Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa | Sunday 16th May 2021, 12:00 | Sky Sports
Aston Villa travel to the capital to face a Crystal Palace side who are stuttering over the Premier League finish line, losing 5 of their last 6. For Villa, they are battling Leeds for a top half finish and a win is much needed after yesterday.
Villa’s captain Jack Grealish finally retuned in midweek against Everton, but manager Dean Smith has already ruled out him starting, saying he is still not match fit. He’ll likely come on in the 65th minute or so.
This encounter has been fiery in recent years with a red card being brandished in the last 3 head-to-heads, with Tyrone Mings being sent off on Boxing Day last year after a tussle with Wilfried Zaha.
Despite this appearing a dead rubber on the surface I’d still expect at least three cards to be shown and multiple fouls. There are key tactical battles all over the pitch with Ebere Eze and Zaha down the Palace left, with no Matty Cash, Ahmed Elmohamady could have his hands full.
Likewise, with the return of Ollie Watkins, with Bertrand Traore in fine form and Jack Grealish back in the fold, the Palace defence won’t be relaxed at any point.
I fancy the home side to pick up 20+ booking points at 10/11 with Sky Bet. Palace’s recent record of cards against Villa reads: 3, 1, 2, 5, 4 – boasting an average of 3 cards per game over that short sample.
Over the season, Villa’s opponents have picked up 20+ booking points in 22/35 (63%) games. In Grealish’s absence, this statistic is 8/13 (62%) games.
With odds of 10/11 at Sky Bet indicating a 52% chance of this line landing, we look to have a slight edge.
In the player markets, Luka Milivojevic takes appeal. Many punters don’t put up players to be carded shorter than 5/2 but in my view there’s an exception for Milivojevic, who is 21/10 to be carded at Betfair.
He boasts a strong record of cards against Aston Villa, with 3 in 3 games. He’s on 8 yellow cards and 1 red in 30 appearances but would comfortably be more if he were in a dirtier and feistier team. Palace are averaging the 8th best discipline in the league this season, but their opponents here are the most fouled team in the league at 14.4 – this is despite Jack Grealish not starting 13 games.
- Milivojevic has been carded in 3/3 (100%) of his career appearances against Villa.
- Referee David Coote has booked Milivojevic in both games he has refereed him this season (100%), on his last 2 visits to Selhurst Park, and in all of his last 3 games refereeing him.
- Palace have seen 14 yellows and 1 red card in their last 5 games against Villa.
- An opposing centre-mid has been booked in 19/35 (54%) of Villa games.
- Since the start of last season, Coote has booked either Milivojevic or James McCarthy in all 6 games overseeing Palace. McCarthy is 10/3 for a card if he starts.
For Villa, I’m expecting Ezri Konsa to have his hands full on the right-hand side of Villa’s defence, with Ebere Eze and Wilf Zaha. The two of them like to hang out on the left, with the pair of them being Palace’s most fouled players at 2.1 and 3 times per game respectively. Konsa is a massive 6/1 stand out price with Bet365.
In midweek, the right-sided centre back for Southampton, Jan Bednarek, was booked in the first half for a cynical foul on Zaha, before he was substituted. In the second half, Jannik Vestergaard had to move to the right, and was booked for the same foul. Zaha was frustrated by the end of the game and was booked for dissent in the 90th minute.
As a complete longshot, and I mean a longshot, Zaha and Konsa both to go in the book is 40/1 at Bet365.