Blogs & Opinion


Aston Villa v Man United: Can hosts end Villa Park troubles?

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 12th December 2013 view comments

We knew it was an unpredictable season but I don't think anyone could have expected last weekend's set of results when there were coupon busters left right and centre.

We had the best game of the weekend on Super Sunday at the Emirates as Arsenal and Everton drew 1-1 in a terrific football match between two really good sides.

I found Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher's explanation of how Roberto Martinez has transformed Everton absolutely intriguing on Monday Night Football. For 40 minutes they bossed the leaders and were hugely impressive.

Rooney: set to make his 500th club appearance

Rooney: set to make his 500th club appearance

Arsenal, in turn, did well to weather the storm and could have won the game in the end. After an eventful week, that at one point saw them promoted to joint favouritism for the first time this season, Arsenal are still 9/4 to win the title.

Manchester City are 13/8 favourites with Sky Bet ahead of their meeting at the Etihad on Saturday. That's such a tough task for Arsenal after the demands of Wednesday night in Naples, taking on a City side that rested players in Munich and have been rampant at home so far this season. It's hard to oppose City.

Any punter that predicted Norwich's win at West Brom or Stoke's first ever Premier League win against Chelsea deserves a medal. Yet the result that stole the headlines was Manchester United's defeat at home to Newcastle.

Trailing

On Super Sunday we will see if United can avoid a third successive Premier League defeat which hasn't happened since Nov-Dec 2001.

Sky Bet make Aston Villa 4/1 to inflict that defeat on the champions, who are 4/6 to win on Sunday but out to 28/1 to defend their title. No team has ever won a Premier League title when trailing by 13 points having played the same number of games (Arsenal trailed by 13 points in 97-98 but had a game in hand).

On a happier note for Manchester United fans, Wayne Rooney is set to make the 500th club appearance of his career (77 Everton, 422 Man Utd). He has scored 149 PL goals for Manchester United. Only Arsenal's Thierry Henry (175) has scored 150+ goals for one Premier League club.

Wayne Rooney to score anytime against Aston Villa - evens. Bet now

I interviewed Henry on Wednesday afternoon at Sky HQ. He was engaging and charismatic, fascinating when talking about the 'Invincibles', Xavi's training at Barcelona, similarities between Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger, plus how the 2006 Champions Final still haunts him to this day. The interview will be on Sky Sports in the week before Christmas.

Back to Super Sunday and Aston Villa stand in Manchester United's way. Villa have been so effective on the road - I was at St Mary's last week to see Southampton fall in to their 'counter-attacking trap' and the visitors win with only 23% of possession - but they have really struggled at home.

Paul Lambert's side have won only seven points at Villa Park (only Sunderland with six have won fewer). They have won only twice at home and scored a Premier League low six goals.

Magician

Our second live game is a belter: Tottenham (7/5 to win with Sky Bet) against Liverpool (15/8).

Injuries to Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard have come at a really bad time with the busy Christmas period about to get under way. However, they still have the magician that is Luis Suarez.

Suarez to score first against Tottenham 4/1 with Sky Bet. Bet now

Suarez has scored 28 Premier League goals in his last 27 appearances including 12 in his last seven. Remarkable. He is the League's top scorer in 2013 despite playing fewer games than any of the other contenders in the top 10. He's bound to be popular even at 4/1 to score the first goal on Sunday.

Andre Villas Boas has taken plenty of stick of late but he had an excellent week last week and his team are only three points behind Liverpool in second.

AVB has won 99 points in his 53 games in charge and a point on Sunday will mean he has reached 100 Premier League points faster than any other Spurs manager.

It's such a tough game to call but bear in mind Spurs have won the last five meetings at White Hart Lane - four by a 2-1 score line, which is an 8/1 chance on Sunday.

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