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Latest updates

  1. VAR standards in Premier League 'not good enough'published at 10:34 25 January

    Diogo Jota is challenged by Vicente GuaitaImage source, Getty Images

    Former Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards says VAR in the Premier League is "a shambles" after Liverpool's controversial penalty against Crystal Palace.

    Referee Kevin Friend was advised to go to the monitor and overturn his decision not to award a foul on Diogo Jota by Palace keeper Vicente Guaita.

    VAR has come under increased scrutiny recently after the pattern of referees heading to the monitor and subsequently changing their decision, a situation Richards says is untenable.

    "We've seen VAR used well but the standard in the Premier League is just not good enough," he said on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club.

    "I've always tried to be protective of players and referees, but that was one of the worst decisions this season.

    "When you slow something down, it becomes a completely different incident.

    "It's a shambles at the moment."

    Has VAR got worse? Let us know what you think by following your club link over here

    Listen to full discussion on Premier League refereeing from 32'47 on BBC Sounds

  2. Your thoughts on Everton's transfer windowpublished at 18:13 24 January

    David Moyes, Duncan Ferguson and Graham PotterImage source, Getty Images

    There's one week to go until the transfer window closes and we've been asking for your thoughts on Everton so far - who should the club buy, sell or keep? We've also been asking who you want to see as the next manager.

    Here are some of your views so far:

    Andy: Everton must get David Moyes back. He was astute and thorough with every recruit he made at Everton (think Cahill, Jagielka, Coleman). He never had money at Everton in 11 years. He has unfinished business. He only left because a legendary manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) handpicked him. He had to go. He has unfinished business and knows the club better than anyone.

    Martyn: Graham Potter should be offered the Everton job and every effort should be made to appoint him.

    Phil: Duncan Ferguson should be appointed full-time as manager. He is the person we need now and will turn the club around. I've been an Everton fan for 60 years.

    Do you want to see some movement before the window closes? Have your say here

  3. Everton 'have to turn the page very quickly'published at 14:04 24 January

    Asmir BegovicImage source, Getty Images

    Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic says the players need "to get back to basics" if they are escape relegation trouble this season.

    Defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday left Everton four points above the relegation zone and Begovic admits they are "absolutely" in a scrap to stay up.

    "We have to now regroup," he told the BBC World Service's Sportsworld programme. "It's always difficult when you lose a manager, but we have to turn the page very quickly.

    "When you play for Everton it comes with a certain level of expectation and responsibility.

    "We had a decent start to the season, but things have got tougher and we have to get back to basics."

    Begovic also said caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson's methods are already having an impact at Goodison Park.

    "He's a very passionate man and his message is to represent the club in the best possible way," he said.

    "He bleeds the club - he bleeds blue."

    Let us know what you think Everton need to do to arrest the slump in form

  4. Same old problems for Toffeespublished at 10:00 24 January

    Phil Munns, BBC Radio Merseyside

    There was renewed belief and optimism going into this one from an Everton perspective, but the energetic atmosphere in the stands was calmed by an organised and determined Aston Villa.

    There were the same old problems for the Blues. A set-piece once again was the undoing of this Everton side, who have now conceded the first goal for 10 consecutive matches. Emi Buendia, one of the smaller players on the pitch, did well to guide a looping header into the far corner. Everton fans will be even more aggrieved that it was provided by a corner from Lucas Digne on his return after a controversial exit from the club this month.

    Everton will argue they deserved a draw but, truth be told, they were sloppy in possession and struggled to create clear enough opportunities. That said, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray both had chances where they could have done better.

    A two-week break is much needed now, but whether or not Duncan Ferguson will get the chance to manage the team into a crucial FA Cup tie against Brentford remains to be seen.

  5. Everton 0-1 Aston Villa: Pick of the statspublished at 08:31 24 January

    Lucas Digne and Dominic Calvert-LewinImage source, Getty Images
    • Everton have now failed to score in each of their past three Premier League games against Aston Villa (D1 L2), their longest such run since a five-game stretch between August 1998 and November 2000 (D2 L3).

    • The Toffees have recorded 19 points from their first 20 Premier League games this season, their lowest total at this stage since 1997-98 (17), a season they finished 17th – their joint-lowest ever Premier League finish.

    • Villa’s 1-0 win means they have beaten Everton home and away in a Premier League season for the first time since 2000-01 under John Gregory.

    • Lucas Digne became the first player to assist a Premier League goal at Goodison Park against Everton having previously played for them in the competition - since Nikica Jelavic for Hull in December 2014.

    • Since the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season, only Manchester City’s Ederson (31) and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy (24) have kept more clean sheets among goalkeepers in the competition than Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez (21).

  6. 'Everton are in crisis and now in the relegation fight'published at 07:36 24 January

    Duncan FergusonImage source, Getty Images

     Phil McNulty, BBC Sport

    Everton are in crisis and now in the relegation fight. Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson was expected to give the club a bounce but this was more like a flatline.

    A drab first half was followed by a better second half, but Everton’s lack of guile and creativity was alarming as their sole ploy appeared to bombard Aston Villa with high balls and hope for the best.

    Everton urgently need a lift from somewhere. They have no manager, no director of football and a squad that currently looks mix and match and unfit for purpose, with no sign of recent signings Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson on Saturday.

    The fans made their displeasure clear as Everton now face a run of games that will be vital, starting with an FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Brentford and then a visit to Newcastle United that can now be labelled as a relegation battle.

  7. Everton 0-1 Aston Villa - Ferguson reactionpublished at 15:48 22 January

    Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson on Match of the Day: "We are really disappointed with the result, the first half we didn't quite turn up. The second half we gave everything but couldn't quite stick one in the net."

    On fans still protesting inside the stadium: "It is not nice the fans reacting like that.

    "There was nothing in the game really, second half we were much better and should have stuck one of the chances in."

    On a bottle being thrown at Villa players: "I never saw it but you cannot condone that, that is wrong, they should not be doing that."

    On his side's performance: "The training has been brilliant, they have really put a shift in and they put in a shift today. I am really pleased with them, apart from the result. We have got to get it right now, we are starting to slip down there so need to get a result very soon."

  8. Everton 0-1 Aston Villa - Ferguson reactionpublished at 15:47 22 January

    Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson to BBC Sport: "We are really dissapointed with the result, the first half we didn't quite turn up. The second half we gave everything but couldn't quite stick one in the net."

    On fans still protesting inside the stadium: "It is not nice the fans reacting like that."

    "There was nothing in the game really, second half we were much better and should have stuck one of the chances in."

    On a bottle being thrown at Villa players: "I never saw it but you cannot condone that, that is wrong, they should not be doing that."

    On his side's performance: "The training has been brilliant, they have really put a shift in and they put in a shift today. I am really pleased with them, apart from the result. We have got to get it right now, we are starting to slip down there so need to get a result very soon."

  9. Follow Everton v Aston Villa livepublished at 11:48 22 January

    Everton v Aston Villa Image source, BBC Sport

    We're bringing you live text commentary of Everton v Aston Villa, plus the rest of Saturday's Premier League fixtures.

    Follow all the action here

    You'll be able to catch up with all the post-match reaction on this page after full-time.

  10. Everton v Aston Villa - confirmed team newspublished at 11:45 22 January

    Everton XIImage source, BBC Sport

    Duncan Ferguson makes five changes to the Everton side that was beaten at Norwich last weekend for his first game back in caretaker charge.

    Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Holgate, Richarlison, Yerry Mina and Andros Townsend all return to the side.

    Allan, Michael Keane and Seamus Coleman are among the substitutes. There is no place in the squad for January signings Vitaly Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson.

    Everton XI: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Mina, Godfrey, Doucoure, Gomes, Townsend Gray, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.

    Subs: Begovic, Keane, Allan, Coleman, Gordon, Gbamin, Rondon, Dobbin, Onyangho.

    Aston Villa XIImage source, BBC Sport

    Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard makes two changes from last weekend's draw against Manchester United, with Philippe Coutinho making his first start for the club after scoring off the bench last weekend.

    John McGinn also returns with Danny Ings and Morgan Sanson dropping to the bench. France full-back Lucas Digne starts against his former club.

    Aston Villa XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey Buendia, Coutinho, Watkins.

    Subs: Olsen, Targett, Sanson, Young, Ings, Hayden, Hause, Chukwuemeka, Iroegbunam.

  11. Big Dunc bounce could be key for Evertonpublished at 18:45 21 January

    Phil Munns, BBC Radio Merseyside

    Here we go again. Everton, searching for their sixth permanent manager under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri, turn to a club legend to help them through yet another turbulent time.

    While the Blues currently sit six points above the Premier League relegation zone, the club’s dismal run under the now departed Rafael Benitez has left many fans fearing a fight against the drop. Six points from their last 39 available is certainly relegation form.

    But Big Dunc delivered in style the last time he took on the role of caretaker boss in 2019 following Marco Silva’s sacking. His passion from sidelines galvanised Everton's players and fans alike to deliver a rousing 3-1 win against Chelsea. Who can forget the celebratory scenes of ball boys being thrust into the air by the Scot?

    He went on to secure draws against Manchester United and Arsenal. Just his presence seemed to unite Everton, who will be needing more of the same given the unrest among supporters brought by the Benitez reign, as Aston Villa come to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime.

    Expect a ‘back-to-basics’ approach with blood, sweat and tears. Ferguson admitted pre-match that he’s had to tell some of the players a few “home truths” as he attempts to rouse his squad. Add to that the possible immediate return of Lucas Digne and one of Dunc’s old foes, Steven Gerrard, we should be in for a fiery contest.

  12. Lawro's predictions: Everton v Aston Villapublished at 18:00 21 January

    Mark Lawrenson takes on singer and Chelsea fan Call Me Loop in the latest round of Premier League predictions.

    Mark Lawrenson banner

    Lawro's prediction: 2-1

    I usually expect the atmosphere at Saturday lunchtime kick-offs to be flat, but not this one.

    Instead it could almost feel gladiatorial with Duncan Ferguson in the Everton dugout after they sacked Rafael Benitez, and we know from his previous stint as their caretaker boss that he won't tolerate any slacking.

    The whole mood at Goodison Park will be different now Benitez has gone, and the fact Villa boss Steven Gerrard is on the touchline too will ratchet it up another notch or two as well.

    Villa are in good shape at the moment, as they showed with their fightback against Manchester United last weekend, and their new signing Philippe Coutinho will be fitter and sharper after getting another week's training under his belt too.

    But I am expecting an improved performance from Everton. You tend to get that anyway whenever a team changes manager, but I think it is especially the case with Big Dunc in charge.

    Call Me Loop's prediction: I know all the Everton fans will be absolutely desperate to beat Gerrard, but it's not going to happen - especially now Villa have got Coutinho. 1-3

    Find out how Lawro and Call Me Loop think the rest of the weekend's fixtures will go

  13. Ferguson focused on 'steadying the ship'published at 17:30 21 January

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