Sunday clash looks one to swerve
Aston Villa host Tottenham on Super Sunday but our Andy Schooler is struggling to find any super bets.
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Aston Villa v Tottenham (1600 BST)
It's a struggle to put your finger on these two at present.
Villa beat Manchester City in their last home game but it may be that was just papering over the cracks of a poor home record which goes back two years as other home games this season have brought defeats to Liverpool and Newcastle. Even Villa fans would probably admit they were a tad fortunate that day too.
As for Spurs, their strong but unspectacular start, built on a solid defence, had suggested they could do some real damage, particularly once their plethora of summer signings got fully settled in. Yet just when it looked like they might pick up the pace, they were beaten 3-0 at home by West Ham in what will surely go down as one of the shock results of the season.
While it may well be regarded as a freak, particularly losing so heavily, what certainly must be a concern for Spurs fans right now is a lack of goals - just six in seven league games so far. Roberto Soldado hasn't brought his goalscoring form of La Liga to the table just yet and instead goals from midfield have been needed.
I mentioned Paulinho's goal threat in a previous preview - he's got into the box with regularity since joining the summer - and at 9/2 to score any time, he should be considered by anyone looking to play in that market.
Another man who doubtless will attract cash after his England exploits is Andros Townsend and he's 11/2 in the anytime betting; 16/1 for the first goal. He will likely play but it's interesting to note that Aaron Lennon is fit again and could feature in this game which could be bad news for Townsend and his World Cup hopes.
I mention Spurs bets as they would appear worthy favourites at 21/20, despite their effort last time out. Their quality in midfield, including the technically-gifted Christian Eriksen, is likely to be too strong for the hosts.
One bad performance can always be excused and history also suggests they know exactly how to pick Villa apart - Spurs have taken 21 points from a possible 27 from their most recent meetings the Midlanders. They won here 4-0 last season, albeit inspired by Gareth Bale, and claimed the reverse fixture 2-0. Earlier this term, Spurs repeated their 4-0 success at Villa Park in the League Cup.
For Villa, Christian Benteke could well be back and that would be a major boost to their hopes of winning the game at odds of 3/1.
The Belgian's goalscoring record has been outstanding since he arrived in England and this season he'd scored five goals in five games for Villa prior to the match at Norwich where he picked up a hip injury early on.
The fact that he has not played for four weeks has to be a concern for those prepared to back him at 11/5 to score at any time though.
As you can probably tell, I'm struggling to get a handle on this contest. If you want a bet, getting with Spurs in some shape or form looks the way to go but this is game that I'm personally prepared to leave alone and instead sit back and enjoy.
Verdict: Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 2
Paul Lambert has won more away league games (7) as manager of Aston Villa than he has at Villa Park (6).
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine league meetings with Aston Villa, winning six (D3).
Aston Villa have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 14 Premier League home games, losing nine in this run (W4 D1).
Aston Villa have gained more points from losing positions than any other Premier League side this season (6).
- The game is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.