Aston Villa worth opposing as the top Midlands club

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Aston Villa may have Christian Benteke in their ranks, but that didn’t stop them finishing 15th in the Premier League last season and with the other clubs having also improved, Villa’s 21/20 price looks a little skinny.

While Paul Lambert must be applauded for his efforts in keeping Beneteke at the club this summer, they will still face stiff competition for Midlands bragging rights after a really difficult season in 2012/13.

There’s certainly a scope for a big improvement at Villa Park with a host of new additions, including assured-looking defender Jores Okore, but there’s also a bedding in period to be expected while they attempt to gel.

Meanwhile, in Steve Clarke’s first season in charge last term, West Brom actually recorded their highest ever Premier League finish of eighth and the Scot’s busy deadline day in the transfer market suggests he’s fully intent on kicking on.

When you consider the attacking options now available to the Baggies their 11/4 as outsiders in the market looks the most appealing pick.

Despite losing the goals of Romelu Lukaku, the combined powers of Stephane Sessegnon, Shane Long, Victor Anichebe and one-time Premier League top scorer Nicolas Anelka is not to be taken lightly.

Added to this, they also picked up the services of highly-rated Udinese attacker Matej Vydra, who was so impressive on-loan at Watford in the Championship.

Furthermore, while Villa have got off to a shaky start, new Stoke boss Mark Hughes can already point to two wins for his 15/8-rated Potters.

Stoke have already shown signs under Sparky of shifting away from their long-ball tag and unlike Villa can make their home a fortress.

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

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