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Statistical Preview: Aston Villa vs Everton

It is almost a month to the day since Aston Villa beat big-spending Manchester City, but they haven’t managed to register a win since that fantastic victory.

Andreas Weimann was rewarded for his promising return of 12 goals last season, with a bumper new contract this Summer, The Austrian, however, was less prolific against Spurs, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he took 5 shots but failed to hit the target once.

Aston Villa fans will be delighted that they are finally starting to see the best of Fabian Delph. The former Leeds man has been plagued by injuries since his arrival in the West Midlands, and his resurgence this season was evident in the fact he completed 22 passes in Tottenham’s half on Sunday – more than any other Villa player.

In an era where it is frequently asserted that English players are technically inferior to their foreign counterparts, it is reassuring to see that the two players in the Villa team who have completed most passes in the opposition half this season are Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood. The duo have completed 164, and 115 respectively this term – a fact that Roy Hodgson would do well to notice.

A big hole was left at Villa Park when former skipper Stiliyan Petrov was forced to retire, but new captain Ron Vlaar cannot be accused of failing to lead from the front. In his 8 matches so far this season, the centre half has completed an impressive 87.5% of his tackles. 

Everton’s impressive start to the season continued last week, with Steven Piennar coming off the bench to inspire them to a 2-1 victory over Hull.

Gareth Barry has certainly settled into life well since his loan move across Lancashire, with the former Villa man saying he feels like he’s part of the Everton Family already. Everton fans will certainly be maintaining their levels of affection if he continues to perform like he did last Saturday. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that Barry completed a pass in West Brom’s half every 1.9 minutes – this was a better rate than any other player on the pitch.

Roberto Martinez was always going to have a tough job replacing David Moyes, but his preferred passing style of play has proved to be a success so far, with players and fans alike warming to the Spaniard’s philosophy. One particularly outspoken advocate has been Kevin Mirallas, who has claimed that his form has seen a remarkable upturn since Martinez took the reins. When examining the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it appears that Mirallas has weight behind his argument, as he has swung in 7 crosses this term – the third most in the Everton squad.

Interestingly, the two players who better Miralles are full backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. The pair have swung in 9 and 8 crosses respectively, with Patrice Evra the only defender who has bettered them.

Sylvain Distin, ‘Buzz’, as he has become affectionately known by Evertonians, has been a mainstay of the Toffee’s defence since his arrival in 2009. He may be the eldest player in Martinez’s squad, but his ageing legs don’t appear to have affected his performances too much as he has made 109 defensive contributions this season (based on headers, clearances, blocks and interceptions). This is more than any other Everton player.