Villa Must Win at Home to Relegation-Threatened Wigan

Aston Villa have won three home games on the spin.

Aston Villa have won three home games on the spin.

Anyone who follows this column should have packed away a bit of Christmas money last week, because all three Championship bets landed the odds.

Newcastle and Forest got things underway on Friday night in an eventful clash – the over 2.5 goal bet coming in despite Forest missing two penalties and the Magpies finishing with nine men! Derby got the better of Wigan by a single goal on Saturday afternoon, while Fulham made a mockery of the over 2.5 goal bet by thrashing Reading 5-0.

We’re aiming for more of the same this Saturday, and the first tip is on Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa to beat lowly Wigan. The former Hull boss has made big strides since taking over at Villa Park, but is still struggling to have an impact on the Villains poor away record. In more familiar home surroundings Villa remain unbeaten in the league this season, and if they have any pretensions of climbing the league, they need to be beating teams in the bottom three.

Norwich bounced back to form with a bang last week, ending a run of five straight league defeats with an emphatic 5-0 home win against Brentford. The Canaries travel up to Barnsley for a tricky game on Saturday afternoon, but in light of their fairly poor away record (3 wins from 10), the best bet is on over 2.5 goals between two teams that score and concede in abundance.

Finally, Ian Holloway hasn’t quite had the desired effect at QPR since taking over a few weeks ago, but Rangers visit rock-bottom Rotherham this weekend. It’s a great opportunity for him to get back on track, but the Millers will be fighting tooth and nail for every point from here on in, and nobody got rich from backing QPR to win away games. Over 2.5 goals looks a much more viable bet in a match where both sides will go for the three points.

Aston Villa v Wigan

Aston Villa are -127  with Marathonbet to get the better of Wigan, and that strikes as a solid bet to get things started.

Despite their position of 15th in the Championship table, Villa are only six points outside the play offs in a congested division. Promotion is definitely still the target and in Steve Bruce they have a manager who knows how to do it at this level. As alluded to above, it’s not home form that’s a problem. The Villains are unbeaten in front of their own fans in nine Championship fixtures, and have won the last three at Villa Park.

Wigan are showing signs of improvement under Warren Joyce, and they have a good record at Villa Park in recent seasons. The Latics still sit 22nd in the table, and are in real danger of relegation, but a record of 2-1-2 over the last five fixtures will have lifted the mood. The Lancashire club are also unbeaten in five on the road, having lost the previous six in a row, but this is a tough game against a side that retains a smattering of Premier League quality.

Barnsley v Norwich

Norwich will be all the rage to pick up a second win now that they’re out of the doldrums, but over 2.5 goals is the call at -128  with Marathonbet

The Canaries went on a terrible run after being on the wrong end of a remarkable comeback at Newcastle, failing to win in seven league and cup games. They put that behind them in dramatic fashion last weekend at Carrow Road, thumping five past Brentford. With the mood lifted, they can go to Barnsley on the front foot and look for three points. The Norfolk club has slipped to 7th after that poor sequence, and have ground to make up in the title race.

Norwich’s Achilles heel this season has been at the back though, with the 30 goals conceded more than any other side in the top half. Thankfully for Canaries fans, their team is also the joint-second highest scoring side in the division with 34. Barnsley aren’t far behind with 32 goals for and 29 conceded, so the ingredients are in place for a high-scoring affair. Three of Barnsley’s last five and four of Norwich’s last five have had over 2.5 goals.

Rotherham v QPR

Finally the same bet applies when Rotherham take on QPR, and once again Marathonbet are offering the best odds of -104 .

After a decent victory against Norwich, Ian Holloway’s QPR return hasn’t quite lived up to its billing yet. Back-to-back defeats against Ipswich and Wolves in the last two will have brought everyone back down to earth, and there is work to do to restore this club to Premier League status. However, such is the congestion in the Championship, that even in 17th, they’re just eight points behind 6th placed Sheffield Wednesday.

No doubt Rangers will be eyeing three points to get them back on track against a Rotherham side which has lost an astonishing 11 of the last 12 games. With just seven points from 19 matches, the Millers are already cut adrift some 13 points from safety. QPR will have their backers, but one win in the last six on the road doesn’t inspire confidence – even against this Rotherham side.

Each of Rotherham’s last five games have had three or more goals, while all of Holloway’s three fixtures as QPR boss have gone the same way.

Tips Summary

Aston Villa to beat Wigan
Saturday 10th December, 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -127

Barnsley v Norwich – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 10th December, 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -128

Rotherham v QPR – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 10th December, 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -104