Stadium of Light to host another dull game

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BetVictor is offering odds of -167  that Sunderland and Aston Villa combine for under two and a half goals when they meet in a critically important English Premier League relegation six-pointer at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

One does not think that any bookmaker will do much business on over two and a half goals in the biggest of several big matches at the foot of the English Premier League ladder this weekend, with any number of statistics pointing to Sunderland and Aston Villa going under the popular line.

First, the reverse English Premier League fixture between Sunderland and Aston Villa resulted in a 0-0 draw at Villa Park just after Christmas. The match did not produce a goal even though Aston Villa played from the 49th minute onwards with just 10 men following the dismissal of Fabian Delph for a late lunge on Jordi Gomez that earned him a straight red card. Sunderland and Aston Villa managed a feeble five efforts on target between them during the entire game.

Second, Sunderland and Aston Villa are the kings of under two and a half goals in the English Premier League. Both Sunderland and Aston Villa have played 28 English Premier League matches, with no fewer than 19 Black Cats games and 18 Villans games going under two and a half goals. When it comes to English Premier League home matches, Sunderland’s 10-4 score in favour of under two and a half goals is the division’s best, while Aston Villa’s 11-3 score leads the travelling ranks in terms of going under the common line.

And third, the huge importance of Saturday’s English Premier League game is such that one would expect nothing less than a cagey affair in which both Sunderland and Aston Villa play risk-adverse football. Neither Sunderland boss Gus Poyet nor Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood will say it publicly but, if offered a point before kick off, each of them would take it and run for the hills. Both teams will fear losing and one’s bet is that they will play with fear in their souls.

Not often does one advocate backing correct scores but there is a compelling case for having a stab at Sunderland and Aston Villa playing out another English Premier League 0-0 draw. Sunderland has featured in seven English Premier League’s 0-0 draws and Aston Villa’s tally stands at four. Coral may regret sticking out with its 0-0 odds of +700 .

Of the conventional bets available on this weekend’s English Premier League coupon the best is Arsenal at odds of -227  with many bookmakers, including Bwin, PaddyPower and SkyBet, to defeat West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Arsenal beat West Ham 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground when the London rivals met in the English Premier League four months ago and, since then, the Hammers have slid down the ladder to occupy 10th place. West Ham has got the better of only Hull (3-0 at home) in its last 11 English Premier League matches and the Hammers have struggled away from home against the division’s big guns such as Arsenal.

One tends to steer clear of derby games but Arsenal does not seem to have a problem defeating West Ham, with the Gunners having won each of their last nine matches versus the Hammers across all competitions. One has to go back to 2007 for the last time that Arsenal lost a game to West Ham.

Finally, Liverpool smashed Swansea 4-1 at Anfield and that was long before Brendan Rodgers found the key to unlocking the Reds and their post-Luis Suarez potential. The English Premier League rematch rounds off the program on Monday, with Liverpool attractively listed at odds of +105  with Ladbrokes and WilliamHill for maximum points on the road.

Tips Summary

Sunderland v Aston Villa Under 2.5 goals (0-0)
14th March 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -167  ( +700 )
Where to Bet: BetVictorCoral

Arsenal to beat West Ham
14th March 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -227
Where to Bet: Bwin, PaddyPower, SkyBet

Liverpool to beat Swansea
16th March 20:00 GMT
Odds:  +105
Where to Bet: Ladbrokes, WilliamHill

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