Both Aston Villa and Reading will begin this crunch clash in the relegation zone courtesy of their failures to win last time out; whoever can claim the spoils here will be stealing a vital march in their quest for survival.
Paul Lambert is currently finding out that football management isn’t the walk in the park he made it out to be prior to his Villa days and his side are currently six points worse off than at this stage last season. They’re 1/1 favourites to beat the Royals, but with just one Premier League home win to date, it may be worth having a bet on the visitors at 11/4.
This fixture hasn’t produced a stalemate in nine meetings and, with both desperate for points, sidestep the 23/10 that says this will be the first drawn meeting between the pair since 1986.
Jordi Gomez’s injury-time winner at the DW meant that Brian McDermott’s men have now squandered winning positions in three of their last four on the road. They’ve taken just two points in this spell, despite being on course for nine in total.
Nevertheless, the 11/8 available for them to take the lead here has to be worth a bet, while the 7/2 on offer for Villa to come from behind and get a result also offers value.
With seven goals on their travels, Reading can match the tally boasted by the mighty Manchester City and with just three blanks drawn in their struggling Premier League campaign to date, 7/4 is an enticing price for them to fire over 1.5 goals past Brad Guzan in the Villa net.
The hosts’ bleak situation stems from a struggle for goals. Under Lambert, they’ve troubled the scorers more than once on just two occasions in the league to date.
If Reading can frustrate them early doors, anxiety from the terraces is likely to spill onto the pitch and nerves are likely to get the better of the Villans.
This makes the 7/1 for the game to be all square at half-time with Reading winning it after the break the best bet available on this one.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date