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Everton vs Aston Villa - Premier League preview and team news

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By Stephen Donovan

Friday 31 January 2014

Aston Villa provide the opposition as Everton look to bounce back from their crushing Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool.

It looked like a very close encounter on paper, but Everton ended up being completely outplayed by their biggest rivals, who extended their lead in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League. However, it was only their third league defeat of the campaign, and a lot will depend on how the Toffees respond to their Anfield ordeal. If they respond well, they will still be very much in the race for the top four.

Exactly a year ago, Aston Villa were guilty of squandering a 3-1 lead to only draw with Everton at Goodison Park, but the game against local rivals West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday showed how far the team have come during that time, as they came from 2-0 down early on to win 4-3 in what was another goal bonanza. That victory cemented their place in the top half, and they are looking up rather than down.

For Everton, Romelu Lukaku has added to an injury list that already comprises Sylvain Distin, Darron Gibson, Arouna Kone, Gerard Deulofeu and new signing Lacina Traore among others.

The visitors are hoping that Gabriel Agbonlahor can return from injury, but defender Jores Okore and striker Libor Kozak are long-term absentees.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Everton vs Aston Villa

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