Aston Villa have not won a league game without Christian Benteke’s help since the Belgian striker arrived at the club just over a year ago and with their talisman out of action for the visit of in-form Manchester City that hoodoo is unlikely to be broken.
Paul Lambert’s side are priced up accordingly at 6/1 to halt a run of three home league losses with a win against City, who are 12/25 to take all three points from this encounter and the draw is 3/1.
Although Manuel Pellegrini has not yet seen his team win domestically on the road since taking over at the Etihad during the summer there have been few places more welcoming than Villa Park for opposing managers in recent times.
Lambert’s charges were the only team in the Premier League to gain more points away from home than at their own ground when finishing in 15th place last season.
Villa’s win over League One Rochdale in the Capital One Cup second round is the only game out of four they have hosted so far this term that has not ended in defeat, with Benteke’s goal in the 2-1 reverse at home to Newcastle all the Villa Park faithful have had to cheer about during those losses.
Adding in the omission through injury of Benteke, who has scored four of his side’s six goals in the league, definitively points to a City win to nil at 6/4.
This is a cracking value bet, especially considering City managed to hold Villa at bay with their star striker on fire in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Benteke had scored six goals in his previous six appearances before these teams last met, but a Sergio Aguero goal was enough to snatch maximum points and the 2011/12 champions are taken to repeat the trick and continue their recent meanness at the back.
Wayne Rooney’s majestic consolation free-kick in City’s 4-1 thrashing of rivals United is the only time the blue half of Manchester’s net has been rippled in 450 minutes of football.
Pellegrini’s men also top the Premier League scoring charts with 12 strikes and their leading goal-getter in all competitions Yaya Toure is good value at 2/1 to add to his tally of five for the season.