Aston Villa v Birmingham City Betting Tips: Goals at both ends in Midlands clash
Football writer Thomas Giles previews the upcoming Championship match and second city derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City.
Sunday’s Championship match is a spicy West Midlands derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Villa no longer have much to play for whilst Birmingham, now under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, have all to play for as they battle to stay in the league.
Aston Villa had a very slight chance of making the play-offs with a few games to go, however, with one point taken from a possible nine in their last three, their task is now virtually impossible. Having said that, with this match being a Birmingham derby, do not expect Villa to have their flip-flops on.
In their recent run of seven wins in eight matches, Steve Bruce’s side were very solid at the back with just one goal conceded. However, they have now gone a bit awry in defence with no clean sheet in their last three, conceding seven in the process. They have not had much of an attacking threat throughout the season and, after being sent off against Fulham on Easter Monday, top scorer and main threat Jonathan Kodija will miss the derby.
The Lions’ fantastic home winning streak of five, along with no goals conceded, came to a crashing end last weekend with a 3-1 defeat to play-off hopefuls Reading. However, they have got a good record against Birmingham at Villa Park in recent matches with two victories and no goals conceded in their last three in all competitions.
Gianfranco Zola’s position as Birmingham City manager became untenable a long while ago but things finally came to a head in their last match against relegation rivals Burton Albion. The crowd were very vocal in their discontent and, as a consequence and to Zola’s credit, he did the dignified thing and walked. Harry Redknapp has been appointed to galvanise the team and Birmingham fans are now a lot more positive than they were a few days ago.
Zola had tried to get Blues to play the ‘beautiful game’ but it failed miserably as they struggled to find the back of the net and had real problems at the back with no clean sheets in their last five. Although we cannot expect immediate change under Redknapp, he will no doubt have instilled a bit of confidence throughout the days leading up to this match which could help at both ends of the field.
Away form has been pretty woeful for Birmingham in recent weeks with their last win coming back in February – Zola’s only away win in charge of the club. However, it is worth noting that this victory came against Wolves, another Midlands rival. Birmingham will take home from the fact that form goes out the window in these derby matches and will perhaps even carry some confidence.
Villa are the favourites here, however, I think the Redknapp factor is key and I would not be surprised to see Birmingham pick up at least a point on Sunday. Derby matches are hard to call, especially in these circumstances, but, with neither side being particularly great defensively, both teams could easily score. Backing ‘Both Teams to Score’ looks a good bet.
Sunday’s Premier League tips can be found here.
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