In the first half of this week’s Premier League midweek fixtures three things really stood that will be of interest to fans of the English game and punters alike.
This trio forms the basis of today’s football betting tips from Betadvisor:
#1 – Can Aston Villa Mount a Great Escape?
They looked all but doomed after taking just eight points from their opening twenty Premier League matches, but often it can take the strangest of catalysts to turn a season around. And Aston Villa have enjoyed two of them in the space of four days.
First there was the debacle at League Two side Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup on Saturday. The Villains were lucky to escape with a draw from a side from three divisions below, and this sparked angry scenes between players and supporters.
Unsurprisingly Remi Garde made changes to his side for the visit of a Crystal Palace side that have taken more points on the road this season than Villa have won home and away. Out went goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Micah Richards amongst others, and in came Harry Bunn and Libor Kozak for his start since 2013.
The outcome? Bunn kept a clean sheet and Kozak had a blinder.
But teams that appear doomed need all the luck they can get. And the second of their catalysts for success occurred when the Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy dropped a feeble header from Joleon Lescott and watched as it squirmed over the line.
They may have clung on a bit towards the end, but make no mistake Villa were the better side. They had more possession, more shots on target and more corners; nine more to be precise.
Things won’t get much easier for them – they face second-placed Leicester City next, before trips to West Midlands rivals West Brom and revitalised West Ham, but their price of 15.00 to stay up was one of the most backed football betting tips on Oddschecker this morning so there is clearly confidence in Remi Garde’s side.
#2 – Contender for Premier League Game of the Season But No Respite for Van Gaal
Fans of Manchester United will have been delighted with the manner in which their side addressed their game with Newcastle on Tuesday night: they had a creative vigour in attacking areas, and looked far more like the Red Devils sides of yesteryear. Wayne Rooney, in particular, was outstanding.
The bad news is that they managed to ship three goals in a titanic 3-3 draw, and once again the vulnerabilities of this team under Louis Van Gaal’s stewardship came to prominence. The Dutchman has to be on borrowed time – his side are down to sixth in the table and a full eight points behind leaders Arsenal – and at 1.57 to be the next manager to leave their post this is not one of those betting tips that requires much of a leap of faith.
A quick word must go to Newcastle, who very much played their part in a contest that is sure to be near the top of the best match of 2016 type polls. They had more shots, more possession and more corners than their illustrious rivals, and in Gigi Wijnaldum they boast a phenomenal talent. If the Dutchman can maintain his thrilling form then the Magpies may just evade the drop; punters can get a price of 2.38 for them to do just that.
#3 – Dimitri Making Opponents Payet
Many teams have that one player that makes them tick; the heartbeat of the side whose sheer presence alone can be the difference between success and failure.
That is certainly the case at West Ham with Dimitri Payet, whose record when the Frenchman isn’t playing (P8, W2, D5, L1) is a lot to different to when he is (P13, W7, D3, L3).
He has a fantastic ability to make things happen – as all good attacking midfielders do – and on Tuesday night against Bournemouth he scored the opener before laying up Enner Valencia’s first in a 3-1 win. He has now scored six times and assisted five more for the Hammers in the 2015/16 campaign.
Today’s betting tips feature West Ham to break into the Premier League top six at 5.00, and if Payet can stay fit then that is a distinct possibility.