By Sam Stone

24th Feb, 2023 | 7:10pm

View: Aston Villa must maintain intensity in Premier League clash away at Everton

Aston Villa travel to Merseyside this weekend as Unai Emery’s side look to avoid four Premier League defeats in a row when they face Everton.

Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester City proved a tough run of fixtures for the Villans who, luckily, still find themselves engulfed in mid-table mediocrity, which would be welcomed by Villa’s fans come the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

Although the two home defeats seemed fairly comfortable, Arsenal and Leicester were both run close by Emery’s side and both would’ve been pleased to leave the West Midlands with all three points. Although, the defeat against City was less pleasing.

Very few teams will go to the Etihad and pick up all three points, but it was the manner of the defeat which will frustrate the Villa Park faithful. Emery’s side had thrown away any chance they had inside the first half. The Villans have lost more games on the road and won less, which begs the question – do they have an issue when it comes to venturing away from Villa Park?

In the games against Leicester and Arsenal, Villa managed to take the game to their opponents and put them under significant pressure. Sometimes, something as simple as a tackle or the intensity that you do the basics can be the difference. Villa rank fourth in the Premier League for the number of tackles they complete at home (Whoscored). However, away from home, they drop to tenth.

Potentially, away from Villa Park, Emery’s side are struggling to replicate the same kind of intensity which can lay down the basis of winning performances. However, one counter-argument is that Villa give away the second most fouls in the Premier League away from home, which somewhat shows they’re getting stuck in and playing with a similar intensity.

In an attacking sense, Villa are creating less clear chances on goal when playing away from Villa Park. At home, they’re averaging 4.5 shots on target per 90 min, whereas away from home that drops to 3.3. It’s a marginal difference, but over the course of the season, the fewer shots on target will result in Emery’s side picking up fewer points.

This weekend’s fixture against Everton will be a good test of Villa’s away form. There’s not really enough evidence to suggest their performances away from Villa Park are having a dramatic impact on their season’s fortunes.

Villa Park can be a hostile environment for visiting teams and it’s clear the players do feed off of the crowd at times, which is understandable. It’s something Emery will be looking to use to his advantage during his tenure at the club, but it’s also his job to motivate his players away from home in the same way.

The trip to Goodison Park will be a stern test, with the Merseysiders in good form after Sean Dyche’s arrival at the club. It promises to be an electric atmosphere on Saturday and it will be intriguing to see if Emery’s side can replicate their intensity from home on the road.

In other Aston Villa news, the club want to reunite with a former player for a fee in excess of £40million in the summer.