Oct 26, 2013, 9:40 AM EDT
Aston Villa may have finally won a home match — and against Manchester City, no less — but that doesn’t mean the hosts will have an easy time containing Everton in their visit to Villa Park (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
The Villa’s three-match unbeaten run in the league was broken last weekend when Tottenham came to town, with Spurs walking away with a fairly straightforward 2-0 victory. At least Aston Villa can welcome back Christian Benteke, who came on as a sub last week but will start up top today. Perhaps surprisingly, Paul Lambert chooses to hand a second Premier League start to Aleksandar Tonev, who joins fellow attackers Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor.
Everton, after a bit of a stuttering start to the season, must be thrilled by their current form, with four wins from their past five games. In fact, the only real blight in their copybook is the away loss to Manchester City, their only loss of the season. That puts the Toffees in seventh and, should other fixtures fall in their favor, able to move into the European positions at the end of the round. Romelu Lukaku takes his place up top for Everton, while Steven Pienaar, who came off the bench to score against Hull last weekend, gets his first start of the season.
This match is the most played fixture in England, but this year it takes on a unique twist: Villa-Everton becomes the Battle of the Belgians. Romelu Lukaku has four goals in six matches for the Toffees, as does the returning Benteke in league play. Which Belgian forward do you favor to pull ahead in the goalscoring race today?
Aston Villa starting XI: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Westwood, Weimann, Luna, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Tonev
Subs: Steer, Clark, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Sylla, Kozak, Lowton
Everton starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar, Lukaku
Subs: Joel, Jelavic, Oviedo, Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman, Stones
Oct 22, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT
How did the Galatasaray supporters pull off this Tifo before Wednesday’s match against Borussia Dortmund? How?!?
Oct 22, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT
The pair of Premier League clubs remaining in the competition face quite different tests on Thursday.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Perhaps it isn’t the sexiest year for rookies in Major League Soccer, but there’s a quartet of names set to stick around for a while.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
“I had hope, it maybe didn’t look like it, but it happened,” Wenger said.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT
“So overall, it’s a squad with a lot of experience playing at the highest level, and this will be another great benchmark for us,” Klinsmann said.
Oct 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Of course many are claiming this “is the beginning of end” for Balotelli on Merseyside. That seems a bit much.
Oct 22, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
Here’s the bar, Week 33 of Major League Soccer: Please feel free to raise it.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
We are at the halfway point in Groups A-D, and some English clubs are concerned about their fortunes to be sure.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:41 PM EDT
It was a night to forget for the home side, as Real ruled at Anfield. Here’s what we learned.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT
The 21-year-old Honduran international did what a dangerous Alexis Sanchez couldn’t, but Arsenal was rescued late.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT
Ronaldo, Benzema and co. put on a clinic at Anfield, as Liverpool are taught a lesson.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT
The CAF claimed Platini said something he didn’t, and it hurt his feelings.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
Here’s what it’s like at Anfield, as Liverpool host Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
Oct 22, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT
With yesterday’s goal frenzy, will today give us the same excitement?
Oct 22, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
This is the second time Robinho is under investigation for such an alleged incident.
Oct 22, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
NYCFC’s first Designated Player will be returning to the United States to fulfill commercial and marketing obligations, and it’s unclear whether he will make his way back to Australia to finish out his loan.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT
Now that he’s back from a hernia problem, the American told Stoke’s YouTube channel that he is no longer a right-back and the club is aware of where he wants to play.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Rog and Davo gain whiplash from QPR-Liverpool, and the Jurgen Klinsmann-Don Garber saga.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT
After 10 years with the club, Gourlay has stepped down.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
The MLS side was eliminated from group stage play on an away goals tiebreaker as Honduran side Olimpia goes through.
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