Sunday's early Premier League kick-off sees high-flying Aston Villa travel to Goodison Park to face an Everton side who sit outside the bottom three on goal difference.
Aston Villa to win @ 29/20
Not many will have predicted that Aston Villa would be second in the table and just three points away from top spot going into the New Year.
But inspired victories over fellow title challengers Manchester City and Arsenal, as well as registering the second most goals in the league, have seen the Villans turn into one of the most feared sides in the division.
Unai Emery’s men have lost just one of their last 13 games in all competitions and last failed to score in any game at the beginning of November.
Everton may be flirting with relegation, but without their ten-point deduction they would be in 11th place in the standings.
However, they do find themselves in poor form going into this fixture, as the Toffees are winless in their last five games in all competitions, losing four.
Everton’s last league victory over Sunday’s opponents was back in 2016, and this unfortunate winless streak over Villa looks set to continue.
James Tarkowski over 1.5 fouls @ 7/4
Villa boast an array of attacking talent who are in good form coming into this fixture, with the likes of striker Ollie Watkins and wingers Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey proving on many occasions to be a handful for the opposition.
This could therefore prove to be a long day at the office for the Toffees defence, and could resort to dirty tactics to disrupt the flow of the opposition.
Everton have committed the second most fouls in the Premier League this season, with only Wolves conceding more than the 253 accrued by Sean Dyche’s men.
Centre-back James Tarkowski is third in the club rankings in this metric, as well as receiving three yellow cards, and therefore he could be the most likely to fall foul of the referee on Sunday.
Ollie Watkins to score or assist @ 4/5
Aston Villa possess more than their fair share of players capable of finding the back of the net, with five of the squad netting at least four goals so far this season.
Topping the list is unsurprisingly star striker Ollie Watkins, who has netted nine times in the league this year and is placed seventh in the goalscoring rankings.
However, the forward is also Villa’s top assister, with the hitman turning provider on no more than eight separate occasions.
Watkins is therefore likely to have an impact on the scoreline at Goodison Park, where he also scored a penalty in a 2-0 victory here last season.
Sean Dyche will be without central midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye, who has been called up to the Senegal side for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Dwight McNeil picked up an ankle injury in the FA Cup draw at Crystal Palace and will therefore miss this encounter. His absence is added to the already injured trio of Dele Alli, Ashley Young and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Unai Emery is also missing a player due to AFCON, with forward Bertrand Traore selected by Burkina Faso.
Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia and Lucas Digne are out, while there are late fitness tests ahead for Pau Torres, Robin Olsen and Youri Tielemans.
Boubacar Kamara returned from suspension in the FA Cup win over Middlesbrough and is available for selection once more.
Everton have failed to win any of their four home games against sides in the current top eight.
Aston Villa last lost at Goodison Park back in 2015 and have won three of the four meetings here this decade.
|Aston Villa wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.