CHAMPIONSHIP specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) shares his verdict from Friday night's contest between Bristol City and Aston Villa.
Bristol City v Aston Villa | Friday 25th August 2017, 19:45 | Sky Sports
An intriguing encounter to kick-off the weekend with Bristol City hosting Aston Villa.
City have impressed some in the early weeks of the season whilst others haven’t been overly enamoured with Lee Johnson’s troops. For me, they’ve been fairly mediocre up to this point and it’ll be interesting to see how they go after the international break.
One of the reasons for that mediocrity is that the quality of the opposition hasn’t been great so far. Barnsley and Millwall have visited Ashton Gate, while the Robins have visited Birmingham and Brentford. Three of those are more than likely bottom-eight clubs and defensive performances against such doesn’t bode well long term.
One of the things that stands out in the Robins’ games is the number of shots. City have taken almost 16 per-game in their four league outings with 5.50 on-target, ranking them fifth in each category.
At the back though, they’ve also given up the fifth most shots per-game with 16.5. Factor in the quality of the opposition, I can’t see them keeping their attacking numbers up, and would expect them to keep giving up that number of shots, if not more.
In comparison, Aston Villa’s games have also provided plenty of entertainment, firing in 13 shots per-game and conceding 14.5. Unlike City though, Villa have had a tough run of games to start the season, so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform going forwards.
Steve Bruce came under heavy criticism after two terrible away performances at Cardiff and Reading – terrible is probably being kind – but they followed those with an impressive 4-2 win at home to Norwich last week though, so it’s a bit of a guessing game with them still.
It could be as simple as they are more suited to playing at home than away but it’ll take a few more weeks to come to any firm conclusions in that regard.
Youngster Keinan Davis came in to lead the line against the Canaries and was very impressive in doing so. Scott Hogan returned from injury and scored twice in the League Cup in midweek but Davis should get the nod again.
The betting angles
Bristol City have been playing Bobby Reid further forward in the striker role to great effect in the early part of the season scoring four in four. You wouldn’t back against him making that five in five against a porous back line.
I’m tempted to be backing Villa but their away performances put me off, for the time being. Instead, it should be a fairly open game and goals look the option to take.
City’s first three games all saw Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score, along with their cup game in midweek. Add in a 5-0 win in the first round of the League Cup and that’s five of six matches featuring Over 2.5 Goals – the only blot being a 0-0 with Millwall last week (and the Lions are solid at the back so I’m not too worried about that).
Villa, on the other hand, have started the season conceding in all six games. Two league ties have seen Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score, three BTTS and three Over 2.5 Goals (different games).
Combine the two teams and their games have averaged 3.13 goals per-game in the league. Add in the cup games and that goes up to 4.40 goals, including that 0-0. I’m expecting more of the same and Over 2.5 Goals is attractive enough at 11/10 but I’m going to bump that up to 27/20 (Coral) by taking Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score.
Bristol City v Aston Villa – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (27/20 Coral)