Unheralded Villa the value call

Aston Villa can secure a vital three points by beating Sunderland tonight, according to Ben Coley.

Last Updated: 29/04/13 at 19:57 Post Comment

Christian Benteke: Crucial to Villa's chances of survival

Christian Benteke: Crucial to Villa's chances of survival

Aston Villa v Sunderland (2000 BST)

I've little doubt that come kick-off on Monday evening, Sunderland will have been well supported to win at Aston Villa.

And why shouldn't they be? After all, this is a side who have won their last two games without conceding and the impact of Paolo Di Canio is crystal clear. It'll be the talk of Monday Night Football and punters will almost certainly buy into the hype.

Those six points taken from games against Newcastle and Everton have taken Sunderland out of the real battle to stay alive - they're now fifth-favourites for the drop - whereas Villa's defeat at Manchester United leaves them firmly up against it.

It's therefore hard to argue against the fact that Sunderland carry the greater momentum into this match, and it's also possible to conclude that they've the greater quality and depth, regardless.

That, at least, is the simple view, which isn't to diminish its credibility.

However, the more I look at the game, the more I think it'll pay to side with a home side whose own exploits haven't perhaps gained the praise they deserve.

Monday's defeat at Old Trafford may not have been ideal, but it was most certainly excusable - and you can find an excuse for each of Villa's defeats this side of January simply by looking at the quality of their opponents.

Paul Lambert's side lost 2-1 to Liverpool, 1-0 to Manchester City and 2-1 to Arsenal. They were odds-on to lose all three games and defeats by one goal represent perfectly reasonable outcomes.

Look at the opposition they've been fancied to compete with, and they've seldom disappointed. They've beaten West Ham, Reading, QPR and Stoke and drawn with both Fulham and, impressively, Everton.

To me that speaks to a squad of players who've rallied round since an embarrassing winter which saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Bradford and thumped at Chelsea.

And it's why I think they're capable of putting an end to Sunderland's purple patch under Di Canio, who has found a happy marriage of passion, glimpses of quality and, all importantly, a bit of luck.

Quotes of 13/10 about a home win strike me as fair but, as detailed earlier, I wouldn't be surprised to see punters latch on to Sunderland close to kick-off which could see Villa drift to as big as 6/4.

So instead, I'll take 19/5 about the hosts conceding but still managing to win. Their last eight wins have seen the opposition score and while the quality of Christian Benteke in particular shouldn't be underestimated, their defence is most certainly questionable.

With that in mind, both teams to score is an obvious policy for those who wish to play safer but the value here looks to be with the side whose own progress over the last three months has rather been overlooked.

Verdict: Aston Villa 3 Sunderland 1

  • This game is being televised live on Sky Sports


    Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


  • Related News

    Most Commented

    Readers' Comments

    N

    ow is the time for Allardyce to finally get a chance at a big club please. He is likely to have a number of great offers for his services this summer, but who will he choose? Will it be Liverpool, Real Madrid, Dortmund or Man City?

    medina_sod
    Allardyce leaves West Ham

    I

    thought exactly this when the Match of the Day pundits were peddling this line. Is it really not okay for fans of a club to have some ambition these days then?

    damoceltic
    Bored Of Big Sam? It's Your Right...

    H

    ow magnanimous off him - to leave if he's asked to by the owners? What's the alternative, bunker down in his office claiming squatter's rights if FSG want rid?

    feed the bear
    Rodgers: I'll go if owners want

    Footer 365

    Jack Warner has been arrested and bailed in Trinidad

    Jack Warner has been arrested and will be released on bail in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the FIFA investigation.

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter welcomes US investigations

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter has issued a statement welcoming investigations by US and Swiss authorities

    FIFA face FBI criminal investigation as indictment alleges 'generations of bribery and corruption'

    The FBI have outlined details of their damning 47-count indictment in their FIFA criminal investigation.

    Mail Box

    Vidic Is Part Of United's 'Budget XI'

    We have post-2000 budget XIs on behalf of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. Plus gaelic football, FIFA, more awards and the majesty of Il Fenomeno...

    Europa League: Hardly The AIA Cup

    A Spurs fan definitely isn't bothered his side aren't in the Europa League final tonight. Also, a warning about Michael Laudrup, and how to build a team with less than £20m.

    © 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company