Something for the weekend
Matt Briggs seeks out the early value on the weekend football coupon and he believes Villa look like good things.
- Related Content
Premier League - ASTON VILLA v Newcastle United
I'm putting my support behind Aston Villa to get the column back on track after a couple of luckless weeks.
It pays to tread carefully at this stage of the season with the formbook yet to take shape and luck was certainly against us last week as two of the fancies - Burton and Swindon - both had men sent-off before failing to land the honours.
But Villa look a fair price at 5/4 to sink a Newcastle side, who many people fancy to struggle this season, to get us back in the money.
The Magpies edged past Fulham last time out with a good second-half performance and I think at home Alan Pardew's men will pick up enough points to steer themselves well clear of any relegation trouble, but away from home they could still struggle.
They managed just two away wins last season and their 4-0 away defeat at Manchester City did little to suggest they'll be better away from Tyneside this season. Hatem Ben Arfa blows hot and cold, while Loic Remy has yet to be seen up front with Papiss Cisse and Villa have shown enough this season to suggest they are capable of getting the job done at Villa Park.
Christian Benteke will score goals against the best, while Gabriel Agbonlahor is enjoying a new lease of life and Andreas Weimann is one of the most underrated players around.
Paul Lambert is building a team that look capable of challenging the top six and Villa look good things at 5/4.
Championship - Bolton Wanderers v LEEDS UNITED
Bolton have endured a torrid start to the season with just two points from five games and in fact sit bottom of the Championship table and things could get worse before they get better.
Leeds are the visitors at the weekend and the 9/4 about them returning back along the M62 with three points looks tempting.
Dougie Freedman's Trotters' revolution is at a standstill at the moment and with little room to manoeuvre in the transfer market it looks as though the current crop of players will have to turn things around.
Defensive colossus Craig Dawson has been badly missed this time around and the centre-back partnership of David Wheater and Zac Knight has struggled so far. Mistakes have been far too prevalent for Bolton, while neither of the club's first-choice strikers David Ngog or Jermaine Beckford have managed to find the net. With that in mind Leeds look worth taking a chance on.
The Yorkshiremen have already chalked up a win at Ipswich and a goalless draw at Leicester and they look like a side more suited to playing away from Elland Road.
Unlike Bolton, Leeds have been defensively strong and not given much away with Rudi Austin sitting in front of defensive pairing Andrew Lees and Jason Pearce. And with the creative talents of Luke Murphy and Ross McCormack the visitors have the ability to punish any Bolton mistakes.
I saw League One described as a minefield on Twitter last week and I've got to concur with that again this week, so I'm steering well clear.
League Two - Hartlepool v ACCRINGTON
Finally, in the basement the clash between the league's bottom two teams looks to offer some value.
Ninety-first placed Hartlepool take on bottom club Accrington with the Pools 11/10 chances and that looks like a price worth swerving. Colin Cooper's men have just two points to their name and despite an unbelievable 5-0 win over Bradford in the cup recently there have been no real signs of improvement.
Last weekend's 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe was described as a "flat performance" by Cooper and they don't warrant a quote of 11/10.
Accrington meanwhile put in a decent showing in their latest defeat - a 1-0 reverse at promotion-chasing Chesterfield and they have not got the points their performances this season have warranted.
"We're disappointed in the result, but the performance was a good one and we can't be too disheartened," said Beattie after the defeat by the Spireites.
James Beattie's men, who won at Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup, have not had the rub of the green but at 3/1 they're worth supporting to turn things around in the North-East.