Analysis of one of the key Premier League fixtures from Gameweek 35. With Everton’s defence suddenly unbreakable, and Christian Benteke in otherworldly form, this looks to be the game that could have the biggest impact on fantasy football players.
It’s been a trying season for both of these clubs, but we’re now seeing the potential that exists within their respective squads. For Villa, stymied under the management of Paul Lambert, it took the passion and aggression of new boss, Tim Sherwood, to unlock their best football. The result has been a cup final, a huge increase in goals and a slow move away from the relegation zone.
On the other side, injuries to key players like John Stones, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku have left Roberto Martinez with an unsettled line up for large parts of the campaign. As a result they will end up with a finish worse than last year, but their victory over Manchester United hints that they remain on a progressive track.
Sept 18 2014: Everton 3-0 Aston Villa
Oct 26 2013: Aston Villa 0-2 Everton
Feb 1 2014: Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa: W-L-L-D-W-L
Christian Benteke v Romelu Lukaku
This match could well come down to which Belgian striker performs better. For FPL managers, making a decision on who to pick comes down to the classic argument of form versus opponent.
Benteke has been on fire since Sherwood came on board as manager. After struggling with injuries and form for much of the season, he has scored eight Premier League goals in nine starts under his new manager. He would have likely added another in Gameweek 34 but for a poor offside decision. The dilemma with him is Everton’s current defensive form. The Toffees have kept four clean sheets in their last six games – conceding just two goals in that period.
In contrast, Lukaku has not been in the best of form. A return of one goal from his last six appearance will hardly fill managers with confidence, and he has also missed games recently with injury. However, the prospect of facing Aston Villa’s defenders – who have conceded a total of nine goals in their last four games – is enough to make him worthy of consideration. It should also be noted that he played an instrumental role in helping Everton beat United last week, despite not getting on the score sheet.
Jack Grealish v Ross Barkley
Jack Grealish’s recent performances have all of English (and Irish) football buzzing. Before Harry Kane had been given even a moment to settle on his elevated perch as “The future of English football.”, in Grealish has swooped to capture the hearts and minds of the fickle football press.
Despite all the buzz, the midfielder is still yet to record a Premier League assist. His performances, while full of promise, have not yet led to end product from a fantasy perspective.
Ross Barkley knows all to well what it is like to be in position. The Everton midfielder has long been considered one of the rising stars of English football, even if that star has waned slightly this season. After missing the first few months with injury, Barkley has looked a little bit lacking in form and confidence when we’ve watched him, and his statistical output has also been disappointing. In saying that, he remains by far Everton’s most creative midfielder this season, having made 28 chances for team mates.
Leighton Baines leads all Premier League defenders with nine assists. Aston Villa’s defenders have combined for two assists all season.
Everton have won the last three meetings between the sides by an aggregate score of 8-0.
Tom Cleverley, who played under Roberto Martinez at Wigan, scored his first goal for Aston Villa last weekend.