CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Wednesday night's showdown between Aston Villa and Manchester City.
Aston Villa vs Manchester City | Wednesday 21st April 2021, 20:15 | Sky Sports
This game could be a 10-goal thriller and it still wouldn’t be the most talked about topic this week.
Manchester City became the first team to officially withdraw from the much-criticised European Super League and now they must refocus on ensuring they lift the Premier League title.
They’ve had a couple of bad results lately, recently losing at home to the ten men of Leeds and then seeing their chances of landing the quadruple dashed as they were beaten in the FA Cup semi-final by Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday evening.
They have a habit of bouncing back rather quickly so will be looking to do just that at Villa Park.
Aston Villa have two games in hand over the majority of the clubs currently above them in the table. Win those and they could find themselves finishing within the top eight – a remarkable feat considering they, by a stroke of fortune, avoided relegation last season. Coupled with the fact they’ve been without star man Jack Grealish for a number of weeks and it makes their position even more respectable.
Regardless of their absentees, Aston Villa’s football is pleasing on the eye and they’ll be right up for this one. It could be a gripping game at Villa Park.
● Only Wolves have not seen a card when playing away to Aston Villa this season – 13 sides out of 14 have seen at least one when visiting Villa Park.
● In the 30 EPL games they have played, their opponents have seen at least a card in 27 of them (90%).
● Have scored in 10 of their 14 home games this season.
● Over 2.5 goals has landed in the last three meetings between these two at Villa Park.
● Are the most fouled side per game in the league on average, roughly 15 times per game.
● Have taken at least 10 free-kicks in ALL 30 EPL games they’ve played this season.
● 10 of their 14 home games have seen at least two goals.
● Trezeguet's season is over after he sustained a knee injury against Liverpool and the Egyptian joins Jack Grealish on the sidelines. A knee injury will keep Morgan Sanson out for a period of time.
● Anwar El Ghazi is expected to start out wide in the absence of both Trezeguet and Grealish.
● Have seen at least a card in 11/15 away games this season.
● Have gifted their opponents 10+ free-kicks in 26/32 matches this season.
● Allowed Aston Villa to have 14 free kicks in the reverse fixture.
● Have scored in 29/32 games this season and scored 2+ in 18/32.
● Have scored in 13/15 away games.
● Man City have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 away matches.
● Are coming off a weekend defeat, but every time they have lost they have bounced back with a win immediately.
● Kevin De Bruyne is reportedly facing a month on the sidelines with an ankle injury sustained in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to his former club Chelsea.
● Pep Guardiola will also still be without Sergio Aguero, with changes expected from the side that started at Wembley at the weekend.
● Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Ederson will all expect to return to the starting XI on Wednesday.
Referee: Peter Bankes
● Averages 3.23 yellow cards per game.
● Awards 21.23 fouls per game on average.
● Has awarded at least two cards in 12/13 EPL games officiated this season.
My first pick is simply for Manchester City to come out victorious and for there to be over 2.5 goals in the game. This bet has landed in four of the last six games between these two at Villa Park and in all of the last three.
City are the top scorers in the league this season and have gotten on the scoresheet in 29 of their 32 games played so far, as well as scoring 2+ goals in seven of their last eight away matches.
Aston Villa meanwhile has conceded two or more in half of their home games this season and their defence is going to be severely tested.
City were beaten over the weekend in the FA Cup semi-final by Chelsea, but each time they’ve been on the losing side, they’ve bounced back and claimed a victory.
Both of these sides play with attacking flair and I fancy there to be a few goals here with City coming out on top.
My second pick is for there to be at least two cards in the game, at least two goals in the game and for Aston Villa to take 10+ free-kicks.
Looking into the stats, Aston Villa has taken at least 10 free-kicks in ALL 30 EPL games they’ve played this season and City have allowed their opponents 10+ free-kicks in 26/32 matches in which they’ve played this season.
The referee is Peter Bankes who has shown at least 2 cards in the 12/13 EPL games he’s officiated this season and of the 14 games Villa have played at home so far, only Wolves have failed to pick up a card. I don’t see how there aren’t 2 or more cards here.