Swansea to pile the pressure on McLeish?
Swansea v Aston Villa - Sunday 13:30 - live on Sky Sports 2
After three defeats in five league games, the Holte End regulars are becoming restless at the prospect of a mediocre season spent in the lower regions of the Premier League table. Monday night's defeat at Tottenham was a glaring indication of how they have stood still, some would say have gone backwards, in comparison to Spurs, who only a few seasons ago were their main rivals for European qualification.
The likes of Gareth Barry, James Milner, Ashley Young and Brad Friedel have all departed and with very little reinvestment in the team, it is easy to sympathise with the frustrated Villa supporters. When Martin O'Neill's Villans were occupying a Champions League spot, few would have believed that in only a couple of years they would be travelling to face Swansea in a league fixture, let alone as underdogs.
But that is exactly what they. Priced at 12/5, the odds reflect a team that has failed to win a single Premier League match away from home this season and that has conceded eleven goals in their last five forays away from Villa Park.
The hosts can be backed at 23/20 to win the match and it is hard to argue against their favouritism. Swansea have only let in to goals at the Liberty Stadium so far this campaign, one in their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United and the other was an own goal against Bolton. Brendan Rodgers' men have really flourished in their debut Premier League season, gaining plaudits for their free-flowing football culture. If they are to avoid relegation in May, they must maintain their excellent home form and continue to make the Liberty a fortress.
In-form Swansea midfielder Joe Allen is expected to be recalled after resting a calf problem but defender Steven Caulker is unlikely to be risked after a knee injury left him on the sidelines.
For Villa, skipper Stiliyan Petrov should overcome a hamstring strain to take his place in the visitors' midfield and he may have Jermaine Jenas at his side after the Tottenham loanee's ineligibility to face his parent club on Monday.
England striker Darren Bent is the favourite to open the scoring at 11/2 and he is closely followed by the Swansea pairing of Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham - both at 6/1. Bent has five goals to his name this season but must surely be feeling the strain upfront for Villa where he is seemingly leading the line on his own. One thing is for sure though, if a chance arises for the former Sunderland and Tottenham man in the box, invariably he takes it.
Swansea City have not locked horns with Aston Villa in the Premier League era. In fact, the last time that these two clubs crossed paths was back in 1983, when the Swans beat the then European Champions 2-1 at home. A repeat of that scoreline can be backed at 8/1.
An interesting Opta fact shows that Villa have dropped the most points from winning positions this season along with Blackburn. At a price of 9/1 you can bet that the visitors are leading at half time and not to go on and win..maybe one for the stattos out there!
My recommendation for this match is for the hosts to triumph by a couple of goals, I'd go for Swansea 3-1 at 18s and Swansea/Swansea in the Double Result market at 13/5.