Preview: Everton vs. Aston Villa

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Everton and Aston Villa, who meet at Goodison Park after contrasting fortunes in midweek derbies.

Two teams that enjoyed contrasting derby fortunes in midweek meet at Goodison Park on Saturday as Everton entertain Aston Villa.

The Toffees were thrashed 4-0 by Merseyside and top-four rivals Liverpool on Tuesday while Paul Lambert's men came from two goals down to beat West Bromwich Albion in a seven-goal thriller 24 hours later.

Each side has won 72 of the 197 league matches that they have played against each other, but, surprisingly, Villa have had the better of things since the inception of the Premier League, tasting victory twice as many times as Everton.

The hosts will be without Romelu Lukaku, who has been ruled out for several weeks with an ankle injury, so 6'8" Monaco loanee Lacina Traore could make his English football debut in attack.

Bryan Oviedo will miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg while Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson are other long-term absentees for Roberto Martinez, who is also likely to be without Seamus Coleman and Sylvain Distin, both of whom were unavailable for their miserable trip to Anfield.

Distin, 36, signed a one-year extension with the Toffees this week, while Leighton Baines was another to commit himself to the cause and he will commence his left-wing partnership with Steven Pienaar.

Lambert could name an unchanged starting XI from the one that overturned their early deficit against the Baggies, with Christian Benteke firmly back in goalscoring form having netted three goals in three games.

Leandro Bacuna was employed in a more advanced role on Wednesday when he scored his third of the season, so, if Gabriel Agbonlahor fails a late fitness test on a foot problem, he may continue on the wing, with Matthew Lowton poised to be maintained in the Dutchman's usual right-back berth.

Recent form

Everton: LWDWWD

Villa: WDLLWD

Possible starting lineups

Everton: Howard; Stones, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Baines; Mirallas, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar; Barkley; Traore

Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bertrand; El Ahmadi, Delph, Westwood; Weimann, Bacuna, Benteke

Sports Mole says: 2-2

Preston North End manager Graham Westley shouts instructions to his team during the npower League One match between Preston North End and MK Dons at Deepdale on October 14, 2012
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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