Aston Villa is playing catchup and Man City is the first team on our list. Since the opening day of the season Aston Villa has been playing catchup. Man City and a few other clubs that competed in European competition were given an extra week off and didn’t have to play on the opening day. Aston Villa were due to play Man City in our first game so we also ‘benefited’ from the extended break.
As the season progressed, the number of games in hand got bigger as a result of fixture scheduling and Cup clashes. This was further compounded when Newcastle Utd needed to postpone their game against us due to Covid. Then, AVFC got an outbreak of Covid and we needed to postpone a couple of games. We now find ourselves with 4 games in hand over 5 teams, 3 games in hand over 10 teams and 2 games in hand over 4 teams.
Obviously, while we weren’t playing games so we slipped down the league table and are now in the bottom half for the first time this season. We are in 11th place, 3 points behind Arsenal in 10th. But with games in hand, I do expect us to be in the top half when games played is equal. Deano and the team deserve huge credit for getting off to such a good start and gaining so many points. It would be horrible if we were towards the bottom of the table and watching our position drop each week when others played and we didn’t. That would add a new pressure we can do without.
Man City Next
Man City tomorrow night, but as there are other games too, unfortunately, this is not a catchup game. Not having played a game since January 8th means we will have had a 12-day ‘rest’. Further, we had a serious outbreak of Covid 19 with about 10 first team players testing positive for the disease. And we are playing against, what I believe to be, the best team in the Premier League this season. They have won their last 8 league and cup games! This does not bode well, and although the lads have had some excellent performances I expect Man City to win. On a positive, regardless of our’s or other’s results, we cannot drop below our 11th place on the table.
Team Selection Against Man City
I am not even going to try and predict what our lineup will be. With the Covid outbreak, I have no idea who will be available to play or who will be self-isolating. The only confirmed information is that Trezeguet did test positive and that Grealish did not test positive. So it does look like Grealish is available for selection. I would be very happy to see Barkley make his long-awaited reappearance in the team. He was brilliant before his injury and we could benefit from his return. If we could somehow manage to leave Manchester with a point it would be fantastic. By the way, I have read that Sergio Aguero is definitely out.
What The Bookies Say
The bookies are aligned with my way of thinking for this game. They have City at 2/9 for the win with the draw being 11/2. If you fancy a crazy and potentially profitable flutter, Villa is a massive 11/1 to win the game.
Newcastle Catchup Game
Saturday night brings a really important game for the Villa. This is a catchup game. We are the only team, other than the Toon of course that is playing this weekend. A win against Bruce’s men and we will gain 3 points on every other team in the league. Depending on upcoming midweek results a win could lift us to 7th.
Bruce appears to have lost the plot completely. He was slated by the Toon Army for playing 9 defensive players against 2 point Sheffield United. Following this he said the ‘gloves are off’ and he was going to do it ‘his way’. (It does beg the questions who’s way was he doing it for the previous 18 months). Last night against Arsenal, he changed the team and included more attacking players. He also pushed the players forward leaving big gaps at the back for Arsenal to exploit. However, he forgot to mention to the players that they were now allowed to attack the opposition goal. One-shot on target in 90 mins is something I think Emi Martinez should be well able for. Newcastle Utd is a dire football team and anything less than 3 points is a bad result for Villa.
What The Bookies Think
Yet again those clever bookies agree with me. Aston Villa is rightfully only 8/13 to win the game. Bruce is 3/1 to nick a draw and 17/4 to leave Villa Park with all 3 points. However, my bet of the week is not on either the City or Toon game. It is actually more of an investment than a bet. I think people should invest their hard-earned cash into Cabbages. There could well be a run on cabbages in the Newcastle area next week which will no doubt drive the price up.