ASTON VILLA vs CHELSEA
TOMORROW 12.45PM, SKY SPORTS 1
IF I had said at the start of the season that come mid-October both Chelsea and Aston Villa would have lost to Wigan, I would have been laughed out of town. However, the Blues dropped their first points of the season at the DW Stadium a couple of weeks ago, whilst Villa were soundly beaten 2-0 by the Latics on the opening day.
As is par for the course in England, the panic buttons are pressed as soon as one result goes awry and Chelsea firmly answered their detractors with a comfortable 2-0 win against Liverpool a fortnight ago. Nevertheless, Carlo Ancelotti will be determined to see his side get back to winning ways on the road against a Villa outfit who don’t seem quite as strong as last season.
To be fair to Martin O’Neill’s side, they have taken four points from their games against Liverpool and Man City, but the Irishman will be disappointed that they’ve lost against Blackburn and Wigan. Since O’Neill has been in the west Midlands, Villa have won at both the Emirates and Anfield, but have tasted victory in just one of 12 against Big Four sides at home, losing six and failing to score in seven – including three of the last four.
Chelsea ended their Villa Park hoodoo last season with a 1-0 win – they hadn’t won there in the league since 1999. Prior to their defeat at Wigan, they had won 11 consecutive Premier League games and their record away at non-Big Four, current top-eight sides since 2006/07 is W10-D2-L0. The key part of their success on the road against these types of sides has been their defensive stinginess – keeping clean sheets in nine of those 12 games.
Ancelotti’s side have not been bad going forward this season either and have scored two goals or more in seven of their eight games. That said, there have only been five goals in the last five contests between these two at Villa Park and all four of Villa’s home games this season have produced less than three. Sporting Index offer a total goals spread of 2.6-2.8 and there appears little downside in selling that figure.
Chelsea to win at 10/11 on Betdaq
Chelsea to win 2-0 at 8/1 on Betdaq
Sell total match goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index
BLACKBURN vs BURNLEY
SUNDAY 1PM, SKY SPORTS 1
BURNLEY’S return to the top flight has been somewhat dramatic having won all four home games and lost all four away. Boylesports are now a best-priced 15/8 for the Clarets to be relegated and Owen Coyle’s strategy is obviously to focus on the contests he feels his side can win. They have had a tough opening four matches on the road, but this is probably their best chance of picking up a point and they will definitely want to put one over their local rivals.
These two haven’t faced each other in the league since 2001 in the Championship when Rovers dished out a 5-0 drubbing at Ewood Park. Sam Allardyce has brought some much needed stability to Blackburn after they looked doomed at one point last season. Their home form has been particularly strong and since 2005, they are unbeaten in 15 home games at Ewood against promoted teams, winning an impressive 73% (11/15). It also speaks wonders for Big Sam that only Man City and Aston Villa have won here in the 15 league games since he took over.
It has been the manner of Burnley’s defeats on the road this season which concern me most, losing all four to nil and by the half-time / full-time result. The local derby may stir the passion we’ve seen at Turf Moor, but it’s also a worry that, since 2006/07, play-off winners have lost 12 of 21 games at 11th-17th placed sides and only two have been won.
An interesting market for spread bettors could be Sporting Index’s bookings market. Games involving Burnley have had an average make up of 23.75 this season and they average just over one yellow card per game. The quote is 44-48 because it is a derby game, but that looks a little too high to me.
Blackburn to win at 4/5 on Betdaq
Buy Blackburn supremacy at 0.8 with Sporting Index
WIGAN vs MANCHESTER CITY
SUNDAY 4PM, SKY SPORTS 1
ALTHOUGH Wigan have beaten Villa away and Chelsea at home already this season, they have lost disappointing games against the likes of Wolves and Hull. Roberto Martinez is obviously a highly talented manager, but his side have been inconsistent and they will have to be at their best to get anything from this game.
The Latics have generally struggled against the better teams since they were promoted and they have lost 17 and won just four of 25 home games against current top-six sides. Before the Chelsea victory they had gained only two points from eight such games since 2008, losing four of those by the half-time / full-time margin.
One concern for City backers is that in four Premier League encounters between the two sides at the DW Stadium, the Latics have won three and the other was a draw. However, Mark Hughes’ side are much improved this season, including on their travels, and they have now won three and drawn one from their last five away games at non-Big Four sides since April.
City look a decent bet to notch their sixth win of the season at 8/11 with Boylesports, but even better value may lie in the 9/5 with Hills about the half-time / full-time away win. They have won eight of their last nine away victories since April 2007 by that margin.
Man City to win at 8/11 with Boylesports
Man City HT / FT at 9/5 with Hills