Everton are one of those sides you look at and you think we should have a chance but the thing with Everton is that they are consistently average. The thing with Aston Villa is we go up and down.
Everton fans, go check their forums, will be expecting a draw tomorrow. We simply don't know what Aston Villa will show up nor what the result will be. The thing is, I know what I'd rather.
Football is a funny old game. You se, had we put an emotion tracker on 100 Aston Villa fans and 100 Everton fans ten years ago you'd essentially see that Aston Villa fans would have had much higher highs and slightly lower lows. Relegation isn't that bad and when you think all the Everton fans have to look forward to is another average season, you start to see why maybe it's more fun supporting Aston Villa.
This isn't me having a pop at Everton or their supporters. It's just me saying that tomorrow should be an interesting game. I mean, the blue side of Liverpool now have Red Rafa as their manager so you don't need to be a clairvoyant to know how Everton are going to approach this game and knowing this and having all the information we need to have on their current squad, we should also know how to compete against it. I mean, I know.
So it really does come down to how the players are sent out and if they are sufficiently up for it and by that I mean was the manager able to get them to that place. And I know this is easy to write, but let me be clear and at the same time not offend anyone.
It's not a tough job. Sure, there are pressures with all the money and expectation and thousands of people watching you. But everyone has pressure, the form is just different. What I mean is, it's not as if these people are performing surgery. It's not as if this is a complex equation. It's running around a football pitch chasing a ball.
We want to score more goals than them. The vast majority of us did it as kids. None of us performed surgery as kids. And get this, you get to practice all day every day and get yourself ready for 90 minutes of real work a week. And that practice time I talk about, that's also time for you to get your head straight and ready for these 90 minutes.
So when I say it's all about how they are sent out and if they are sufficiently up for it, that in itself is the job and I know it's not as straightforward as I write, but it really isn't that difficult. I mean, it's literally not rocket science.
So, tomorrow. We'll win if we go out and we look like we want to win in the first five minutes. And I can write that because I believe in the players and I believe we have more quality than Everton. But if we don't come out looking like we want to win, it then all depends on Everton. If they do, we'll lost. If they don't and we both look like it's 6am and we've just stumbled out of a bar in a strange city, then it can go either way but might just end in a draw.
Again, I know I've over simplified things and there are many aspects to getting the players ready for the day and training is just one. But all of these things should be in play and the season is properly up and running. I want to see it tomorrow.
Match facts from the BBC
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in four league matches against Everton since promotion in 2019, winning two and drawing two. They had only won two of the previous 15 Premier League meetings.
- However, Everton have won on three of their past six league visits to Villa Park.
- This is the 207th staging of the most-played fixture in English top-flight history. Everton lead by 76 wins to 75, with 55 draws.
- Villa are vying to go five Premier League home games without defeat for the first time since January 2015.
- They have only kept two clean sheets - both at home - in 16 league matches, conceding 26 goals. It follows a run of 10 clean sheets in 17 games and only 14 goals against.
- Danny Ings has scored five Premier League goals in 11 appearances versus Everton - they are the only club he has scored against for all three of his previous top-flight teams.
- Anwar El Ghazi has scored an unrivalled 15 Premier League goals for Villa since they returned to the top flight in 2019.
- Matt Targett celebrates his 26th birthday on the day of this match.
- Everton are striving to go unbeaten in their opening five league games of successive seasons for the first time.
- The Toffees have scored 10 goals in their first four league fixtures this season, as many as they amassed in their final 14 matches of 2020-21.
- They have only lost twice in 17 away league games (W10, D5), with those defeats coming at Chelsea and Manchester City last season.
- Everton have earned seven clean sheets in their past 10 away league matches.
- Manager Rafael Benítez has lost just one of his 17 games against Aston Villa in all competitions and is unbeaten in his nine away games against them (W4, D5).