Aston Villa vs West Ham | Wednesday 3rd February 2021, 20:15 | BT Sport
Two sides in claret and blue clash at Villa Park, and both have European aspirations after the starts they’ve made.
Dean Smith’s men will look to avenge their contentious defeat against the Hammers from earlier this season. It was the game where Ollie Watkins’ late goal was disallowed for offside, despite a blatant foul on the Villa forward.
The Villains arrive in decent shape with a fully fit side, which now features January signing Morgan Sanson, who was on the bench at Southampton at the weekend. Smith’s modus operandi tends to be sticking to the same eleven when he can, so don’t expect him to ring the changes following Sunday’s win.
David Moyes’ Hammers sit in fifth ahead of these midweek games after their eight-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Liverpool. It was a hard one to weigh up – were they just tentative in their approach, or were they just tired?
They did lack ambition throughout with the reliance on Michail Antonio’s pace highlighted. But at times, you felt some of their players looked drained, so it could be that they are starting to feel the burn of this hectic campaign that everyone is experiencing.
The betting angles
The more I delved into this one, the more angles I found. However, it’s about being selective, so I’m going with a three-pronged attack.
I’ve noted in recent Villa games that they look vulnerable from corners. Having done some digging, I found that they have conceded plenty of chances to opposition centre-halves of late.
For a start, in the reverse fixture, Angelo Ogbonna was on the scoresheet. But when you look more recently, there are quite a few. I went from just after Christmas and found:
- Antonio Rüdiger had two shots, one on target
- Harry Maguire had an effort on target
- Man City’s Ruben Dias and John Stones both had efforts – the Portuguese internationals testing Martinez
- Jamal Lascelles had a shot
- Burnley’s Ben Mee scored
- Both Saints centre-halves had efforts on target
And that’s just recently, so it’s an area West Ham could exploit with their set pieces and deadly deliver from Aaron Cresswell, which saw them net a consolation on Sunday.
From corners alone, Moyes’ men have had 44 shots, resulting in seven goals. That’s an expected goals of 5.34xG, so outperforming that metric.
But with the threat they pose with the likes of Ogbonna and Craig Dawson, it’s an angle worth pursuing.
Dawson has found the net three times in his last five matches in all competitions, so some prices are hard to ignore. He’s 11/1 to score a header with Sky Bet, yet he’s 12/1 to find the net anytime, with any part of his body on Bet365. Go figure!
And how about this? The 30-year-old has scored more goals (41) than any other defender across the top four tiers since the start of the 2009/10 season. 12/1 you say?
His partner in crime Ogbonna (10) has had more shots than the Watford loanee (5) in the top-flight this season, yet he’s a bigger price to register an effort. The Italian is 17/10 compared to the Englishman’s 17/20 with Pokerstars. And both prices have shortened over the last few hours.
I know it’s not a sign of value, but some of these quotes elsewhere are ridiculously shorter. I’ve seen 1/4 for a Dawson shot and 4/5 for Ogbonna, so the Pokerstars prices look generous.
My final bet comes in the shots market because this has the makings of a game with plenty during 90 minutes, and, in particular, Villa shots could be backable.
Villa have hit 15+ in 11 of 19 games, including six of eight at home. You can get 6/4 with Paddy Power on the Villains hitting that line once more. Those odds give a 40% probability for something that has landed in 69% of Villa games.
The hosts pack plenty of attacking flair with Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley, Bertrand Traoré and Watkins. Plus, when you look at the bench, there’s Anwar El Ghazi – not afraid to pull the trigger – Sanson and Trézéguet as well.
They’ve got the capabilities within their squad, so it’s no surprise to see them rank fifth for shots this season, averaging 15.21 per 90.
If West Ham take a passive approach similar to Sunday, then this Villa side could rain down the shots on their goal.
Aston Villa vs West Ham – Aston Villa 15+ shots (6/4 Paddy Power)
Aston Villa vs West Ham – Angelo Ogbonna 1+ shot (17/10 Pokerstars)
Aston Villa vs West Ham – Craig Dawson to score (12/1 Bet365)