Premier League Betting: West Brom v Aston Villa - Fan v Fan Preview



West Brom perspective: Scott Bytheway, Baggies Blog

Team news

The high number of games over Christmas has stretched Steve Clarke's squad recenty, but Steven Reid, Jonas Olsson, and Chris Brunt could return. One player Baggies fans hope to see back this weekend is star midfielder Cladio Yacob, who has been a revelation since joining in the summer. Albion have won just three of their 14 games without him.

Form

Since reaching the dizzy heights of third back in November we have slipped down to seventh, having won only two of our last 11 games. In fact we've lost four of our last five, with the last victory coming at QPR away on Boxing Day.

Head-to-head

Having lived in the shadows of our local rivals for so many years, Albion are beginning to catch them up. We haven't lost to Villa in our last four meetings and, for the first time ever in the Premier League, we finished higher than Villa last season.

Best bets

West Brom to win at 1.67. We'll be desperate to make amends for the capitulation against Reading, so expect a determined performance.

Romelu Lukaku to score at 2.20. Lukaku is in good form, scoring in six of his eight Premier League starts.

Christian Benteke to score at 3.20. The big man could trouble our defence, which hasn't been as strong as usual recently.

Score prediction: West Brom 2-1 Aston Villa (8.25)

Predicted side

Aston Villa perspective: David Grimble, Up The Villa

Team news

The big news for Villa is that Ron Vlaar is set for a welcome return to the starting eleven. He has been a massive loss, and it’s been no surprise that we’ve been on the end of some humiliating defeats in his absence. Richard Dunne and Darren Bent are both back in training, but this game might come just a bit too soon for either of the pair. Charles N’Zogbia has returned to the side in the last couple of games and is showing glimpses of the form that convinced us to spend £10 million on him.

Form

I have supported Villa for a long time, and this is one of the more depressing spells we’ve had. The whole team looks devoid of any sort of confidence, and although we picked up a credible point away at Swansea, that good work was undone somewhat by losing to Southampton at home last time out. Us Villans also had to suffer the embarrassment of being convincingly beaten by League Two Bradford, with the sad thing being that it wasn’t even that much of a shock.

Head-to-head

Last time out we drew 1-1 against our local neighbours. Shane Long gave the Baggies the lead before Darren Bent rescued a point by coming off the bench and scoring the equaliser. I’m 99% sure that the majority of Villa fans would take a similar outcome this time around.

Best bets

Ron Vlaar to score the first goal at 42.00. Slightly optimistic here, but he’s good in the air, and Barry Bannan has some of the best crossing stats in the league. Set-pieces might be one of our better bets in trying to get something from the game, and the price on offer is too good to turn down.

Romelu Lukaku to score at 2.20. I rarely highlight bets when the price is so low, but even at 2.20 I think this represents value. He’s in good form, and he’ll want to put one over his Belgian International teammate Christian Benteke.

Draw/West Brom HT/FT at 4.90. I’m normally pretty optimistic when making these predictions, but I just can’t see past a West Brom win. We usually do alright the first half, and I’d expect it to be quite tight before the Baggies show their quality second half and get the win. 

Score prediction: West Brom 2-1 Aston Villa (8.25)

Predicted side