Arguably two of the Premier League’s most underachieving sides, both Aston Villa and Everton will be hoping to kick start their campaign’s once again when they meet at Villa Park on January 14.
It is the home side who are perhaps the most difficult to fathom having epitomised their topsy-turvy form during their most recent outings against Chelsea and Swansea City.
Villa were heavy underdogs when travelling to Stamford Bridge prior to the New Year however they shocked the rest of the Premier League by turning over Chelsea somewhat easily to record a 1-3 success.
That win was most surprising as Villa had until that point struggled massively against the Premiership’s top clubs, with the majority of their points arriving through mopping up assignments against relegation strugglers.
But in Villa’s follow up fixture at home to Swansea City, Alex McLeish’s men were woefully disappointing and slumped to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Brendan Rogers’ side, much to the dismay of the fans who roundly booed them off the pitch.
It seems as if the Villa faithful do not know where their team is from one week to the other and that it perhaps reflected best by their league position of thirteenth going into this round of fixtures.
Everton sit two places above Villa in the table with a game in hand however their season suffered another major blow when losing out at home to bottom club Bolton despite taking the lead in remarkable circumstances through goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Like McLeish, Toffees boss David Moyes is clearly struggling to maintain any real consistency and Everton have subsequently lost all touch with the clubs in and around the European qualification places.
Moyes task has, however, arguably been slightly more difficult that McLeish’s simply due to the lack of funds available at the club and it was perhaps no surprise to see Everton get turned over at the end of the busy Christmas period due to the small squad which they have.
With the F.A Cup providing a small break from Premier League matters at the start of January, it is Everton who are cautiously taken to resume on a positive note in this fixture despite being away from home.
Although far from perfect on the road, Everton have won as many games as they have lost away from Goodison Park and can take advantage of Villa’s obvious lack of confidence in front of their spectators.
It is a tight call, but with Tim Cahill, Marouanne Fellaini and Leon Osman in their midfield, Everton have arguably got a stronger first eleven on paper in comparison to Villa who’s once promising young side now looks vulnerable to stronger, more physical opposition.
Villa’s odds of 6/4 indeed suggest that a home win cannot be forecasted with any confidence and because of that it may pay to side with a freshened Everton at 2/1 to knick all three points and continue their tradition of being much stronger during the second half of the season.
© Frixo 2013