Aston Villa have finished as the highest placed Midlands club in every Premier League season since 2003 and if they want to continue this run they may need to take maximum points from their short trip to West Brom.
Only three points currently separate Villa, West Brom and Birmingham with four games remaining and Roy Hodgson’s team can take the initiative with a victory over Villa.
West Brom have lost just one of their last nine Premier League games to ease clear of the relegation places and are 13/10 to beat Aston Villa.
Gary McAllister will once again take charge of Villa in Gerard Houllier’s absence and will have noted that the hosts have only won one of their last six at the Hawthorns.
Villa are unbeaten in their last four games and have set themselves the goal of extending this form until the end of the campaign.
They are unbeaten against West Brom in the Premier League and have not been defeated by their Midlands rivals in 17 meetings.
Villa’s odds are 21/10 to beat West Brom, with the draw priced at 23/10.
Villa have made a habit of beating West Brom 2-1 in recent seasons and therefore it may pay to favour them taking the points by this scoreline again.
Four of the last five meetings have been won 2-1 by Villa, including each of the last two at the Hawthorns and the corresponding fixture at Villa Park earlier this season.
It is 10/1 in the Premier League odds that Villa triumph 2-1 again and another bet worth considering is that both teams find the target, which has occurred in seven of the last eight showdowns.
Darren Bent has scored in Aston Villa’s last three away games and looks overpriced to strike again within the 90 minutes at 6/5.
A £30 stake on Aston Villa beating West Brom 2-1 would return £300. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.