Sparkling performance due for Clarets - Betting Preview
Aston Villa's recent league run has seen them take only a solitary point from Manchesters United and City as well as Arsenal, and find themselves in a lowly a18th position a third of the way through the Premier League season, yet the visit of Reading to Villa Park this midweek could provide a catalyst to a fight back, however the Royals will have different ideas.
Brian McDermott's team have themselves struggled after promotion to the top league in May, and find themselves below Villa in the table, in need of a away win to rise out of the danger zone, and a 3-2 defeat at the weekend that ended a three game unbeaten run won't have helped the side's confidence heading into an ever-busy Christmas schedule.
At 2-1 up at Wigan on Saturday, Reading looked on track to get their second straight victory, yet the eventual loss is emblematic of their season so far, which has seen some solid performances go to waste as chances failed to be taken, and 8/13 are the outright favourite to be relegated come May, whilst you can get 15/8 on them finishing bottom.
For Villa, the outlook is brighter. Although their season has started is less than satisfactory fashion, it shouldn't last, and after inspiring performances against Arsenal and Man Utd is recent weeks, a victory, their first since a 1-0 win at Sunderland at the start of the month, is on the cards at home. Expected to return to the squad after regaining full fitness is Darren Bent, however a strained relationship between him and Villa manager Paul Lambert could leave the Scot red-faced. Bent, at £24m, is a club record signing, and given Villa's recent goal drought (without a goal in two, having only scored four in eight), Bent could play integral part in their survival.
Without Bent, it is obvious that Villa have struggled to find the back of the net (10/3 Reading keep a clean sheet), yet between them Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke have provided the threat. Weimann netted two crackers against Man Utd a fortnight ago, whilst the Belgian has seen his price enhanced to score anytime in a Villa win to 5/2.
The Royals need to start winning if they are to have a fighting chance some the end of the season, but after having played 12 games, it seems as though relegation is inevitable. Having said that, young striker Adam le Fondre has looked lively in the appearance has made, most have which have been off the bench. He is expected to make the first team in the trip to the Midlands though, and has seen his price enhanced to score in a Reading win to 7/1.
Kicking-off at 20:00, the game is shown live on Sky Sports 2, and you can bet on over 100 markets pre-match and in-play, so stay with William Hill - the Home of Betting.
Best Bet: 23/10 - Aston Villa to Win to Nil
Worth a punt: 7/1 - Aston Villa 1-0 Correct Score