Aston Villa vs. West Ham: EPL Betting Preview
I had Aston Villa marked down as a strong lay on the opening weekend at home to West Ham long before events unfolded this week and, even though they have quite rightly drifted, I’m still keen to oppose the Midlands club.
Villa, no bigger than 1.83 with the bookmakers before Martin O’Neill departed on Monday, have shifted right out to bigger than even money but they were installed at a false price in the first place and it could be a long season for American owner Randy Lerner.
Still without a manager and with seemingly their two best players about to depart, James Milner’s move to Manchester City is inevitable while Ashley Young looks set for Spurs, Villa fans are a hard bunch to please and I expect a backlash from the Holte End on Saturday.
On the pitch, Villa excelled once again last season, finishing in sixth place for the third consecutive campaign, but they never do things that impressively and are often suited better playing away from home.
Relying on the pace of the likes of Young, Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor on the break, Villa counter-attack with style but won’t be able to do that against Avram Grant’s West Ham in front of their own fans and an away win for the London club wouldn’t be the biggest surprise.
Boasting Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole throughout the spine of their side, all England internationals, West Ham have massively underachieved in recent seasons but I really like the appointment of the Israeli to take charge of the club and new owners, Davids Gold and Sullivan, could be in for a decent first season. >
Like Saturday’s opponents, West Ham are often weighed down by the burden of expectation on home soil but there is a growing sense of optimism at Upton Park that this group of players are capable of achieving something and a top half finish is not beyond the Hammers.
Just one away win last term won’t fill many with confidence but West Ham conceded relatively few goals on their travels and I’d be surprised if these two combined for many this weekend.
The hosts, frustratingly for their supporters, drew as many games as they won at Villa Park last season and it could be more of the same this time around.
2pts Lay Aston Villa (vs. West Ham) @ 2.00 (Betfair)
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