When you think of claret and blue, who do you think of? Hopefully not the referee, as he prays that one of these remembered to bring their away kit.
I’ve finished all my terrible jokes now – here’s the three best bets for this clash in Aston. Aston, not Birmingham – note the difference, and note my bio for my bias.
Aston Villa have shipped six goals in their four games to date, and that’s a bad enough return in the first place.
But when you dig deeper into the big data, you find that actually, they should have conceded significantly more. Their xG against is a massive 2.34, which is positively the worst defensive showing in the league to date. Now, we can grant you that they’d played Spurs, Bournemouth and Everton – three teams that absolutely bombard the overloads and generally score more than most.
But at the same time, their luck is going to run out, and those averages will come back to bite them. West Ham, by the same token, have scored below their xG total – something that will amend itself in time. This seems like the perfect storm.
West Ham play on the break away from home above the league average, and Haller is always central to these moves.
They have pace to burn, and whether those balls come in the air, or across the face of goal, Haller has the skill set to punish teams either way. He might be the most complete striker in the league and can impose himself on any particular style of play.
And, unsurprisingly, the reason Villa’s xG at home is so high means they’re susceptible to the break.
Trezeguet doesn’t cover Elmohamady half as much as he should, isolating Douglas Luis to cover that side, when he’s the only holding midfielder accommodating for both McGinn and Grealish’s advances.
West Ham: Draw No Bet (4/5)
As this is a best bets piece, I couldn’t sit here and rack up a multiple just to get your pulses racing. If you want to tun profit on this match, I recommend you back West Ham with no-draw insurance to cover yourself.
West Ham will score – of that, I am completely certain – but Grealish is one of the players that can produce something out of nothing. I like things that are consistent, but a midfield pairing of Grealish and McGinn isn’t reliable.
They’re not like normal footballers. They’re ball carriers and players who shoot from distances they shouldn’t to levels of success they’re simply not entitled to.
Take the draw-no-bet cover here. It’s the wise play.