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Everton and Aston Villa: English Football's sleeping giants.

For the 212th time in the top-flight, Everton and Aston Villa face off at Goodison Park this Sunday. Continuing the record as the most played top-flight fixture. Aston Villa have won 80, Everton 76 and there have been 55 draws.

Everton have failed to beat the Villains since their promotion back to the top-flight in 2019. Villa have won the last four meetings between the teams in the league. However, Everton are the only team to win at Villa Park in any competition this season; a 2-1 win in the Carabao Cup in September.

In the reverse league fixture, Villa ran out 4-0 winners against the Toffees and have not seemed to settle down under Unai Emery. A sensational season for them as they currently sit second in the league and have only lost once in their last nine. They also are doing well in their Europa Conference League campaign, finishing top of their group.

Everton currently sit 17th place, largely due to the ten-point deduction that they received in November. They would be comfortably in midtable without the deduction and have showed signs of promise in the league. Despite defeats in the last three, they did win the four before without conceding a goal.

The term ‘sleeping giant’ is largely applied to many clubs in England who have had a mixed bag of success between them. If the term was ever fit to describe any clubs in England – Aston Villa and Everton are undoubtedly fit into the bracket.

Both are suffering from a lack of success recently and are on their longest trophy droughts in their respective clubs’ history. Everton are without silverware since their 1995 FA Cup success and Aston Villa’s drought dates back to the League Cup win in 1996.

Aston Villa have had more chances to end their drought then the Toffees reaching the League Cup Final as recently as 2020 and the FA Cup Final in 2015. Everton have only reached one cup final since 1995: The FA Cup Final in 2009. But still the unfulfilled desire for a trophy goes on.

Everton and Aston Villa were two of the founder members of the Football League back in 1888 and have won the top-flight title on 16 times between them (9 for Everton and 7 for Aston Villa) and 12 FA Cups (5 for Everton and 7 for Aston Villa). Aston Villa also have 5 League Cup triumphs including the 1977 triumph in which they beat Everton in the Final, a trophy that the Toffees are still yet to win.

Both have had success in Europe also, with Everton winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1985 and of course Aston Villa are a rare breed of English clubs who have won Europe’s top prize, as in 1982 they were crowned European Champions.

Ironically, they both achieved their proudest feats in the same city, Rotterdam.

They both hold two of the proudest top-flight records, Everton own the record for the most seasons with 121 and have only missed four top-flight seasons in all. The Toffees haven’t been out of the top-flight since 1954. Villa have had a less easy run then the Toffees in that period, their most recent relegation coming in 2016.

Of course, Everton have not had the easiest of the times in the last two years having come narrowly close to relegation but hopefully for the fans they seem to be performing better may see a brighter future away from the bottom.

The 1980s will arguably be the time of which both of clubs’ fans will remember most fondly as in this decade Villa were crowned European Champions and English Champions once. Everton won the league twice, the FA Cup once and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup champions.

Both have failed to live up to the rich history that the clubs possesses and fans’ expectations particularly while their long trophy droughts go on. Aston Villa are finally showing real promise in recent months with Everton still falling well behind.

However, they will meet again this Sunday and it will be up to Sean Dyche or Unai Emery to do the talking on the pitch and the history will not be matter much at 2pm on Sunday, just another three points.

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