Want some lovely footage of Aston Villa players arriving at Goodison Park and interacting with their
mascot? Ask and you shall receive.
Sean Dyche: ‘We couldn’t believe Calvert-Lewin’s red card’
Dyche adds Everton were ‘shocked’ by Dominic Calvert-Lewin red card against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, which has since been rescinded.
‘We were all shocked by that decision, we’ve moved on from that, it’s the reality,’ he says.
‘Our consistency is important. We’ve got to get the margins right at both ends of the pitch.’
And the Everton boss has backed Calvert-Lewin to rediscover his goalscoring form.
‘Beto’s adapting to the game here, Dom’s been up and down for a long time, it’s getting back in the ryhthm, goals will come his way,’ he explains.
‘The further away it gets the closer it comes.’
Sean Dyche: ‘We’ve got to get back to winning’
Sean Dyche has been speaking to Sky Sports and is confident his side can turn their fortunes around after losing three games in a row.
‘A very strong beginning, not so strong in the latter part. Some tough fixtures,’ he says.
‘We’re in a good place performance-wise. We’ve got to get back to winning.’
On facing Villa, Dyche says: ‘Villa are a strong outfit, they’ve proven that. They’re still a threat away, it still comes down to us performing.’
Seamus Coleman makes history for Everton
Seamus Coleman will make history this afternoon when he makes his 355th Premier League appearance for Everton, setting a new record and overtaking Tim Howard’s previous landmark of 354 matches and three more than Leon Osman.
Sean Dyche has praised the Everton captain on Sky Sports.
‘His professionalism is outstanding, he’s an old fashioned pro who does all the modern things to keep himself right,’ he said.
Villa suffer Jacob Ramsey blow
Unai Emery has told Sky Sports Jacob Ramsey is unavailable today because of injury. The midfielder is ‘not feelign well’ after suffering what Emery describes as a ‘small pain’.
How James Garner has become one of Everton’s key players
Joining Everton was the ‘most stressful day’ of James Garner’s life but 16 months on he’s reaping the benefits of leaving boyhood club, Manchester United.
Garner had been with United from the age of seven so his decision to seek a fresh start in 2022 was major, particularly as the £15million move to Goodison Park took place on deadline day with the clock ticking.
From being a bit-part player at Old Trafford, the 22-year-old midfielder is now one of Sean Dyche’s main men.
You can read more about his remarkable rise here.
Aston Villa team news
Here’s Aston Villa XI for this afternoon. Unai Emery makes four changes to the team that Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, with Diego Carlos replacing Matty Cash in the back four.
Douglas Luiz, Moussa Diaby and top-scorer Ollie Watkins are all back in the starting XI, while Youri Tielemens is among the substitutes after recovering from injury.
Everton team news
Here’s today’s Everton XI. The Toffees welcome back Abdoulaye Doucoure after five games and he goes straight into the starting line-up, in place of the injured Dwight McNeil.
Can Everton stop the rot?
If you are of an Everton persuasion, you may wish to look away now for recent history between these two sides does not bode well for this afternoon.
Villa have won five of the most recent Premier League meetings against Everton by a combined score of 12-1 and have won in their last two visits to Goodison Park.
Goals from Ollie Watkins and Emi Buendia sealed a 2-0 win in February last year, with the latter also scoring the winner in a 1-0 in January 2022.
Goodison Park looks picture-perfect
Players and staff have arrived at Goodison, where they have been greeted by a picture-perfect winter day.
At the risk of sounding like an old nostalgic, it’s hard to picture English football without The Grand Old Lady.
Sure, Everton’s new state-of-the-art ground is long overdue and will offer all the comforts of a modern stadium, but will it match Goodison’s atmosphere?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
Everton vs Villa is the original Old Firm
Everton and Villa may not be the first names that come up when discussing some of English football’s main rivalries, but there’s plenty of history between the two clubs.
So much aso, in fact, that this afternoon marks the 212th time they have met in a top-flight fixture and the 231st time in all.
Records are so astonishingly tight there are but four wins and three goals separating them across 135 years.
They have 34 major trophies between them — at least one in each decade from the birth of organised football to the dawn of this millennium, minus the 1940s when war intervened.
You can read more about from Mail Sport’s Matt Barlow here.
Sean Dyche confident Everton can bounce back
Everton have lost their last three games in the Premier League, but Sean Dyche believes his side can quickly rediscover the form they showed in early December when they won four matches in a row.
‘We have genuine belief within the group and we have shown already that when we focus on ourselves and get things right, we can be more than a match for any team,’ he wrote in the matchday programme.
‘We know, as ever, you’ll be behind us all the way.’
The Premier League winter break means action is at a premium this weekend, with just five fixtures across three days.
The silver lining to it all is that today’s matches should provide talking points aplenty.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be in attendance at Old Trafford later this afternoon for the first time since his minority takeover was formally announced, while Timo Werner could make his Tottenham debut after returning to the Premier League.
Before all of that, however, our collective attention focuses on Merseyside where Everton host Aston Villa in a very important fixture for both.
The days when Everton appeared to have dragged themselves out of the relegation zone are as distant a memory as Christmas dinner.
Three consecutive defeats have dropped the Toffees right back into the thick of it and they start the day 17th on the table, but clear of the relegation zone purely on goal difference.
Villa, meanwhile, would temporarily go top of the table alongside Liverpool with a win this afternoon – albeit having played one more game than Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Unai Emery’s men overcame a slight festive wobble with a last-gasp win over Burnley on December 30 and are third in the table.
Good afternoon and welcome to Mail Sport’s coverage of the first half of today’s Super Sunday.
Early action comes from Goodison Park, where Everton host Aston Villa looking to stop a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats.
Coming up we’ll have team news and all the build-up ahead of the 2pm kick-off.