Modern day Manchester City have proven the unlikely fall guys to spark survival surges from teams deemed doomed prior to mid-season managerial changes in recent campaigns.
But, unfortunately for Aston Villa and Remi Garde, the Citizens’ shock losses tended to occur at Sunderland and, to further blacken their already gloomy prospects of success here, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have since passed the burden of an annual Black Cats beating onto Newcastle.
City were last felled by the Wearside outfit in November 2013/14, since then slip ups against those battling in the basement have been rare.
Burnley are the only drop contender to have got the better of them in the time that’s elapsed after the aforementioned Stadium of Light loss, while they’ve shared the spoils with those in peril on a further five occasions.
City’s merciless plundering of points from those in the mire this time around suggests no minnow shall be spared, spelling a disastrous start for Villa’s debuting dugout dweller.
Garde observed the Villans’ 3-1 loss at Tottenham this week, their sixth in succession across all competitions, and will have been busy concocting plans about how to improve a team with myriad flaws in defence and attack since.
Whether the Frenchman’s schemes to keep the club afloat ultimately prove successful or not, a game against the division’s mightiest opponent has come too soon for them to have any impact.
Win, Lose or Draw?
In a duel between plasticine and rolling pin, backing anything but a resounding win for the latter is a sure-fire way to lose money.
The Villa faithful are yet to savour a Premier League home win, while their heroes have given them just three top-flight goals to celebrate from five outings so far.
Such desperately poor form has rightly left the Villans shackled to the bottom of the table and those stationed at the top of the pile are nailed on to add to their mountain of misery here.
City have devoured easy meat this season with a ruthless aplomb that can be characterised as the truest characteristic of a championship-winning outfit.
Newcastle, who were winless in seven league games prior to their meeting with the Citizens, were vanquished 6-1.
Bournemouth and Sunderland were bashed by a combined score of 9-2, while Watford and Norwich also surrendered maximum points to Pellegrini’s powerhouses.
Furthermore, the Chilean has masterminded three victories over the Villans since going down 3-2 against the Midlands outfit in his first meeting with them, scoring an average of three goals in each of these games.
Administering the same dose will be more than enough for City.
Recommended bet: Man City (-1) to beat Aston Villa @ 6/5
While the prospect of City running amok is a very real one, when these two collide at Villa Park, the scoreline rarely treads into overs territory.
Just one of their last half-dozen duels at this venue have crossed the 2.5-goal threshold, but with the bookies expecting a routing there’s a great opportunity for the unders patrons to profit.
Adding further girth to this claim, three of City’s five Premier League away days would’ve brought this bet home and, with four road clean sheets to their name they’ll be confident of holding firm against Villa’s feeble frontline.
Recommended bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 11/10
Who’s going to score?
Fabian Delph returned from injury for City in the Champions League this week and, given how bad it’s going for Villa at the moment, their mind-changing, former skipper notching on his return to the Midlands seems scripted.
With four goals across his last six and two in three against this foe when playing for Swansea, the Ivorian rates a decent first-goalscorer punt.
Recommended bet: Bony to score first @ 7/2
A staggering six goals have been scored in the last three meetings between these two in the final ten minutes of play.
The net has bulged beyond the 80th-minute in each of Villa’s last three too, so if attending the game, resist the temptation to beat the traffic.
Recommended bet: Over 1.5 goals between 75:01 and full time @ 5/1
This article was kindly produced by News.Bwin.com