iBet: Back Liverpool To Cover The Handicap Against Ailing Villa
Liverpool V Aston Villa, Sat, Kick off 5.30pm (Sky Sports 1)
Back Liverpool -1 on the handicap at 8/13 with Stan James
How Aston Villa are mid-table has me flummoxed to be honest. To me they are consistently looking like one of the four weakest teams in the division yet if the table doesn’t lie, there are nine teams worse. This I think is one of those occasions when the table does lie.
Swansea, who are below Villa and two points worse off, look a far superior side that is struggling to cope with European and domestic commitments, just as Newcastle did last season. I went to the Swansea game at Villa Park and although the home team took the lead, they were very lucky to get a draw out of the game in the end. And it will take much more than the much improved performance in the second half against an Arsenal team that had cruised into a 2-0 lead on Monday to convince me that the worm has turned.
Villa’s problem is that of many lower half teams – a lack of quality and creativity in midfield. They can sometimes get away with this away from home, when they can soak up pressure with a nine man defence and hit teams on the break. But at home they have been abject – scoring fewer goals than anyone in the division (8) and beating only Cardiff and Manchester City (in a complete smash and grab) in 11 attempts.
Only Sunderland have a worse home record, and only just. Villa are of course where they are due to some stand-out away results, not least at The Emirates on opening day. They have also won at Southampton (scoring three from three attempts, and 22 per cent of the possession), at Norwich and vitally at Sunderland recently.
However, the second half of the season has some pretty horrible away fixtures in store and given that they are only six points off the bottom, they look a live runner in the relegation market at the available price of 8/1. The first of those potential horror away days is this weekend, and it’s live on Sky Sports.
Paul Lambert’s men famously won at Anfield last season, with Benteke a complete menace throughout. However, despite getting the monkey off his back with his first goal for ages on Monday night, the Belgian looks out of sorts. And without a firing Benteke, Villa look very ordinary.
Liverpool are full of confidence at home this season with nine wins from 10 league games and should have too much for the Midlanders. Indeed with Luis Suarez seemingly unplayable and Daniel Sturridge also likely to be back from the start, there’s potential there for a cricket if they get ahead early.
Villa could of course score first and that could play into their hands. But I think better betting value lies in Liverpool and Suarez to get the job done with something in hand. Betting comparison site Bet2Go.com has Paddy Power taking a position against both teams to score at 11/10, and with the same firm Liverpool to be winning at half time and full time is 4/6. It’s ½ on that there will be over 2.5 goals and 8/11 that there will be at least four. Perhaps the better bet is to expect Liverpool to cover the handicap – you can back Liverpool giving up a goal start at 8/13 with Stan James and that looks a banker on current form.
One Sunday Ladbrokes are taking a chance in the 4pm kick off between Chelsea and Manchester United by offering a refund on all losing bets up to £25 as a free bet if both teams score. I think it’s best to keep this game simple. Manchester United are a shadow of the team that won the division last season and improving Chelsea’s home record in the Premier league is sensational under Mourinho. Moyes’ men have won only two of their ten games against teams in the top half, and scored only nine goals in those games. Manchester United should be bigger than 4/1 to win at Stamford Bridge in my opinion and I will be laying the away side with Betfair.
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