Live on Skysports 1,2 & ESPN: Sat 12.45 & 17.30, Sun 16.00: New Villain Darren Bent is out to trouble Man City on Saturday.
All eyes at Villa Park on Saturday are likely to be on a couple of expensive new additions to the two squads. From Aston Villa’s perspective, the capture of Darren Bent represents something of a coup and Gerard Houllier will be hoping the prolific marksman can fire his side away from the relegation scrap. Meanwhile at the other end, £27 million man Edin Dzeko is set to make his second appearance for Manchester City as they look to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.
Bookies predict that City’s new boy will be the one celebrating a three-point haul on Saturday night, Stan James installing Roberto Mancini’s men as 11/10 favourites and bet365 chalking 14/5 against a home win, but boosted by Bent’s arrival and aided by home advantage, Houllier’s charges can grab a share of the spoils here, a result rated at 12/5 by William Hill.
As it’s a game in which both teams should find the net (3/4, Totesport), a score draw seems the most likely outcome and Partybets price a 1-1 stalemate at 11/2. Meanwhile, in attack, Bosnian striker Dzeko is a 5.5 (9/2) chance at Betdaq to grab his first in English football and the first in the match, but of the two signings, it’s Bent that possesses the Premiership pedigree and he’s decent value at 2/1 (Coral) to mark his Villa debut with a goal at any stage.
At Molineux, Kenny Dalglish goes in search of his first win since returning as Liverpool manager but although his side are 888Sport’s 13/10 favourites, their form on the road – they’ve lost eight from eleven – makes them far from attractive. Wolves are 11/5 outsiders but having registered their only away win this term at Anfield they’ll go into the clash in confident mood, especially after the Reds’ flaky display in Sunday’s Merseyside derby, and a positive result for Mick McCarthy’s men could be on the cards. They’re 8/13 (Coral) to avoid defeat and an even more enticing 5/4 in Paddy Power’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
At just 1/4 with William Hill, Manchester United can retain top spot with a victory against Birmingham at Old Trafford, where Partybets quote them at 17/20 to win ‘to nil’ and identically priced, this time by bet365, a victory combined with a clean sheet is also a distinct possibility for Arsenal, as they host Wigan.
Also set for a home win are Everton, chalked up by Ladbrokes at 8/15 to see off struggling West Ham while Blackpool are overpriced at 7/4 (Stan James) to defeat Darren Bent-less Sunderland and Blackburn, at 23/20 with , can send West Brom back to the Hawthorns empty-handed.
Finally, Betfred’s 9/4 for the draw is the best bet as Fulham entertain Stoke, 888Sport offer 12/5 for the spoils to be shared at St James’ Park, as Newcastle face Spurs and champions Chelsea could be in for a tough time on Monday at Bolton, where bet365 mark 11/4 against a stalemate.
Darren Bent to score for Aston Villa at any time – 2/1 (Coral)
Wolves to beat Liverpool ‘Draw No Bet’ – 5/4 (Paddy Power)
Blackpool to beat Sunderland – 7/4 (Stan James)
Man Utd to beat Birmingham ‘to nil’ – 17/20 (Partybets)