How Aston Villa Will Line Up Against Everton

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Aston Villa player Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Capital One Cup second round match between Aston Villa and Rotherham at Villa Park on August 28, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Aston Villa entertain Everton on Saturday, with Paul Lambert’s side on something of a recovery mission following the loss to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.

After a season curtain-raiser that saw Villa take the scalp of Premier League leaders Arsenal, their form has been patchy.

A superb win over Manchester City was sandwiched between a home defeat to Newcastle and 0-0 draw with Hull City, to highlight their lack of consistency.

Lambert has been without star striker Christian Benteke since he pulled up with a hip injury against Norwich City on September 21.

There was hope that he would be fit to start against Spurs, but he did not take to the field until 29 minutes from time—with Villa already a goal down.

That half-hour cameo will have blown away the cobwebs and with no reports of any setback, the strapping Belgian is sure to be spearheading Villa’s attack.

Lambert clearly believes Benteke will improve from his outing against Spurs. In a piece by the Mirror's Jack Lang, Lambert said: "It’s his first game back since he was injured.            

“He’s OK. You heard the adulation within a minute of the game from the crowd."  

Goals could well be on the agenda. Aston Villa's website, leaning on stats from WhoScored, reveals: "In 11 of the last 12 encounters between Villa and Everton, both sides have been on the scoresheet, with nine of the last 13 league meetings ending in a score draw."

Lambert will stick with his trusted 4-3-3 formation, with four-goal topscorer Benteke supported from the wide positions by Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Villa lost the midfield battle against Tottenham last week, but Lambert is unlikely to hit the panic button so expect Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi to retain their places in the side.

It will be no easy assignment for the trio, given Everton have the dynamic Ross Barkley and the resurgent Gareth Barry in their midfield ranks, but this fixture will hold fond memories for El Ahmadi who scored his first goal, a superb swerving effort, for the club last season.

Villa were forced into a late change at the back for the Tottenham game, as illness forced Ciaran Clark to sit the game out, as per the Birmingham Mail.

Nathan Baker was drafted in and “played well,” Lambert told the Birmingham Mail, but it seems highly likely that Clark will return to play alongside Ron Vlaar at the heart of Villa’s defence.

Leandro Bacuna has made the right-back slot his own since snatching the jersey from Matt Lowton, and he will continue in that role—with Antonio Luna on the other flank.

Brad Guzan has conceded 10 goals this season, but the keeper has produced a string of top-class performances and, according to, he has made 24 saves this term.

Aston Villa lineup:
GuzanBacunaVlaar, Clark, Luna; El AhmadiDelphWestwoodWeimannBenteke, Agbonlahor