Aston Villa are back in the danger zone after suffering two embarrassing defeats, although the Villans have a perfect opportunity to make amends with relegation rivals Wigan coming to West Midlands. The Latics are in serious problems having lost last three league fixtures, meaning they have no choice but to try and win this game.
Lack of strength in depth
Paul Lambert’s young guns have shown a great deal of potential in the opening exchanges, but back to back heavy defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham have exhibited all their weaknesses. It is more than clear that the back line suffers when the only experienced defender Ron Vlaar is on the sidelines, and it is his absence that was the main reason why Villa conceded no less than 12 goals in last two matches. With the Netherlands international unlikely to return for this match, defensive ailments look likely to continue. While Villa struggled to carve out clear-cut chances against Chelsea and Tottenham, they should fare much better up front against out-of-form Wigan, especially if Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann recover from injury. With Barry Bannan also back after he was rested in midweek, star striker Christian Benteke should be presented with quite a few goalscoring opportunities against the Latics.
Ron Vlaar, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, Nathan Baker and Charles N’Zogbia are all injury doubts.
Wigan continue to underperform
Wigan chiefs produced quite a coup by persuading Roberto Martinez to remain at DW Stadium for another season, and following such an impressive finish to the last league campaign, the Latics were tipped to escape the relegation race altogether. However, even if their performances were not that bad at all, Wigan just couldn’t notch up a few good results in a row and quickly found themselves in the bottom three. With the quality Roberto Martinez has at his disposal, nobody doubts the Latics will turn things around, and a match against struggling Aston Villa could be a great opportunity to return to winning ways. Having done fairly well on the travels this season, Wigan have every reason to hope for a positive result at Villa Park, especially as Roberto Martinez will have several important players back to the side.
Jordi Gomez and Ivan Ramis could return to the starting line-up, but Ryo Miyaichi, Crusat, Antolin Alcaraz and Ben Watson are definitely out.
With both sides leaking way too many goals at the moment and desperate to record a morale-boosting victory, there is every chance we will see a very open encounter at Villa Park. Having said that, I just cannot understands why online bookmakers have such high odds on over 2.5 goals market.
Top pick: Over 2.5 goals 2.10 (11/10) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score 1.80 (4/5) @ SkyBet
Alternative pick 2: Wigan Draw no bet 2.38 (11/8) @ Ladbrokes