Aston Villa-Everton Preview
Time is running short for Aston Villa to move out of the relegation zone. At least they might have some momentum to help give them a needed boost.
Looking to win back-to-back Premier League contests for the first time since October, Villa trudge forward to Goodison Park to face Everton on Thursday night.
Villa (8-6-21) have been in a precarious situation within the league throughout most of this crazy campaign. They began this work week in the middle of the relegation zone, but with a serious chance to move out as three matches remain on the fixture list.
There are also signs, perhaps, that Aston Villa are capable of improving their lot after winning 2-0 over Crystal Palace at home on Sunday. A Mahmoud Trezeguet goal on either side of halftime enabled the Villans to halt a three-match goalless drought and end an 0-2-8 league rut that dated to a 2-1 home victory over Watford from Jan. 21.
Aston Villa last won consecutive Premier League games on Oct. 5 and Oct. 19.
"There's always pressure when you're in the relegation zone, but you have to keep fighting," defender Ahmed Elmohamady told Aston Villa's official website. "We have three games left and we have to try and win them all to stay in the Premier League.
"In the final three games, we have to win. There is not (another) option. We have to go to Everton with a mentality (like against Palace). Keep a clean sheet and get three points."
Though Villa have just two Premier League road wins this season, and none since New Year's Day at Burnley, they should have some confidence knowing they're in position to do the double over Everton. On Aug. 23, goals by Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi led Aston Villa to a 2-0 home victory over the Toffees.
Villa also know that Everton (12-9-14), aiming for a top-half table finish, are a bit in the doldrums whilst scoring one goal over an 0-1-2 stretch within the league. Things hit bottom, perhaps, with Sunday's 3-0 loss at Wolverhampton.
It's a disappointing recent turn of events for the Toffees, who went 2-1-0 out of the Premier League restart, but have slipped in the following three.
"After the restart, we did well," manager Carlo Ancelotti told Everton's official website. "In the last (three) games we lost a little bit of quality and intensity. I hope in the next few games we can show a different spirit. We want to finish the season well."
Richarlison, who has 14 goals over all competitions this season, is responsible for Everton's only goal over the last three contests - in the 44th minute of a 1-0 home loss to Southampton last Thursday.
Villa's Trezeguet has five goals on the season.
Updated July 14, 2020