The latest instalment in our new ‘Shouting the Odds’ feature sees news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant joined by Josh Powell and Chris Lee, who argue the cases for Aston Villa and Newcastle respectively.
CB: Right then, chaps. Villa against Newcastle – which way is this one going?
JP: I’m going to stick my neck right out here and say Aston Villa look far too strong for Newcastle despite both of these teams still being unbeaten. Although they’ve drawn three of their first four matches this season, odds of 9/10 for Villa appeal as they should have the firepower to beat a Newcastle side that hasn’t won at Villa Park since February 2006.
CL: Newcastle are priced at 3-1 to nick a victory and I’m quietly confident. It will be a very tight game and if Fabricio Coloccini can handle the movement of Darren Bent, then scoring chances could be restricted for the home side. There is pace on the counter for Newcastle and Alan Pardew will see this as the best way to grab a winner. They will play it defensively with perhaps two holding midfielders and I don’t see Villa having enough creativity to break down the sturdy Magpies back four.
CB: So who will you be backing in particular to get on the scoresheet?
JP: It’s got to be Gabby Agbonlahor for me. He’s started the season sharply with two goals in four games, including an important equaliser last week which will fill him with confidence as well. Odds of 6/1 on him to score first are too good to ignore. Emile Heskey has a hamstring injury so Agbonlahor may be moved centrally alongside Bent and should have plenty of opportunities to find the net.
CL: Admittedly the Magpies are struggling to score this season, with only three in the league so far. However, if you’re going to put your money anywhere in this type of market, stick it on Leon Best to get the first goal at 8-1. I actually don’t rate him that highly overall, but his finishing ability is to be admired and he has something like 11 goals in his last 19 appearances.
CB: I think goals may be at a premium in this one, so a first goal could prove telling…
JP: Agreed – I can’t see this being a high-scoring affair either. Three out of four of Newcastle’s games have had less than 2.5 goals, as have two of Villa’s. Between them they have played out four 0-0s and it’s only mid-September! I’ll be taking the 4/5 on under 2.5 goals.
CL: I think Pardew will be drilling into his team just how important an opening goal is. If Newcastle get it, the Villa fans could get on the back of Alex McLeish. I fancy the Magpies to score the first goal in the first half at 5/2.
JP: Hang on, let’s not forget that Newcastle have only scored one goal on the road so far. I expect Richard Dunne, Shay Given and company to deal with everything that’s thrown at them in this one. Odds of 11/5 on Villa to win with a clean sheet at bwin.com are great value as they are strong, compact and organised at the back and Newcastle lack the creativity or quality to cut them open.
CB: Any final suggestions you’d like to put forward?
CL: I’ll be having a look at the 37/20 on Newcastle to score more than Villa in the second half. I reckon the Magpies will take an early lead, soak up the pressure for an hour and then strike on the counter to hush the Holte End.
JP: No chance! The last two times these teams met at Villa Park, Villa won 1-0 and I’d back it becoming three in a row. At odds of 25/4 I can’t see any better value elsewhere.
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