Just one place above the bottom three, Aston Villa remain deep in trouble and Paul Lambert’s troops will be desperate to put a few more points on the board in order to avoid a tense, final day showdown against survival rivals Wigan.
On the basis of the league table alone, a home clash with Sunderland would seem to provide the perfect opportunity for the Villans, BetVictor’s 13/10 favourites, to edge towards safety; after all the Black Cats are just three places and the same number of points above them.
The rejuvenated Wearside outfit however, have registered back-to-back victories under new boss Paulo Di Canio and look a totally different team to the one freefalling down the table a few weeks ago, so they’ll undoubtedly have their backers at 12/5 with Stan James. However, a better bet at the same price, this time courtesy of bet365, is the draw.
Villa’s form isn’t too bad, the two defeats in their last six matches coming against Manchester United and Liverpool and the latter was in a game they led, so they’re making a decent fist of avoiding the drop. Furthermore, only the top two have prevented Lambert’s men from scoring in their previous dozen league games and on their own patch, they can check the visitors’ progress by grabbing a share of the spoils.
As the hosts don’t keep clean sheets, BetVictor’s 4/5 for both teams to find the net stands out and with that in mind, a case can be made for a 1-1 scoreline at 6/1 (Stan James) but it could pay to be a touch less specific by tackling Paddy Power’s 10/3, marked against any score draw.
Aston Villa v Sunderland to be a score draw – 10/3 (Paddy Power)