Christian to Steer the Villains out of Trouble?
Aston Villa (5/1) have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance over the past few weeks. Improved displays against West Ham and Everton bringing points last month, and an encouraging display in the loss at the Emirates, have given the Paul Lamberts young side hope of escaping the bottom three. The same could not be said for their opponents on Monday night. Manchester City (8/15, Draw 3/1) have been shaky on the road of late and will look to put a marker down as they tirelessly chase an increasingly unlikely defence of their Premier League Crown.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists that Villa are better than their league position suggests and will be taking nothing for granted given their recent form against teams from the wrong end of the table.
"Aston Villa are in a difficult situation. I don't know their situation very well but for me they have good players," he said. "Maybe they have young players and this is the reason they fight against relegation. But it is my opinion they have good players and probably they don't deserve to stay there."
One of the young players the Italian refers has to be Christian Benteke. He has been a revalation since joining the Villains at the start of the season and has weighed in with some very crucial goals this term and they don't look like drying up anytime soon. The Belgian International has scored 15 goals in a turbulent season so far and no-one has scored more Premier League goals in 2013 than his 6. For him to score the first or last goal we have him priced at 15/2 and 9/4 for him to score at anytime during the match. We have also included him in our enhanced Wincast. Christian Benteke to score at anytime and Villa to win is now a massive10/1, enhanced from 13/2.
Andreas Weimann is another to frighten the Citizens; his 22 yard strike against the Gunners last time out was, unluckily, not enough to give his team a share of the points but another against the champions would go a long way. He has found the net on 10 occasions this season and we go 9/1 firts/last, 10/3 anytime.
We are offering the same price on Gabriel Agbonlahor. The England striker is the clubs longest-serving player and made his debut seven years ago, and has often been linked with a move away.
"For me I've always enjoyed playing my football, maybe other than the one season where I wasn't playing as much as I wanted to, which was disappointing. Apart from that, I have enjoyed my football and when that is the case you have no reason to look elsewhere" he said recently.
The same could be said of one of City's star strikers, Carlos Tevez. What a difference a year makes!
This time last year it looked as though the Argentinean would never be seen in Manchester again let alone starting a game for City, and he credits his family for the incredible turnaround.
"I knew it wasn't going to be easy to come back," Tevez told the Sunday Times. "I'd left City and you could almost say I'd left through the back door. But it is almost like there are two Tevezes. There's the Tevez before, who had a problem, and there's the Tevez now, who no longer has problems."
The "new" Tevez could cause Aston Villa all sorts of problems, he has scored 11 goals for City so far this season and we are even money for him to add to that (4/1 first/last ,EVS anytime).
Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero have been the other strikers on song this season for city contributing 13 goals each in 17 and 24 apperances respectively. We are offering 7/2 first/last, 10/11 anytime on Aguero and 9/2 first/last, 6/5 anytime for Dzeko.
The head to head doesn't look great for Villa with Man City scoring 4 or more in 3 of their last 5 meetings with the Midlands side. Over 3.5 match goals, 2/1.
No side has conceded more goals in the final half an hour of games this season than Aston Villa who have conceded 25. A goal to be scored in the final 15 mins is 4/5.
The Villans haven't kept a clean sheet in 11 league games; the longest current such run in the Premier League. Villa to keep a clean sheet is 11/2. It's 23/20 for City to keep one.
Nor do the omens look any better as no team in Premiership history has conceded more goals in the month of March than Aston Villa!
Christian Benteke to Score and Aston Villa to Win - 10/1
Yaya Toure to Score and Man City to Win - 12/5
Worth a punt:
Benteke first goal - 15/2
Double Result: Aston Villa/Man City - 25/1