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Manchester United v Aston Villa Betting Tip & Odds: Well, Villa are finally showing some signs of improvement, but it is unlikely to be enough to go to Old Trafford and cause an upset. Manchester United are rolling along and dealing with everything which is getting thrown at them. United at home should be a banker for three points, and you have to look in that direction. They should have too much to offer up front against a Villa back line which isn’t renowned for keeping themselves out of trouble. Villa rattled United when they met earlier in the season, and still the Red Devils wouldn’t break. Not going to be great value in backing a United win, so it’ll be worth looking at Berbatov in the goalscorer markets. For the match outcome though, head to an Asian Handicap of Manchester United -1.75 for 6/5 at Bet365, paying out a half win for a two goal victory, full win on a 3 goal margin.
Manchester United to win: 1/3 at Paddy Power
Draw: 9/2 at Bet365
Aston Villa to win: 10/1 at SkyBet
EPL Match Preview: Manchester United will just not lie down. They were down at out at half time in last week’s away match against Blackpool, but then that old United resilience shone through in the last twenty minutes of the match, and their goals (including a brace from Dimitar Berbatov) saw the Blackpool hearts broken. All of Manchester United’s troubles have come on the road this season, and time and time again they have been backed into a corner, only for them to manage to find a way out. It is almost something which you come to expect from them on their travels this year, and they were at it again when they fell behind at Southampton in the FA Cup. It took a second half turn around to get them out of that mire as well. But, for all their ups and downs on the road this season, they still remain unbeaten at the top of the Barclays Premier League. It is quite remarkable, as prior to the season kick off, they did not look as sure fire a bet, with the level of quality throughout the squad, much poorer than it has been for years. They are still, despite their unbeaten record, far from being a great team, but the other teams challenging for the title race haven’t lived up to that mantle either. United don’t have the flair or passing quality of Arsenal, and they don’t have the quality in midfield that Chelsea can line up with, but despite all that they still get the job done. Does a home match against Aston Villa have the potential of being the one which ends their unbeaten run? No, even though Villa played a really great match earlier in the season when United went to Villa Park. Villa pulled out a two goal lead, but yes, inevitably, Manchester United managed to claw their way back to earn a point. Back in United's back yard, you have to expect a home win.
Whatever Dimitar Berbatov (7/2 at SkyBet as First Goal Scorer) has been having for breakfast, Chelsea fans will want some for Drogba and Anelka. The Bulgarian is simply on fire, and unstoppable this season, and this was after much criticism last season, that he was lazy, unreliable and wasn’t fit to replace Rooney. How tables turn. Wayne Rooney is having a tough season, and seems to be a shadow of his former self. There is no indication of where the next goal is going to come from him, and with Berbatov carrying the can, Mexican striker Javier Hernandez (9/2 at SkyBet as First Goal Scorer) is really pushing hard with his goal scoring feats, to replace Rooney in the line up. Hernandez always seems to be right there when United need something special to salvage the game. He has done it time and time again, and he was a great capture by United in the summer. You have to think that United will find a way through the Aston Villa back line, although it was a back line which managed to keep out Manchester City in a recent match. However, this is at Old Trafford, where Manchester United have won 65% of all matches at home between the two sides. They didn’t win in the corresponding fixture last year though, when Villa stole all three points, but that result really went against the trend of how this fixture has generally gone. United have had a lot of success against Aston Villa in recent times, and that, backed up with their record this season, it all points to a convincing home win. There is also a vast gulf in the goal tally’s when the teams play at Old Trafford, with United having scored over 100 more goals in the fixture than the visitors. Sounds as if more of the same is on the cards.
Aston Villa, despite being stuck in a relegation dog fight for a fair share of the season, really are not that bad a side, and finally are showing their true colours and are improving. Gerard Houllier is the man charged with taking them forward, and they went in with a big splash to get Darren Bent from Sunderland during the January transfer window, and that was a vital coup. Villa have been one of the lowest scoring teams in the Premier League all season, and one of the major reasons why they were in trouble. They have not been helped along this season with their terrible defence either, which are having a hard time not shipping and giving away goals. Aston Villa have climbed up to thirteenth in the league, and are giving their fans a lot more optimism than a few weeks ago. They are now unbeaten in their last three matches to their credit, and finally Houllier looks as if he is getting things together at the club. Villa have a lot of good young players at the club, and because of a tough break with injuries, they have suffered this season. However, maybe the youthfulness is beginning to pay off now, as more experienced is gained. Villa actually play some good football, and like to use width. They have a bit of quality in Ashley Young, Mark Albrighton and now with Darren Bent up front along with Gabriel Agbonlahor, they should have more firepower to ensure their safety. Villa really do have enough to play their way out of trouble, however, they aren’t going to do it at Old Trafford.
Villa did great last season, taking points of United in both games, including a victory at Old Trafford. They are not going to do it this season, as they are far less organized than they were last year. Still, this is good testing ground for them, to see just how much they have improved. They don’t have a particularly great record against United, and back to back wins there in the league? Unlikely. Villa won’t be helped by the fact that their away form has been pretty miserable, winning just two matches on their travels this season in the league. They have been beaten seven times in their twelve away matches, but as mentioned, they have shown better signs, going unbeaten in their last three road trips, including a 3-3 tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. There is still the feeling that Villa are a work in progress, and heading north to Old Trafford is just going to be too much for them. When you have conceded an average of 2.25 goals per match on the road this season, Old Trafford is pretty much the last place you want to go.
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Manchester United v Aston Villa Premier League Betting Statistics
Last 5 Head to Head
Aston Villa 2, Manchester United 2
Aston Villa 1, Manchester United 1
Manchester United 0, Aston Villa 1
Manchester United 3, Aston Villa 2
Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 0
Manchester United have an 92% win percentage at home in the league this season
Aston Villa have a 17% win percentage away from home in the league this season
Manchester United are on a streak of 12 home games with no defeat
Aston Villa are on a streak of 3 away matches with no defeat
Manchester United have scored 34 goals, and conceded 7 at home
Aston Villa have scored 11 and conceded 27 goals in their away matches
Manchester United average 2.8 goals per match at home this season
Aston Villa average 0.9 goals per match away from home this season
Manchester United have scored the bulk of their goals in the 31-45 and 76-90 minute brackets
Aston Villa have scored the majority of their goals in the 76-90 minute bracket
Manchester United have opened the scoring in 69% of their matches
Aston Villa have scored first in 50% of their matches
Manchester United 2010/11 top scorer: Berbatov, 19 (14 of them at home)
Aston Villa 2010/11 top scorer: Downing, 5
Manchester United 2010/11 Season Form: P23 W14 D9 L0 GF51 GA21 Pts 51 (1st)
Aston Villa 2010/11 Season Form: P24 W7 D7 L10 GF27 GA40 Pts 28 (13th)
Fulham v Tottenham is a London derby in the FA Cup, which looks as if it will be a tight battle. Fulham aren’t exactly lighting the Premier League up much at the moment, and their form looks to be pretty hit and miss. The old stubborn Fulham which were hard to beat, is still there to some degree, as they have drawn eleven of their 24 league matches this season. Their five wins though is far too low, and they will start as underdogs against Tottenham Hotspur, naturally. Fulham really haven’t been helped with a list of absentees, including Bobby Zamora, Philippe Senderos and first choice keeper Mark Schwarzer. Fulham picked up young Chelsea forward Gael Kakuta on a loan deal, but as he played in the third round for Chelsea against Ipswich, he is cup tied and can’t make an appearance either. Tottenham have already beaten Fulham twice in the Premier League this season, and sensible betting heads have to lean towards a repeat performance, especially as Spurs haven’t lost in seven matches now against the Cottagers. The ball is in Spurs court really, and you would expect them to move ahead and make quite a big impact in the FA Cup this season, because they have been very exciting to watch, and really aren’t afraid to have a go at teams. They will be without Gareth Bale for this though, but they get back keeper Gomes and Wilson Palacios, not that they really that short of quality in their squad.
This looks a tricky tie for Spurs, and they could have hoped for something just a little bit easier. However, you would still expect them to come through this one, and the bookies seem to think so as well. Spurs just have a good record against Fulham, and they have the class to get through this one. As for Fulham, they lost to Liverpool in the week, and that busted an unbeaten run of four games (in all competitions) so there is some hope there. The most likely outcome for Fulham would be a draw, and they could battle to hold on for that, being the draw specialists which they are. If you are looking to pick a winner though, it will have to be Spurs, as Harry Redknapp is probably just to canny to let this opportunity slide. Although it would mean an extra game, he probably wouldn’t be too disappointed with a rematch at White Hart Lane if it came to it. Hard to ignore the dominance that Spurs have over Fulham, and they are the most likely winners. The FA Cup is all about who the hero goalscorer will be, and if you place a bet on any goalscorer market on this match at Stan James, then you will get a stake refund if the match ends in a 0-0 draw. Stan James are an excellent bookmaker, and their goalscorer special promotion just adds a little coverage to your first goalscorer betting.
Fulham to win: 21/10 at Boylesports
Draw: 5/2 at BetFred
Tottenham to win: 7/5 at Paddy Power
Bolton v Wigan betting: Bolton got trounced in the Premier League by Chelsea at the beginning of the week, and they are in a downward spiral as far as form is concerned. They were pushing hard for a tip six place, and then it all came crashing down with four defeats in their last five matches, picking up just one point. They are going through a tough patch at the moment, and boss Owen Coyle needs something to turn that all around. A home tie in the FA Cup against lowly Wigan really should be just the tonic. Bolton aren’t the direct physical side they were known as being under Sam Allardyce, and Coyle has added a little control to their play, without taking away the physicality totally. This makes them a tough side to play on their day, but they haven’t been able to put anything together, and the Reebok Stadium has been a sombre place. They need to dig deeper than what they have, and get back to doing the good things which they were doing on their great run of corm. Their defence was woeful against Chelsea, it has to be said, but hopefully for the Bolton fans that will have been the last straw and problems will have been fixed. A bit of pressure off here from the toils of the Premier League, and Bolton are worth backing. Wigan are doing even worse at the moment, and are looking more and more likely to be embroiled in a tough relegation battle at the end of the season. They did show some grit when they held Bolton to a 1-1 draw at the beginning of January, but Wigan are not a confident side at all, and boss Roberto Martinez must be really sweating for his own survival at the moment. Wigan have just one win in their last eight matches now, and the draws which were keeping them afloat just about, look as if they are abandoning Wigan as well. They have been fighting all season and could be running out of steam very soon unless changes are made. Should be a comfortable, moral boosting win for Bolton.
Bolton to win: 8/11 at William Hill
Draw: 11/4 at Bet365
Wigan to win: 9/2 at BetFred
Outright FA Cup Winner Odds
Manchester United: 4/1 at Unibet
Arsenal: 5/1 at Unibet
Manchester City: 5/1 at BetFair
Chelsea: 6/1 at BetFred
FA Cup replays dominate the midweek football action, starting with Manchester City trying to take down Leicester at the second attempt. The Blues were held by the Foxes at the first attempt, as the Championship side in a great FA Cup tie. City were in the lead 2-1 in the second half, with James Milner and Carlos Tevez both on the score sheet, but a blunder by England number one keeper Joe Hart, gave Sven Goran Eriksson’s Leicester a share of the spoils. It was something of a surprisingly boisterous effort by Leicester, who really rattled City at times, especially when the set pieces came flying into the box, as the usually sound City defence, could not deal with the physical presence of Leicester defender Bamba, who was making his debut. It was the former Hibernian player who opened the scoring on the day. A place in the fourth round of this year’s FA Cup against Notts County is up for grabs, as the two battle it out at Eastlands on Tuesday. In the end, Leicester had more possession in the match, and more attempts on target, as they played with great heart and character. City will be favourites in the replay, especially at home, but after they scraped a 4-3 win against Wolves in the Premier League on the weekend, Sven Goran Eriksson will be telling his players that they are more than capable of causing an upset. It will all be about whether or not they will be able to carry that momentum through from the first match. They have the added strike power of Yakubu, who has just joined the Foxes from Everton.
More often than not, if the underdogs do not make the most of their opportunity and take out the higher opposition at the first attempt, then they seldom get change from a replay. Especially when it is at the home of the superior side. Manchester City have the class and skill to see this match out, now that all the excitement of the first leg is over. Leicester, based on the first performance against City, may offer glimpses, but you will expect a much more solid home, professional performance from Roberto Mancini’s men. There will be no place in the side for new signing Edin Dzeko, as he is ineligible to play, and Mario Balotelli is injured, leaving most of the work up front to be done by Carlos Tevez, who has to be worth a shout in the Anytime Goalscorer market (4/5 at Blue Square).