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One of the English Premier League dead rubbers throws up the best betting opportunity in the final round of games as one expects Aston Villa to beat one of the division’s other teams adorned in claret and blues, Burnley, on Sunday.
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is not the most placid of characters so one can only imagine what he said to his team at half time of last weekend’s English Premier League match versus Southampton in which the Villans trailed 0-5 after 38 minutes. Aston Villa did not experience a great deal of luck against Southampton because most of the Saints goals owed a lot of unkind bounces of the ball but, maybe, it was not the end of the world for Sherwood because the Villans ended the game safe from English Premier League relegation due to results elsewhere and he was given a stick with which to beat his side going into the English FA Cup final.
Sherwood’s team talk for Sunday’s English Premier League match versus Burnley should not require hours of scripting: go out and prove that the Southampton game was a fluke and that you are worth your place for the English FA Cup final.
Aston Villa under Sherwood has been a complete contrast to Aston Villa under Paul Lambert, with the Villans scoring at least one goal in each of their last eight games across all competitions. Burnley, on the other hand, has dropped out of the English Premier League largely due to its inability to hit the back of the net – the Clarets have fired blanks in nine of their last 11 divisional matches, scoring just two goals over that stretch dating back to late February.
Coral and PaddyPower are offering odds of 11/10 2.10 +110 1.10 1.10 -0.91 that Aston Villa, which will line up against Arsenal in the English FA Cup final next weekend, gets the better of Burnley at Villa Park. One thinks that Aston Villa will be odds on before Mike Jones blows his whistle to start the dead rubber.
Southampton is an English Premier League team that wants to participate in the UEFA Europa League, with Saints manager Ronald Koeman saying that the Saints will feel like their season has been a failure if they miss out on the event.
It is up in the air as to which English Premier League spots will reward their occupants with UEFA Europa League tickets but it is safe to assume that Southampton will approach its match at Manchester City with a positive attitude because the Saints may need to beat the Citizens to get in.
One flew in the face of English Premier League statistics to pick Southampton’s game versus Aston Villa to go over two and a half goals – it was a nice surprise to see the bet paid out after 16 minutes – and one is going to fly in the face of the same data to pick over two and a half goals in the match between Manchester City and the Saints.
Manchester City skews over two and a half goals – 22 of its 37 English Premier League games have gone over that line, including 10 of its 18 home matches – but Southampton has been one of the top flight’s least entertaining sides. Twenty-three of Southampton’s 37 English Premier League games have gone under two and a half goals, including 12 of its 18 away matches. But needs must and one expects to see Southampton participate in an open Etihad Stadium game.
Finally, Coral is taking a bit of risk in listing odds of 11/4 3.75 +275 2.75 2.75 -0.36 that Steven Gerrard scores on his last appearance for Liverpool before linking up with Major League Soccer team Los Angeles. One can see every set piece close to Stoke’s goal being left to Gerrard and, of course, he will get the job from 12 yards if Liverpool receives a penalty kick. Gerrard has scored eight English Premier League goals – six singles and one double – in 28 appearances so he has a 25 per cent strike rate, which equates to odds of 3/1 4.00 +300 3.00 3.00 -0.33 . One was expecting to see a Gerrard goal at odds of around 9/4 3.25 +225 2.25 2.25 -0.44 .
Steven Gerrard to score v Stoke
24th May 15:00 GMT
Odds: 11/4 3.75 +275 2.75 2.75 -0.36
Where to Bet: Coral