I must admit, I’d shed few tears if Aston Villa did end up going down. For me, they’re just “Average” Villa, and this season they’re not even that.
I don’t even buy into the idea that Paul Lambert is presiding over a talented bunch of youngsters. I think Randy Lerner is trying to do things on the cheap, and it’s no wonder bwin have the Villans as 3/5 second favourites to be playing Championship football next season.
The statistics don’t look too clever. They’re without a win in eight league fixtures and have won the least amount of games in the division.
They also have the worst defensive record and second least effective attack, so it’s little surprise they’re second bottom – two points from safety – and if they are to extend their lengthy stay in the top flight, they’re going to have to start picking up points soon.
And yet for all his woes, one trump card Lambert does hold is Christian Benteke.
The big Belgian deserves the credit he’s been receiving as scoring ten league goals in such a poor side is no mean feat. God knows where they’d be without him.
Last week against Everton, Benteke led the line brilliantly, scoring two and causing endless issues in the air and on the deck. When margins are so tight, goals can make a difference.
And that’s how I see Sunday’s game between Villa and West Ham being – tight.
Sam Allardyce has ripped up the Hammers “Academy of Football” manual and made them about as watchable as an episode of Loose Women.
Clashes between two sides lacking quality and struggling for form are never pretty, and this won’t be either.
bwin’s 3Way football betting market has the Villa as surprisingly short 6/4 favourites, with West Ham 7/4 and the draw 9/4, yet I see the lengthiest of those prices as the most likely and as such, I’m going to have a punt on a stalemate.
Villa are the second lowest scorers at home this season with just nine goals plundered at Villa Park in 12 outings, while West Ham’s dirty dozen on the road have produced just seven strikes – the lowest in the league.
Given what’s at stake, I can’t see either side drastically improving on those records and certainly the 1-1 draw at 5/1 looks a good place to start.
Villa were impressive enough at Everton last time out, but they also looked the part on Merseyside against Liverpool before getting drummed by Chelsea and Tottenham.
West Ham too have only won one of their last seven in all competitions and are without a win on the road in eight games – scoring just three in that sequence.
Ultimately, it could come down to who’s the least worst of the two on the day.
If either are going to win, then it is likely to be by a one-goal margin – you can back that eventuality at 5/4 – but I’m at a loss as to who that might be.
The visitors’ dire away form and comfort in mid-table might just allow Villa to slip in and certainly if you are going to commit one way or another, do it with under 3.5 goals in the game at 23/10 for Villa or 13/5 for West Ham.
But I’m going to sit on the fence and I still feel my opening gambit of the 1-1 makes sense and at a great price too.
Going a step further, Benteke to notch first in that result is a massive 25/1, with the Belgian 7/4 to score any time and 19/2 to get two or more.
New customers registering with bwin are entitled to a free £20 bet, and banging that on the 1-1 draw could earn you £120.
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