Villa are making some big moves in the transfer market for a second successive window, with Lucas Digne putting pen to paper and Philippe Coutinho already joining on loan and making an instant impact off the bench with a goal and assist to claw back a point against Man United last time out.
Rumours of Luis Suarez reuniting with Steven Gerrard are also gathering momentum as Villa look to make a push for a top half spot.
It seems to be going in the opposite direction for the Toffees who stand slightly perplexed as a club right now. They’ve parted ways with Rafa Benitez as manager, though murmurs of a Roberto Martinez return haven’t left fans hopeful of a resurgence this season.
The priority for the Merseyside club is not to get drawn into a relegation battle as they currently sit just two places above the drop, and six points from the last 39 on offer is not the kind of form that’s going to encourage anyone.
Duncan Ferguson is filling the void for a second time now in an attempt to steady the ship and get fans back onside, though that’s easier said than done against this dangerous Villa side.
0.5 ts Aston Villa 2-1
Villa have a balanced W4-D1-L4 record under Steven Gerrard so far, though considering they’ve faced all of Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United and Leicester in that run, that's an impressive start for a new manager.
While being at Goodison Park would theoretically play against Villa, the mood around the blue half of Merseyside isn’t exactly electric right now and we can almost expect the hosts to face a more hostile atmosphere than the visitors.
Both Teams To Score
Only against Liverpool have the Midlands club failed to find the net under Gerrard, while they’ve scored exactly twice in five of their six such matches against sides outside the top three in the table.
Despite their poor form, Everton have actually also managed to score in all of their outings since the beginning of December, and with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin returning to action their goal threat has increased drastically.
They can’t quite seem to get over the line at the moment though and unless Ferguson can instil that character in the side immediately, we’d expect the visitors to have the edge here.
Jon McGinn was a huge loss in midfield against the Red Devils last time out, though the Scot returns from suspension here, while Digne will be determined to put on a show against his former club having actively pushed for the exit.
Trezeguet, Bertrand Traore and Alex Iwobi are the three players away at AFCON, though both sides have more than enough cover for those absentees and in a period where weakened lineups are being fielded week in, week out, both managers will be happy with the personnel they can choose from here.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
0.5 PTS ASTON VILLA 2-1