Official Betting Partner 188BET have chosen their Top 5 Betting Picks of the week, for this weekend’s match at Home to Aston Villa:
Everton to win the first half @ 2.50
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Over 2.5 goals in the match @ 2.13
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Everton to draw the first half and win the second half @ 4.50
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Everton win the match 2-1 @ 8.50
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