Oct 26, 2013, 9:40 AM EST
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
Dec 19, 2014, 11:20 PM EST
Harry Redknapp believes he could be Ravel Morrison’s “last chance” to prove he is ready to play top-flight football.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:25 PM EST
Since returning from injury, the England international has been key to United’s six-game win streak.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:40 PM EST
Rog and Davo are joined by Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, who discusses her short stint selling hot dogs at St. Mary’s and the rivalry between Southampton and Portsmouth.
Dec 19, 2014, 8:50 PM EST
With 45 points through 17 matches, Bayern Munich is having the best season in Bundesliga history.
Dec 19, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The opening weekend of MLS play features Orlando City SC and New York City FC facing off in a battle of expansion teams.
Dec 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EST
Newcastle and Sunderland may be bitter rivals, but their managers are telling supporters to behave on Sunday.
Dec 19, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
The Blues’ boss said his Belgian playmaker can become a Chelsea legend, but must win titles first.
Dec 19, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
England’s number one keeper finally put pen to paper with a new deal that will keep him at the Etihad until 2019.
Dec 19, 2014, 4:40 PM EST
The Leicester City boss was also fined $15,000 by the FA following his altercation with a fan.
Dec 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
CR7 and Howard, it seems, are among the few blessed with tons of talent and even more desire to work.
Dec 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
In the Premier League, Brad Guzan is tasked with keeping Manchester United off the scoreboard.
Dec 19, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins described Shea as a big addition to the squad.
Dec 19, 2014, 1:43 PM EST
Altidore’s production for his country and in the Eredivisie prove he’s a much better player than his horrible spell at Sunderland.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
According to The Daily Express, Man Utd’s man if Mats Hummels won’t come over from Borussia Dortmund is Nicolas Otamendi of Valencia.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Where and how to watch all the PL games during Week 17.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
“He had to make a step back in his recovery,” said Southampton boss Ronald Koeman.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Villa Park hasn’t been a fortress for the Villans, and that’s underlined when bigger teams visit.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:10 AM EST
Sporting also added Hungarian striker Kristian Nemeth and Haitian mid James Marcellin.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out this weekend.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:06 AM EST
Mangala on visitors to the Etihad: “Normally, teams that are coming here play more defensively.”
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