Villa ready to close the gap
Dean Smith needs his Villa side to kick-on if they’re to make the Championships Play-Offs. And I fully expect them to, starting with a win at lowly Wigan on Saturday afternoon.
Feel good in the Tammy
It’s been a good week for Villa more so off the pitch, than on it. A FA Cup third round exit at the hands of Swansea looked as if it would be followed by another departure - that of Championship joint-top scorer Tammy Abraham, coveted by Wolves.
However, instead of being lured by the bright lights of the Premier League, the Chelsea loanee has opted to stay at Villa Park for the remainder of the season to help boost Villa’s promotion bid.
By rejecting Midlands rivals Wolves and showing commitment to the cause, Abraham now has the chance to further writer himself into Villa folklore by adding to the 16 goals he has scored in 20 league games this term. The perfect mid-season tonic!
Wigan on the wane
It wasn’t a bad start to Wigan’s return to this level after a year in League One. But the home wins that Paul Cook’s were heavily relying on to keep them away from trouble, have now dried up.
Three successive defeats at home is part of a 7 game winless streak which has contributed to the Lactics plummeting down the table. Currently, they sit 20th just four points above the danger zone. Perhaps more worrying is the distinct lack of goals which has seen Wigan draw a blank in six of the last seven.
Having showed so much promise in the first third of the campaign, Wigan are heading only way on current form and now face a fight to avoid an immediate drop back down to the third tier.
Loving life on the road
If there was a side the hosts didn’t want to be welcoming to the DW this weekend, it would be Aston Villa. While one too many draws at home continues to frustrate Dean Smith, the former Brentford boss has installed a way of playing on the road that has his boyhood club yielding the points required to stay in touch with the top six.
We’ve seen Villa post comprehensive wins at Derby and Middlesbrough and narrowly beat Swansea, as well as collect credible draws at West Brom and Preston during the last five away games.
It’s apparent that the expectation which sometimes gets the better of Villa on home soil is far less for this group when assigned the tag of visitors. A fourth win in six will only reaffirm Villa’s position as genuine contenders for the play offs.
I’ve often thought trying to predict the events of a fixture from the most unpredictable league in Europe should come with a health warning!
This said, Villa should be buoyant after retaining the services of their main goal-getter, while their recent away record should see them start confidently.
Nick’s tip: Villa to win and close the gap on the top six. The best price at the time of writing is with BetVictor (5/4). On recent form and mood, this is surely worth a punt?