With the return of domestic football this week it’s back to the bread and butter in the Championship of earning points week in week out. The transfer window has closed and managers have more settled squads to work with, and international players have returned after the two-game break.
One player returning from representing his country and going to a new club is Robert Snodgrass, the Scottish winger who has completed a loan move from West Ham to Aston Villa. Snodgrass said it was an easy decision to go to Villa Park where he will be reunited with former manager at Hull, Steve Bruce. The signing brings in another player of Premier League quality to the Midlands club, and much will depend on his attacking qualities and John Terry’s defensive class. The Villains are languishing in 18th place in the Championship table with just one win from the opening five games, so the pressure is on to put things right at home to Brentford on Saturday.
Another former Premier League club struggling at the foot of the table is Norwich. The Canaries are in the relegation zone under new boss Daniel Farke, and on Saturday play host to a Birmingham side which is level on points and two places above the Norfolk club. Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp was involved in his typical transfer window wheeler-dealing, and broke the Blues club record by signing winger Jota from Brentford for a fee in excess of £6 million.
At the other end of the table Cardiff are the only side with a 100% record – five wins from five, ten goals scored, and just two conceded. They are a huge price when they travel to London to face Fulham on Saturday, and it could be worth taking the chance that the fairy-tale start continues for at least one more game.
Aston Villa v Brentford
First up, one wouldn’t expect to see Villa at odds against for many home matches this season, but they are priced at 53/502.06+1061.061.06-0.94 at Marathonbet.
The odds are particularly surprising because Villa are hosting a Brentford side which is yet to win this season ans sits second bottom of the table. It is true that the Villains have only mustered one victory this term – a 4-2 win at home to Norwich – but it’s worth noting that three of their fixtures so far in the league have been away from home.
Steve Bruce has admitted that there is a problem with away form at the club, something he has been battling against since his arrival, but home form has been remarkably consistent. Three competitive games at Villa park this term have resulted in a 1-1 draw with Hull on the opening day, the 4-2 beating of Norwich, and a 4-1 Carabao Cup victory over Wigan.
Brentford did manage an impressive 4-1 win away at QPR in that cup competition, but have lost both away games in the league without scoring a goal – 1-0 at Sheffield United and 2-0 at Ipswich. The Bees are already in the relegation zone and are going to have to adjust to life without Jota and former captain Harlee Dean who have both made teh switch to Birmingham.
This is a good chance for Villa to get their season back up and running, and the quotes of even odds could look very generous once the final whistle is blown.
Norwich v Birmingham
Over 2.5 goals looks to be a fair bet in almost any Norwich game, and it’s a trend that has continued since last season. We’re backing the Canaries and the Blues to combine for more than the three goals at 41/501.82-1220.82-1.220.82 again with Marathonbet.
Five of Norwich’s seven fixtures this season have gone over the 2.5 goal line, most of them comfortably winning the bet. The Canaries last home game was a 4-1 win over Charlton, but that was sandwiched by a 4-2 defeat at Villa and a 4-0 humiliation at Millwall last time out. Former Borussia Dortmund II boss Daniel Farke has had a tough introduction to English football, but he will surely understand the cut and thrust of Championship football by now. A place in the relegation zone is far from desirable, but at this stage of the season a couple of wins can send a team soaring up the table. There is no doubt Norwich will approach this game with attacking intent in search of three points.
Defensive football isn’t really Harry Redknapp’s forte either, so it could be a very entertaining end-to-end game at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon. Redknapp has made 14 signings this summer, adding to the quality already at the club and he will be expected to mould a team capable of challenging for the play offs. They might well spring a surprise in this game, but over 2.5 goals is the safer bet in a game that ought to produce plenty of action.
Fulham v Cardiff
All good things must come to an end, but it might not be this week for Neil Warnock and Cardiff. At odds of 11/43.75+2752.752.75-0.36 with Bet365 and Betfair it’s worth getting on the Bluebirds to win their sixth consecutive Championship game.
It’s hard to knock what Cardiff have achieved so far. They trounced Aston Villa 3-0 at home a few weeks ago, and have also won on the road at one of the divisions form teams, Wolves. Other victories have come over Sheffield United, QPR and Burton – three home wins and two away wins overall.
Fulham are traditionally a strong side at home, and were among the preseason favourites for the title after missing out in the play offs last term. Things haven’t quite gone to plan so far though as the Cottagers have struggled for goals and have only managed one win in five. They’ve also failed to win on home soil in three competitive games this season, drawing 1-1 with Norwich and losing 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday in the league, and Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
Aston Villa to beat Brentford
Saturday 9th September, 15:00 GMT
Norwich v Birmingham – Over 2.5 goals
Saturday 9th September, 15:00 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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