Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will face each other for the first time as managers when Aston Villa host Everton, with both teams looking for a win.

The 2022/23 Premier League season commenced only a week ago, and certain clubs are already making the headlines for the wrong reasons. Aston Villa have been at the forefront of media outlets that have covered the fallout between former captain Tyrone Mings and manager Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard has seen stunted progress since arriving at Villa Park midway through last season. The Aston Villa manager convinced the board to make several high-profile signings, such as Philippe Coutinho, Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara. Still, none of them could stop the team from losing their opening game.

Gerrard has come under scrutiny after the loss to Bournemouth, and the decision to strip Mings of the club captaincy and drop him for the clash. Aston Villa are not in the best of shapes for the Villa Park audience, who will witness the team for the first time at home this season.

Everton are the visiting side, and manager Frank Lampard will face his long-term adversary and former England teammate Gerrard for the first time as a manager. Like his counterpart in the Aston Villa dugout, the Everton boss will be eager to get the Toffees’ season up and running, possibly with their first win of the season.

Everton opened the season with a narrow defeat to Chelsea at Goodison Park. While the loss may not have surprised many, the Toffees put in a solid shift on the pitch. They were unfortunate to concede a penalty for Jorginho to score and decide the game’s outcome.

Between last weekend and this one, Lampard has got in a few important signings through the door, as these players are expected to improve the Toffees for the season. The Everton manager will hope to take advantage of Aston Villa’s current wobbly form and ongoing off-field problems to secure three points for his side.

Team News & Tactics

Aston Villa

Kortney Hause is the only definitive absentee from the Aston Villa squad as he recovers from knee surgery. Former Aston Villa skipper Tyrone Mings remains a huge doubt, with reports suggesting he has yet to recover from his injury completely. That problem might have also kept him out of the Bournemouth encounter.

Other than that, Steven Gerrard is expected to ring in the changes after the dismal performance at Bournemouth. Chief among them will be in midfield, where he might bring Douglas Luiz into the mix. The Brazilian could replace Jacob Ramsey on the left-hand side, with Boubacar Kamara keeping his place in the anchor role.

The Aston Villa defence will likely remain intact unless Mings makes a dramatic recovery and participates in full training ahead of the Everton clash. As things stand, Matty Cash and Lucas Digne will retain their roles as full-backs, while Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa will feature in central defence.

There have been calls to start Emiliano Buendia, but Gerrard may resist the temptation and continue with Philippe Coutinho in a front three. The Brazilian international could shift slightly behind to play as the attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Ollie Watkins could replace Danny Ings as the leading striker, while Leon Bailey starts on the right side of the Aston Villa attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Carlos, Digne; McGinn, Kamara, Luiz; Bailey, Watkins, Coutinho

Everton

Frank Lampard will have to shuffle his pack following a disastrous opening day regarding new injuries. Ben Godfrey underwent surgery on the fractured fibula sustained against Chelsea and will likely miss the next few months. He was joined by Yerry Mina, who went down with a new problem.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains absent for the foreseeable future and has been joined by Salomon Rondon on the sidelines. Lampard could be forced to start young Anthony Gordon as a false nine against Aston Villa due to a shortage of strikers.

Despite major defensive injuries, Everton managed to sign Conor Coady from Wolverhampton Wanderers, and the England international will take up a central role in a back three. Mason Holgate and summer arrival James Tarkowski are the likeliest choices to partner the former Wolves captain there.

Nathan Patterson could be replaced by veteran Seamus Coleman at right wing-back, while Vitaliy Mykolenko keeps his place on the opposite flank. Meanwhile, new arrival Amadou Onana could get his first Everton start and partner Abdoulaye Doucoure in midfield.

Alex Iwobi, who played admirably in an unfamiliar holding midfield role, could be deployed further forward in the front three. Besides Iwobi could be Gordon leading the line for Everton, with Demarai Gray marshalling the left side of the attack against Aston Villa. Dwight McNeil could drop to the bench in light of the many changes.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski; Coleman, Onana, Doucoure, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Gordon, Gray

Key Stats

  • Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will meet for the first time as opposing managers.
  • Everton have failed to win 16 of their last 17 away matches in the Premier League.
  • Aston Villa have kept a clean sheet in their last three home games against Everton in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six matches against Everton in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa have failed to win their last five matches in the Premier League.

Player To Watch

Philippe Coutinho

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Coutinho did not have the best loan spell at Aston Villa when he came from Barcelona in January. Inconsistency and going anonymous in certain games became the hallmark of Coutinho’s displays with the club. Yet, Steven Gerrard convinced the Aston Villa board to spend a significant sum to sign him permanently.

Coutinho was nowhere near his decent self against Bournemouth and failed to convince the Aston Villa fans that he deserves continuation in the team. Many have been calling on Emiliano Buendia to replace the Brazilian international. The latter will be afforded more chances that he needs to grab with both hands.

Prediction

Aston Villa 1-1 Everton

As both teams come into this clash at the back of opening day defeats, they could tend to play with the handbrake on. That could be the case with Aston Villa and Everton, but both teams have enough firepower to hurt the other.

However, for the teams, losing another game brings more harm than good; hence there is a feeling this will be a cagey encounter. Both clubs are expected to score at some point, although it does give away the feeling of a draw.

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