Aston Villa at Everton: It's for the taking, team news and updates

Look, we're in trouble. But Everton are hardly a team that are going to challenge for anything. They'll be lucky to finish in the top half and I wouldn't be surprised if they lost their most promising player in a few weeks. And when I write that it's for the taking, I mean that our new manager has had the time to make an impression and we can get something today.

Our position in the league isn't because of the players and while we don't really know that much about the manager, this is the type of match that if we can win, many will start to believe that he's the man to save us. A point will be seen as more stability but defeat today will have some thinking he's not the man and that, only two games in, is actually the game we're in at the moment and it comes down to his lack of experience as a manager.


But then they'll be some that say nobody knew of Wenger when he was appointed and I'm the one that usually uses that when supporters are saying we need someone with Premier League experience. The thing is, I think there is a small group of supporters that think this was exactly what we needed this time.

But it is only his second game and it is only Everton and we do have the players to stay up. And based on last time out, we were not one of the three worst sides in the Premier League. But there are only 26 games left this season and we now need more than a point a game to stay up this season. I think we can start today.

Updates, team news and bet of the day

And that was me, getting very optimistic and very realistic in four paragraphs. The truth is, we just don't know yet. We can hope it's going to go well and we can brace ourselves for it not going well. The truth is that it'll probably just be the same.

And to support that, or to use a similar example, I read something on HBR this week about what a goalkeeper should do with penalties and it adds up. And it goes a little like this; if Everton get a penalty today, Guzan (if he plays) should just stand in the middle and not dive. The numbers back this up.

Consider professional soccer goalies and their strategies for defending against penalty kicks. According to a study by Michael Bar-Eli and colleagues, those who stay in the center of the goal, rather than leaping to the right or left, perform the best: They have a 33.3% chance of stopping the ball. Nonetheless, goalies stay in the center only 6.3% of the time. Why? Because it looks and feels better to have missed the ball by diving, even if it turns out to have been in the wrong direction, than to have stood still and watched the ball sail by.

The story on HBR was about why large organisations don't learn and that particular section was focused on people doing something to keep themselves busy when they don't really need to. But I've gone way off topic now. But it was an interesting story.

Anyway, I'll be back with team news an hour before the game. But before that, my bet of the day. I've got £10 on Arsenal, Chelsea and us to win. And why not?