Having ended 2011 with excellent results, both Aston Villa and Swansea will be aiming to start the New Year in a similarly positive fashion.
Villa’s 3-1 win at Chelsea on Saturday may have been called an “unfair result” by Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas, but Alex McLeish’s side were organised and ruthless and they will be hoping to maintain that clinical edge for today’s visit of a Swansea team buoyed by their late 1-1 draw with Tottenham.
A home win is priced at 4/5 while the draw is available at 23/10 and Swansea are rated at 15/4 to notch their first away win of the season.
However, my money is being invested in the number of goals scored, with less than 2.5 in the match on offer at a tempting 7/10.
Only one of the Swans’ last nine matches has had more than 2.5 goals scored in it.
Swansea play an attractive brand of football, with a recent statistic showing they have the sixth highest pass completion rate in Europe.
What they lack though, is a cutting edge up front. They have seriously struggled for goals this season, and during their nine winless matches away from the Liberty Stadium they have found the net just six times.
Meanwhile, only one of their last nine matches has had more than 2.5 goals scored in it.
Villa, meantime, are not exactly prolific at home having managed just eleven goals in their nine matches there.
So while the price of 7/10 on under 2.5 goals in the match may not appear a huge one, it actually offers some decent value for those intent on making a serious investment.
If you are looking for slightly bigger odds, then consider the 33/20 offered on a goal-less first half.
The statistics above show that these two sides do not tend to score many goals, and even less so if we look at just the first half.
Villa have failed to score in opening 45 minutes in their last three home games, while Swansea have managed just one first half goal in their previous four away matches.
Taking into account everything that has been mentioned, another first half stalemate looks likely this afternoon.
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