Tagged: Aston Villa

2014-15 Premier League betting tips: Gameweek 3

Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Here are some Premier League betting tips for Gameweek 3.

While these tips are based on tactical, psychological and statistical analysis, the Premier League can be damn near impossible to predict at times.

As such, they could all be wrong.

Or they could all be right.

Or some of them could be right.

Aston Villa v Hull City – Draw @ 9/4 (or 0-0 @ 6/1)

Aston Villa are favourites for this game at Villa Park, but this one has draw written all over it.

Even Paul Lambert and Steve Bruce would probably be surprised if either walked away with a win.

Going for 0-0 would be a good shout for a number of reasons. Looking back at the stats, Hull have failed to score in eight of their last nine matches against Villa.

On top of that, the understanding between Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos is improving every match, and crucially both are in top form.

They both close down the space well, can read an opponent’s run and most importantly, they can read each other’s play as well.

Especially after losing Shane Long, who – despite his lack of good finishing ability (reflected in his goal tally) – is great at dragging defenders out of position to create space for teammates, Hull don’t have the imaginative kind of striker or midfielder who could trouble such a solid partnership as Vlaar and Senderos.

As for Aston Villa, they simply don’t have the firepower, especially with Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak still injured. Much more on that is outlined here.

Both will be fatigued and lower on confidence after their midweek losses in the League Cup and Europa League respectively (Hull’s being on aggregate of course).

And at home Villa have a big problem tactically which manager Paul Lambert still hasn’t sorted.

He’s worked hard on making sure his team keep their shape, have runners in midfield who can slot into defence to provide cover (Kieran Richardson is the one who doing it most this season), and are ready to pounce on the counter-attack.

However, teams drop off and let Villa play when they’re at home, knowing that Villa don’t have a good rhythm when they have time and space on the ball.

Lambert has yet to get his team playing better with long spells in possession.

Again, this one has draw – and quite probably 0-0 – written all over it.

Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar - or 'Big Gay Ron' - has been immense this season. Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar – or ‘Big Gay Ron’ – has been immense this season. Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Everton v Chelsea – Draw @ 12/5

Chelsea are the favourites here by a fair distance, but Everton have won the past four out of five between the two sides at Goodison Park.

That doesn’t make them favourites however. They may have two strikers who used to play for the Blues – Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o – who no doubt will be more fired up than ever, but this Chelsea team will be the best they’ve played in a long time.

Roberto Martinez’s men were brilliant in the first half against Arsenal when facing Alexis Sanchez up-front.

But in that first-half, Sanchez couldn’t adapt to being a centre forward, and often looked for the ball on the wing, leaving nobody in the middle. That meant no focal point.

Arsene Wenger then makes a masterstroke sub at half-time, bringing on Olivier Giroud for Sanchez.

Suddenly the Gunners have direction in attack, and a focus in how they go forward. As a result, the Everton defence is tested more and eventually cracks.

Against Chelsea, Everton’s defence will be tested much more than last weekend with a direct striker like Diego Costa, or even Didier Drogba.

The weak point for Martinez’s men is their difficulty dealing with direct strikers who are supported with great service in midfield.

Hence Chris Wood got on the scoresheet for Leicester against the Toffees on the opening day.

Chelsea have the striker in Costa, and the midfielder in Cesc Fabregas (and of course the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, etc).

But, it will play on Chelsea and Mourinho’s mind that they lost the last game at Goodison, and that they haven’t done well there over the years.

On top of that, Everton have quality through the pitch themselves, which will leave the Blues vulnerable at times (as evidenced against Leicester last weekend).

The likes of James McCarthy, Gareth Barry, Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman seem more comfortable in their play at Goodison – regardless of opposition – and that will help Everton stick to the manager’s tactics.

A draw with both teams scoring seems the most likely outcome here.

Tottenham v Liverpool – Home win @ 8/5

Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders at White Hart Lane this season.

When Tottenham beat AEL Limassol 3-0 on Thursday night, the commentator on ITV4 was spot on. “Liverpool can’t come soon enough for Spurs”, he said.

The feel-good factor around the club is highly visible, even from the outside. It is only two games into the season, but the fact that Tottenham sit top of the Premier League is significant.

Pochettino has established a solid core to his team and has blended strong defensive football with attacking flair beautifully.

The likes of Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have been reinvigorated by Pochettino’s arrival, while overall the team is finally starting to gel with the understanding between them much better than last season.

However, the picture is rather different at Liverpool. The defence still needs sorting (much more explained here) tactically, and confidence is fairly low after a lacklustre win over Southampton, and a crushing defeat at Manchester City.

And going forward, Brendan Rodgers still seems to be working out the best way for his team to attack without Luis Suarez, part of the reason why Daniel Sturridge hasn’t been in the same form as last season.

There seems to be a bit of transition at Liverpool after losing Suarez and adding a lot of numbers to the squad for the Champions League.

However, Spurs have hit the ground running and don’t look like stopping soon. A home win and a clean sheet for Tottenham appears most probable.

Sergio Aguero to score two or more @ 5/2 (or three or more @ 9/1)

Sergio Aguero has three goals in his three games in the Premier League at home to Stoke City.

He’s approaching full fitness and is providing early indications – with the ease at which he scores, the cleverness of his forward runs, the spaces he can create for himself, the list is endless – that he is in the form of his life.

Stevan Jovetic may also be in stellar form, but there’s no doubt Manchester City look first to Aguero for goals.

Tactically, Stoke’s defence and midfield simply aren’t good enough to stop a player like Aguero, especially at the Etihad.

Two goals is a safe bet for Aguero, but it could well be quids in with an Aguero hat-trick.

Manchester United and both teams to score @ 13/5

This one doesn’t need a great deal of analysis and is quite obvious, but with odds of 13/5 seems worth a punt.

Angel di Maria is in line to make his Manchester United debut, and besides the obvious improvement he will clearly give the team, his signing could well have the ‘Mesut Ozil effect’ seen at Arsenal.

Also, United have greater belief in themselves away from Old Trafford, and will seek a response from last week’s disappointing draw at Sunderland (the 4-0 MK Dons defeat compromised virtually none of those who will start this season, besides David de Gea).

Burnley did beat United 1-0 at Turf Moor at the start of the 2009/10 Premier League season, and while the teams are markedly different today, that will still give the Clarets confidence.

Combine that with a defence still struggling with their roles in the 3-5-2, and it does seem clear United will concede.

But overall, with the ‘di Maria’ effect, as bad as they’ve been it’s really hard not to see United win this one.

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Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle United: Both sides need quality up top

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  • Aston Villa had no shots on target against Newcastle United
  • Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann between them scored two fewer goals than Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak last season – in more than double the matches

  • Newcastle have a lot of strikers, but need a new one

When Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent and Emmanuel Riviere saw Siem de Jong have the game’s best chance on 88 minutes, they surely knew their time would soon be up.

As Aston Villa and Newcastle United played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw – that both Paul Lambert and Alan Pardew will secretly be quite happy with – the lack of attacking quality was striking.

That Villa had no shots on target from nine attempted, as well as the fact that Agbonlahor only had two of those shots and Darren Bent none, proves the Villans’ need for better strikers.

Thankfully for Villa manager Paul Lambert, Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak will soon be able to come in off the sidelines.

Kozak only scored four Premier League goals last season from 14 games, but that’s no worse than Agbonlahor who managed the same figure last term from 30 games.

And Benteke’s ‘disappointing’ campaign in 2013-14 saw him hit 10 goals from 26 league matches, well below his standard from the season before.

However, that’s still more than Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann – who operated in a more central forward role at times last season – combined, with the duo managing just nine between them in the top-flight.

As for Darren Bent, he managed just three in 24 games on-loan Fulham last season.

His haul last season took the collective total from him, Agbonlahor and Weimann to 12 goals in 91 matches in the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.

In comparison, Benteke and Kozak managed 14 goals in 40 matches.

If Paul Lambert is to stop disgruntled season-ticket holders in the Holte End calling for him to be sacked, he’ll need his Belgian and Czech duo to come back ASAP.

As for Newcastle United, while they threatened more than Villa with four shots on target from 11 in total, only one of these came from a striker.

Emmanuel Riviere didn’t have a bad game, but his tame shot on target in the first half was no threat for Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan yet was the most effective thing he did all match.

And the fact that was Newcastle’s only shot on target from a forward player shows the lack of quality up top for the Toon.

Siem de Jong’s chance late on provided Alan Pardew’s men with the quality in the final third they were lacking throughout the game, but considering de Jong is more of an attacking midfielder than a striker, the exigency for a proven goalscorer is apparent.

Of course, Newcastle already have a big squad full of forwards, and Facundo Ferreyra could be the man they need after he netted twice for the U21s on Monday.

But the Argentine only showed flashes of brilliance for Shakhtar Donetsk last season with six goals and two assists in 22 games.

And beyond Riviere and Ferreyra, there’s few other strikers Alan Pardew can look to for a goal.

Ayoze Perez clearly needs to adapt to the rhythm of English football and the Premier League before he can start firing on all cylinders, while Papiss Cisse still has a lengthy spell to go on the sidelines, and in any case has suffered a Fernando Torres-esque loss of ability.

However, Newcastle’s situation up-front begs the question as to who’s actually out there on the market to solve their goal crisis.

Danny Welbeck? Javier Hernandez? Louis van Gaal is certainly going to dump one striker from his Manchester United squad before the window ends.

Or Jordan Rhodes? The Blackburn Rovers striker has been a prolific marksman in the Football League for years, and has scored 94 goals from 143 games in the past three seasons.

Either way, Newcastle are in desperate need for a new forward. They may only be two games into the new season, but zero goals from a home match and a winnable away fixture is a problem that needs rectifying – before the end of the transfer window.