Aston Villa are still seeking their first win of the season as they welcome Everton to Villa Park on Friday night.
Everton go into the game unbeaten and having kept clean sheets in their opening two fixtures, drawing 0-0 at Crystal Palace on the opening weekend before edging past Watford 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Villa almost took a point from Tottenham Hotspur but ended up losing 3-1 in their first game back in the big time. That was followed by an unexpected 2-1 home defeat to Bournemouth.
Dean Smith’s side will be desperate to get off the mark in terms of points, but Everton are already proving a tough team to break down – so who will come out on top?
Read on for our predictions, key players, TV info and team news.
When is Aston Villa v Everton and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Friday 23 August
Kick-off: 8pm BST
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League
Last five meetings: Aston Villa v Everton
1 March 2016: Villa 1-3 Everton
21 November 2015: Everton 4-0 Villa
2 May 2015: Villa 3-2 Everton
18 October 2014: Everton 3-0 Villa
1 Feb 2014: Everton 2-1 Villa
Aggregate score: Villa (LLWLL) 5-14 Everton (WWLWW)
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Ones to watch
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish
Grealish was made to endure a bit of a rude awakening on his return to the Premier League. Against Tottenham, the club he was heavily linked with last summer, the playmaker lost possession in the build-up to Spurs’ crucial second goal. He made up for the mistake with an assist for Douglas Luiz’s strike against Bournemouth, but there is a feeling Grealish has even more to offer. It’s home games like this in which the 23-year-old must take control of the contest and get his side on the front foot.
Key stat: Only Kevin De Bruyne (12) has created more chances than Grealish in the Premier League so far this season (8 – level with Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell).
Everton: Jordan Pickford
Everton finished last season strongly and have begun the new campaign with plenty of promise, and much of that can be put down to their defensive performances. Pickford has kept a clean sheet in each of Everton’s two games so far, picking up where he left off last term. Villa will be determined to secure their first victory, so Pickford’s goal is bound to be peppered. It will be interesting to see if England’s No.1 can withstand the inevitable heavy pressure.
Key stat: Pickford has kept 10 clean sheets in his last 13 Premier League appearances.
James Chester remains sidelined with a hamstring injury while Jonathan Kodjia and Kortney Hause are also out injured for the hosts.
Predicted XI: Heaton; Elmohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor; McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Grealish; El Ghazi, Wesley, Trezeguet.
Morgan Schneiderlin returns from suspension, though Marco Silva may stick with Jean-Philippe Gbamin in central midfield. Fabian Delph is injured but Leighton Baines should be back in the squad after recovering from illness. Moise Kean could make his first start for the Toffees.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gbamin, Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Kean.
Pickford’s clean sheet record will be under threat with Villa desperate to pick up their first points of the campaign. But by gunning for a victory, the hosts will leave gaps that Everton will surely exploit. This could be a thriller in the Midlands, and right now it’s difficult to separate the sides.
Aston Villa 2-2 Everton