Everton-Aston Villa Preview

Steven Gerrard says Aston Villa must improve their form at their own patch this term, as they prepare to welcome Everton to Villa Park in the Premier League this weekend.

The Midlands outfit struggled to pick up crucial results on their own turf last term, ultimately hamstringing their ambitions under the former Rangers boss.

Gerrard says it is something they need to address this term, pointing to the need to defend themselves in their own backyard as crucial to their progression.

"It was inconsistent throughout the six months, and if we are to get to where we want to in the long-term, home form is always going to be key," he stated.

"I'm really looking forward to the atmosphere (Saturday). When Villa Park is rocking it's such a big help. The onus and responsibility is on us as a team to get the fans behind us with a positive start. Our home form is something that we want to focus on and improve."

Opposite number Frank Lampard, meanwhile, has hailed Alex Iwobi's versatility after he slotted in seamlessly during their opening loss of the season against Chelsea, showing the breadth of his positional skill.

"It's great. It's an option we need," he stated. "There was a necessity for him to be able to play in that role because of injuries and players not ready to play as a number six.

"The benefits of Alex were clear to me very early in getting here. He's versatile because of his qualities and his humility. Anything you ask of him he just does really well because he's an intelligent footballer. He's never said to me 'I need to settle into this position'. "Some modern players do. I asked what positions he'd played in his career and he named nearly every position on the pitch. He'd done it all."

Aston Villa – Philippe Coutinho

With a permanent deal secured after his loan from Barcelona, the Brazilian might fancy his chances of a spot on the plane to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. He has been involved in four goals in his last three home league starts against Everton (2 goals, 2 assists), most recently scoring and assisting in a 3-1 win for Liverpool in April 2017.

Everton – Jordan Pickford

England's undisputed number one goalkeeper almost single-handedly kept the Toffees afloat when the going got tough last term, with his club form arguably finally matching up to his international exploits. If he can continue to deliver like that, he'll be a tough proposition to beat at the back.

- Since returning to the Premier League in 2019, Aston Villa are unbeaten in all six of their league games against Everton (W4 D2); they are the only side they've faced in all three seasons since then and not lost against.

- Everton have failed to score in each of their last three away Premier League matches against Aston Villa, attempting 38 shots without success. They are the only side they've faced in each of the last three seasons and not scored against on the road.

- This is the 105th different English top-flight season Aston Villa and Everton are set to face, the most of any two sides in history. It is one of only three Premier League fixtures this season that was also played in the inaugural top-flight season in 1888-89, along with Aston Villa vs Wolves and Everton vs Wolves.

- Everton won just two away Premier League games in 2021-22, their fewest in a season since 2003-04 (1), while the Toffees lost 13 games on the road, their most since 2000-01 (also 13).

- Aston Villa have won just two of their 10 home Premier League games so far in 2022 (D4 L4) – no side to have featured in both seasons have won fewer than the Villans this calendar year.

Updated August 12, 2022

@STATS_Football