One of the questions that Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert must answer this summer relates to the club’s record transfer Darren Bent. The England international forward has been frozen out of the team following the signing of Christian Benteke, and is in dire need of regular first-team football.
Although Bent looks odds-on to leave Villa Park with bwinbetting.com, there is a case to be made that the forward could still rekindle his career in Birmingham. The player’s future may well be linked in with Benteke’s fate, as should Villa sell the Belgian forward Bent could be in line for a recall.
Aston Villa fans have been looking at the Premier League fixture list with trepidation over the last month, with the prospect of travelling to take on Wigan in a winner-takes-all clash at the DW Stadium on the last day of the campaign an ominous prospect. The Latics have become renowned as being relegation escapees over the last number of seasons, however Roberto Martinez’s men’s luck ran out this week.
Villa can go into the last game of the season resting easy, with Wigan already relegated after their 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday night. Villa were relegation candidates with Unibet in April, however positive results against Stoke, Sunderland and Norwich have assured the Birmingham-based side’s safety turned the odds in their favour.
The Premiership is rarely an easy league to bet on, as last season showed. Few people expected Manchester United to face such little opposition on their way to another title, and this season is liable to be another tricky one to put bets on. It is fully expected that Manchester City will put up more of a fight this time around. Indeed they have replaced United as the bookies favourites to lift the title ñ and Chelsea are also considered serious competition by many. So which of the teams at the top end should you think about having a punt on?
In years gone by, a visit by the 17th place team would be an automatic 3 points for Aston Villa, and a chance to close the gap between themselves and a European spot.
Not any more, not by a long shot. The Villa project under Lambert is admirable for it’s courage and long-term vision, but not for it’s results. Football has changed. Partly it was because of Mourinho’s arrival that changed the culture of the league, where every defeat could cost you, and partly it’s because of the money involved in the game where success on the pitch makes a big difference on success off the pitch.
5 points from 8 games is a damning statistic for any manager. Projected over the course of the season, that’s less than 25 points. It’s relegation form, plain and simple, and Villa are stuck in a rut because of it.
Aston Villa fans were forced to endure a frustrating and at times relegation-threatened campaign in 2011-12, but the club maintained their Premier League status and are in the process of rebuilding for a more productive 2012-13. Alex McLeish has been shown the door after failing to win over the Villa Park faithful, with energetic and ambitious coach Paul Lambert his replacement. Despite an opening-day defeat to West Ham, there is seemingly more of an air of confidence around the club this term.
To say the last couple of seasons have been miserable ones for Aston Villa and their fans would be putting it mildly as, beginning with then-manager Martin O’Neill’s decision to resign days before the 2010/11 season began, the club has fallen from challenging for Europe and honours, to fighting simply to stay in the league. However this coming season brings a new hope for fans of the Birmingham club, as new manager Paul Lambert looks to get the club back on the right track.
To say that 2011-12 was a blow-par season for Aston Villa is something of an understatement. The Midlands club avoided the relegation places by two points, struggled to score goals (despite Agbonlahor’s fancy new soccer cleats), and with the lowly total of seven wins all season, the Villa Park faithful suffered at the hands of mediocre performances for the bulk of the campaign. However with Alex McLeish being shown the door, what does 2012-13 hold in store for Villa?
Villa’s season seemed doomed from day one, as ex-Birmingham City boss McLeish’s appointment was treated with contempt from the fans, a lack of money was spent in last summer’s transfer market and main creators Stewart Downing and Ashley Young left the club. Despite a plucky start, the club quickly spiraled into lacklustre performances, too many draws and not enough goals.
Villa face a Bolton side this weekend who have the worst home record in the Premier League having won just 1 and lost 6 of their opening 7 games at the Reebok. Despite this, Bolton’s home advantage makes them slight favourites according to SkyBet and Betfair football, with a draw unsurprisingly the longest odds with Owen Coyle’s side the only team yet to draw a game all season.
Filed under: Match Previews, Pre-Match Analysis
Villa face Tottenham having not beaten Spurs in their previous 5 encounters, with Redknapp’s side doing the double last season in strangely similar fashion. Both games ended 2-1 and while Marc Albrighton scored in each game for Villa, Rafael van der Vaart netted all four of Tottenham’s goals past Brad Friedel, now a teammate of the Dutchman at White Hart Lane. Read more