And manager Steven Gerrard will be buoyed by the latest news coming from Finch Farm as the Toffees are set to be without two first-choice central defenders in Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey, according to a statement from the club.
Everton announced that the Colombian had suffered an ankle ligament injury and was due to see a specialist, whilst the versatile Englishman has already undergone surgery on a fractured fibula, having been stretchered off against Chelsea and is now set to miss the next three months.
The Villans looked absolutely futile against the Cherries last weekend, a rather worrying sign given the fact that their manager, Scott Parker, believed they weren’t prepared for the new season at all.
“It’s clear that we are lacking in a lot of areas. That’s just very clear. We need to work out whether we want to give ourselves a chance of being competitive this year. At the moment, that is not the case,” he said after their final pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad.
Gerrard’s side registered just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes down on the south coast, with starting striker Danny Ings and substitute Ollie Watkins drawing a blank.
Only the latter (11 goals) hit double figures last campaign, so finding the net has certainly been an issue under the former Rangers boss, though he will be relieved to learn that his counterpart, Frank Lampard, will be without two of his regular starters.
That shift in defence and trust in other players could open up an opportunity for Villa to break their 2022/23 duck.
Mina may have only started 11 of his 13 league appearances last season but when he’s fit and available, he is in Lampard’s starting XI, as shown in their opener last weekend.
Godfrey is also a key part of the lineup, particularly as his versatility also allows him to play at full-back, as well as in the middle. He started 23 league games last term and was missing through injury in 14 of the other 15 games as he was not named in the matchday squad.
Lampard may have to turn to the unreliable Michael Keane, who appears to have lost his place in the starting lineup to the aforementioned injured duo, but he wasn’t even able to get on the pitch despite the two injuries. Instead, it was Mason Holgate.
Chelsea fired off 15 shots and only scored once at Goodison Park on Saturday, so it’s clear that Lampard’s backline is vulnerable, with as many as six attempts being blocked.
Either way, this weekend now represents a great chance for Villa’s misfiring frontline to get back on track, so Gerrard must be delighted by this timely boost.