Aston Villa v Crystal Palace: Visitors set for Boxing Day upset

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Over the last 11 league games, Aston Villa have won just twice. Preferring to add to their tally just one point at a time rather than in bunches of three.

In that same period of time, Crystal Palace, the league’s supposed whipping boys and sure-fire certs to finish bottom, have collected an identical number of points as Villa’s 10.

They have done so by winning three times and have clawed back a deficit from safety that looked beyond them before Tony Pulis arrived.

When they travel to Villa Park as Boxing Day guests, it is the baseball cap wearer’s charges that will feel more confident of a win, something the odds certainly do not predict, at 7/2.

Villa are the 5/6 favourites to claim the spoils while a draw is 12/5, but it’s for the visiting Eagles that the money should be going.

Villa have lost three games on the spin ahead of this battle, to Fulham, Manchester United and Stoke and their fluctuating form must frustrate even the most hardened of fans.

At home, only two teams have lost more league games this season than Paul Lambert’s side and the one draw to their name in the eight games so far indicates they aren’t particularly steadfast unless they are playing well.

That, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of philosophy that Pulis prides himself on and it is a method that has already been felt as his new side dragged their way back to within one point of safety.

If a straight bet on Palace winning doesn’t appeal, then what about the 16/5 on them scoring exactly two or three goals in the game?

Villa have conceded at least twice in five of their last six matches in all bar three of their home games in the league this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.