FOOTBALL LEAGUE fanatic Ross Casey (@rosscasey24) shares his verdict from Wednesday night's live Championship fixture between Aston Villa and Brentford.
Aston Villa v Brentford | Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Many were predicting an armageddon season for The Villains , but they are undefeated and look in good shape.
Villa stuck with Steve Bruce after a summer of uncertainty in many aspects, including serious financial issues and strong links to rookie coach Thierry Henry. New owners arrived to save the day and bail the former Premier League mainstays out, keeping star man Jack Grealish at the club in the process.
Humble Brentford and their moneyball acquisition tactics continue to defy the odds and are playing some of the best football in the division and are also undefeated. They play a much more expansive style of football compared to Villa under Midlands born manager Dean Smith.
The bookies make the home side 31/20 best price favourites with Brentford slightly less fancied with best Championship odds of 39/20.
We know exactly what to expect from Steve Bruce after 20 years in management. The former Hull gaffer’s pragmatic approach has seen him promoted from the second tier to the Premier League on four occasions.
They fell one goal short last season and are looking to push on again now. They have only played once at home so far this season, winning a 3-2 thriller against Wigan in the final minutes. That continues their excellent Villa Park form from last season where they lost just twice in 23 games in the Championship.
However, their form against Brentford hasn't exactly been stellar with three draws in a row and interestingly all three going under 2.5 goals. I think that a victory here would be an excellent result for Villa considering this and the fact they have a real issue between the sticks.
Debutant goalie Orjan Nyland was at fault for the goal conceded last weekend and they conceded twice at home in their opening game on their home patch. Against a Brentford side that have netted 12 times in their opening four games, a solid display is needed here.
As mentioned above Brentford have been absolutely fantastic so far this season scoring for fun and playing some brilliant football whilst they are at it. They shouldn't have any fear going to Villa Park after that start, plus they are unbeaten in three in this fixture.
Ollie Watkins has been particularly impressive with the former Exeter man netting in all three of the matches he has played in so far and he will be a real threat here with a best price available of 15/2 that he scores first and 3/1 that he scores anytime.
The betting angle
I have mentioned that Villa struggle a little defensively of late and the fact their only clean sheet was at Yeovil is proof of that. Even in that fixture, the Huish Park side had a goal disallowed and missed a penalty.
Against a strong Brentford outfit that are scoring plenty, I think that Oliie Watkins is a great price to net here at 3/1 (Unibet).
Aston Villa have an issue in goal and Brentford can take advantage of that. I will also back The Bees to come away with something from the game with 113/100 (Marathon) up for grabs in the draw no bet market.