CB: So will Villa maintain their unbeaten start to the season when Wigan arrive in the West Midlands?
DW: Well, I think it’s safe to say that this won’t be the first pick on the highlights show on Saturday night. While Villa are unbeaten this season, they also haven’t won much either, just once in fact. However, I think they might just have enough to defeat a Wigan team that is short of goals, and isn’t watertight at the back either. Villa probably won’t test that Wigan rearguard much, but should breach it at least once to seal a home win that’s at 3/5.
RM: Wigan are a mightily inconsistent side currently on a wretched run of form, losing their last three games at an aggregate score of 8-2. But it’s when decent performances are least expected that Martinez’s side turn on the style and odds of 9/2 about the away win are appetisingly long. Villa have won the same number of league games (one) but while Alex McLeish has made them hard to beat their performances have generally underwhelmed. The natives are restless and home ‘advantage’ may prove more of a burden if things don’t go to plan for the Villans early on.
CB: You both suggest that there might not be too many goals in this one, so what markets should punters look at in relation to scorelines?
DW: McLeish’s tactical plan won’t have anyone confusing Villa with Barcelona, as they shut the game down once they take a lead. It almost paid off last Sunday, as they were a minute away from a 1-0 win against QPR. They really should have won, with only an own goal denying them, and I think they won’t be as unlucky this time. I can’t see where any Wigan goals would come from, and a 1-0 win for Villa can be had at 23/4.
RM: With Wigan generally unfancied in the betting there are some storming prices available on any markets favouring Latics success. If Villa go behind and are forced to chase a goal, they may leave themselves open to a killer blow at the other end. In that instance Wigan would cover a one-goal handicap so at 29/2 it’s surely worth a punt. For those of a more cautious nature, Wigan to stay ahead of the Villans with a +1 advantage represents stonking value at 27/20. So even if Wigan did find themselves unable to break Villa’s run of four consecutive stalemates, bettors would still be in the money.
CB: So in a game of so few goals, there must be value to be had elsewhere along the same theme?
DW: Well, Wigan were one of the lowest scorers last season, and it’s looking like they may be one of the leaders of that group again. Hugo Rodellaga is injured for the next few weeks, and while Franco Di Santo has scored three goals so far, they’ve all been deflected efforts. He didn’t look like adding to that last week either. While Villa have a number of faults, the defence isn’t one of them, and I think they can keep Wigan at bay fairly easily. A few pounds on Wigan to not trouble the scorekeepers at 23/20 is likely to be well rewarded.
RM: McLeish’s time on the blue side of Birmingham was marked by solid defensive foundations and the early signs are that his Villa outfit will be of the same ilk. The goals have been far from free-flowing in the Villans’ games so far this season. Their one victory against a poor Blackburn side apart, they have scored only four times and conceded the same number in five league games. Their style of play makes it highly likely Villa Park will witness another tight encounter on Saturday. And there are some cracking prices available on Wigan edging victory. They are 7/1 to win to nil but even better is the 19/2 about them winning in a game featuring less than 2.5 goals. Another appealing longshot is the 13/1 on a 1-0 victory for the Lancashire club.
CB: One goal might do it either way, then, Who should we be looking at to pinch it?
DW: While Darren Bent is normally the main man for Villa, the team just aren’t creating chances for him. Therefore, it’s more likely that we’ll see a Villa goal come from a counter attack, and I like Gabby Agbonlahor’s pace to be the difference in the match. I can’t see any Wigan player who can stay with him, and he is also on a nice run of form, scoring three league goals so far. He can be backed at 7/5 to score at any time, though I wouldn’t advise against a wager on James Collins notching instead. The Latics haven’t looked impressive defending set pieces, conceding last week against Tottenham, and the big centre back can take advantage. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off backing him to find the back of the net at odds of 5/1.
RM: One of Wigan’s major problems is their inability to put the ball in the back of the net with sufficient regularity. However, this can be an advantage to cunning punters, as the goals they do score are less widely distributed among their squad and therefore scorers are more easy to predict. Franco di Santo has looked the business for the Latics thus far, netting a trio of impressive strikes in the opening few games. At 8/1 he represents tasty value for a first goalscorer bet and could also be considered at 2/1 to get on the scoresheet any time during the match. Punters looking for an outside bet might think about the 40/1 offered on Maynor Figueroa. The left-back is due a goal and has the ability to hit one from distance. He may have gone 39 games without scoring but the fact that he is 33/1 elsewhere should be an indication that the odds being offered here are generous.
CB: Interesting stuff. Any final tips before I let you go?
DW: It won’t be entertaining, but once Villa get in front, they will just see out the match instead of seeking the insurance of a second goal. If that goal is scored in the first half, it’s pretty likely that we’ll see a scarcity of goalmouth action after the break. No goals for either team in the second half can be backed at 11/4.
CB: Brilliant, thanks for your time guys.
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