Villa have turned a corner and long gone are the days where fans felt the need to throw cabbages at their manager to vent their frustration. Steve Bruce’s tenure came to an end in a flurry of draws as Villa won just one game in ten Championship matches.
Dean Smith has breathed new life into his Villa charges and they have won three of their last five games. Their most recent win, a 3-0 victory at Derby County, was particularly impressive and came as a real statement of intent.
Birmingham, on the other hand, have been patchy on the road this season, winning just two of their eight games on their travels. They took the scalp of Leeds United at Elland Road, but also fell to lowly Bolton, so their away form is hard to gauge.
Not since 2004, however, have Birmingham won at Villa Park, with Villa winning six of their last seven home games against their bitter rivals and we expect Villa to enjoy home comforts again this Sunday.
Birmingham have not scored at Villa Park since they were beaten 5-1 there in 2008. That also marks the last time more than two goals have been scored in a league game featuring these two.
Derby games are low-scoring as a general rule, but Villa and Birmingham have taken that to the extreme in recent years.
A 1-0 Villa victory has been the most common result since that 5-1 drubbing, occurring four times in the last decade. History is very much against Birmingham scoring on Sunday, as is Villa’s recent form.
With John Terry as their new assistant manager, the Villains seem more defensively astute and have kept clean sheets in each of their last two home matches, winning 1-0 and 2-0. We think they’re a very good bet to win Sunday’s derby by either scoreline.
Abraham has an excellent record in the Championship, scoring 23 times during his loan spell with Bristol City and already bagging five goals with Villa.
After a difficult season with Swansea last year, Abraham seems to have rediscovered his goalscoring touch.
With a goal every 180 minutes, he’s Villa’s top scorer this season and he has hit the target with 61% of his shots. At 7/5 he represents good value to score on Sunday.
Odds correct at time of posting.