English Premier League

Aston Villa v Liverpool: 3/1 home win looks a great price

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery
Unai Emery's Villa side are looking to cement a top four finish

Aston Villa host Liverpool in the Monday Night Football for a game that has everything riding on it for one team, but nothing for the other. Mike Norman previews the action...

Aston Villa v Liverpool
Monday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports

Spurs win keeps this match honest

We have Tottenham's 2-1 win over Burnley on Saturday to thank for Monday night's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Liverpool not being a complete dead rubber.

Had Spurs not come from a goal down to claim all three points against the Clarets, Villa would have had fourth position all wrapped up with no chance of finishing any higher.

And as we now know, Manchester City's 4-0 win at Fulham on Saturday means that Liverpool's title race is now run. They will finish the season in third position thanks to a stuttering end to their campaign.

1 Man City 38 28 7 3 96 34 91 0 0 0
2 Arsenal 38 28 5 5 91 29 89 0 0 0
3 Liverpool 38 24 10 4 86 41 82 0 0 0
4 Aston Villa 38 20 8 10 76 61 68 0 0 0
5 Tottenham 38 20 6 12 74 61 66 0 0 0
6 Chelsea 38 18 9 11 77 63 63 0 0 0
7 Newcastle 38 18 6 14 85 62 60 0 0 0
8 Man Utd 38 18 6 14 57 58 60 0 0 0
9 West Ham 38 14 10 14 60 74 52 0 0 0
10 Crystal Palace 38 13 10 15 57 58 49 0 0 0
11 Brighton 38 12 12 14 55 62 48 0 0 0
12 Bournemouth 38 13 9 16 54 67 48 0 0 0
13 Fulham 38 13 8 17 55 61 47 0 0 0
14 Wolves 38 13 7 18 50 65 46 0 0 0
15 Everton 38 13 9 16 40 51 40 0 0 0
16 Brentford 38 10 9 19 56 65 39 0 0 0
17 Nottm Forest 38 9 9 20 49 67 32 0 0 0
18 Luton 38 6 8 24 52 85 26 0 0 0
19 Burnley 38 5 9 24 41 78 24 0 0 0
20 Sheff Utd 38 3 7 28 35 104 16 0 0 0
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Mixed form for both sides

Villa go into this game knowing that a win will secure a top four finish, and with it, qualification to next season's revamped Champions League. However, their recent form has been very uninspiring.

Unai Emery's men have lost three on the spin, and won just one of their last six in all competitions. They were strong favourites to win this season's Europa Conference League at the semi-final stage, but a 6-2 aggregate defeat to Olympiakos ended their hopes of finishing the season with a trophy.

Villa lost three home league games within a few weeks at the start of the year, but they'd previously won 15 on the spin in front of their own fans, and they're now unbeaten in four at Villa Park, so their home form remains a plus.

Liverpool's title hopes were derailed in early April when they failed to beat Manchester United and then lost at home to Crystal Palace, despite dominating both games and creating a plethora of goalscoring chances.

Like Villa, Jurgen Klopp's men were favourites at the semi-final stage to win the Europa League, but a shocking 3-0 home defeat to Atalanta put pay to those hopes, and they've now won just one of their last four Premier League games on the road.

Villa more than a fair price to win

With fourth hosting third, and there being absolutely nothing to separate the two sides on recent form (both clubs have taken exactly eight points from the last 18 available), I was a little surprised to see Liverpool available to back at 8/111.73 in the Match Odds market.

It's even more surprising when you consider that the Reds have absolutely nothing to play for here, while their opponents - who have a very strong home record - will be determined to claim the win that will secure a top four finish.

Match Preview

Aston Villa - Liverpool
Aston Villa
  1. L
  2. D
  3. L
  4. D
  5. W
  6. W
  1. W
  2. D
  3. W
  4. D
  5. L
  6. W
Full Stats Powered by Opta

I'll be honest though, I do find predicting outcomes of games where one or both teams have nothing to play for very difficult because you just don't know how they'll approach the game.

I don't believe any player would deliberately set out to underperform, but subconsciously you can switch off, not run that extra five yards, not go 100% committed into a tackle etc, and at this level, that can make a huge difference.

So with Liverpool the only team in this game with the potential to underperform on the 'nothing to play for' basis then I'm more than happy to back Villa to win at 3/14.00.

And in truth, I'd have been very interested in backing an Aston Villa win at this price even if Liverpool did still have an outside chance of winning the title. The draw can be backed at 5/23.50.

Shot kings Liverpool can deliver again

Okay, time to hold my hands up. Last week I put up a high Crystal Palace shots count and said the 7/18.00 (for 25+ shots) was my best bet of the season. Best bets can still lose, and more will lose than win at those odds, so I'm far from disappointed with the bet.

My downfall was that Palace were very tentative in the first half and only managed five shots. They managed to get to 18 in total, but another aspect that went against us was that they had the game wrapped up early in the second half and didn't have to go at Man United.

The price was cut to 5/16.00 before kick-off so I maintain that the initial odds were too big. On another day the bet could easily have landed.

The reason I mention this is because I'm tempted by another shots bet this week, simply because Liverpool, the shot kings in recent weeks, are in action.

Incredibly, Liverpool's last eight league games have resulted in them having 198 shots, that's an average of 24.75 per game. They managed 21 shots or more in seven of those eight matches.

And the above numbers don't drop significantly when you just consider Liverpool's away games in that sequence. The Reds registered 93 shots in those four road trips for an average of 23.25 shots per game.

I'm not going to push the boat out as far as I did last week but I do like the price of 2/13.00 about Liverpool to register at least 21 shots, as I say, it's something that has happened in seven of their last eight Premier League games.

This will be my final Monday Night Football preview of the season so hopefully we go out with a winner (or two). Regardless of the outcome, we'll finish the season with a small profit, and that's never a bad thing in this game.

Until next season, be lucky!

Now read more Premier League previews and tips here.

Recommended bets

Mike's 2023/24 Profit/Loss

Staked: 47 pts
Returned: 52.84pts
P/L: +5.84 pts

*Based on 2 pts win main bet (first listed or only bet), 1 pt win all other bets


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