Aston Villa have had a tough start to the Premier League season, losing both their games, with their last loss coming at the hands of Bournemouth at Villa Park.
Manager Dean Smith, who spent over £100 million in the summer, will be under pressure to deliver and get some points on board.
The Villans face Everton on Friday night, who won their last match against Watford thanks to a strike from Brazilian winger Bernard.
Let’s take a look at some key battles in the game between Aston Villa and Everton:
Aston Villa vs Everton: 3 Key Battles
Jean-Philippe Gbamin vs John McGinn
Despite losing both their matches in the league, Villa have had some positives to take away from both games. One of the biggest positives is the form of John McGinn, who has adapted well to life in the Premier League, and has been his industrious best.
The midfielder has created chances, tackled, pressed, and pushed his team on and motivated them to do better from midfield, even scoring the early goal in Villa’s loss against Spurs in the first game of the season.
McGinn will be up against Everton’s new defensive midfield signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who started his first game for Everton against Watford, and put on a decent performance.
Villa require McGinn and Jack Grealish to be the creative forces of the team, and a Villa win is dependent on their form. Gbamin will be under pressure as Villa will want to make a quick start at home come Friday.
Moise Kean vs Björn Engels and Tyrone Mings
New signing Moise Kean has come on as a substitute in both of Everton’s games in the league, and could very likely get his first start in English football against Aston Villa on Friday.
Against Watford, the former Juventus striker looked lively and came close to scoring. Kean turned defenders with ease, and has that verve that Everton missed last season.
He will be up against Villa’s centre-back partnership of Björn Engels and Tyrone Mings, who have quickly developed an understanding and have impressed, despite Villa conceding five times in two games.
Bernard vs Ahmed Elmohamady
Bernard scored the only goal in Everton’s win over Watford, and it was a well-taken one. The Brazilian, who plays from the left side, looked very good throughout the game and was a threat to Watford’s defence.
Against Aston Villa, he will be up against the experienced Ahmed Elmohamady, who is a steady defender and likes to bomb forward himself.
This battle between the two could be one of the avenues where Everton could exploit the Villa backline.