Premier League: Aston Villa 'invincibles' to build on overdue success

Ciaran Clark scored the opener for Aston Villa against Wycombe in their FA Cup third round replay
Ciaran Clark scored the opener for Aston Villa against Wycombe in their FA Cup third round replay

After a run of 11 defeats in 15 in which they didn't win once, Aston Villa are unbeaten in four - and counting...


"Relegation is still considered inevitable at 1.081/12, yet the fixture list presents Remi Garde with a great chance of prolonging this momentum by serving them up a multitude of opponents who spill points far more freely than the Palace and Leicester squads that they just raided."

Aston Villa fans may have been booing at various stages of their FA Cup third-round replay with Wycombe as they struggled to break down the League Two club, but two goals in the closing 16 minutes allowed them to soak in that winning feeling for only the second time in 19 matches.

Even more encouragingly, it takes their current unbeaten run to four games - two in the cup and two in the Premier League - which is a significant step forward for a side who hadn't gone more than two encounters without a loss at any prior point in this miserable campaign.

As well as the progress past the Chairboys, Villa have defeated eighth-placed Crystal Palace and held joint-leaders Leicester in the Premier League to reach 12 points, eliminating the fear that they would undertake Derby circa 2007/08 as the worst team the esteemed division had ever seen.

Relegation is still considered inevitable at 1.081/12, yet the fixture list presents Remi Garde with a great chance of prolonging this momentum by serving them up a multitude of opponents who spill points far more freely than the Eagles and Foxes squads that they just raided.

Next up are West Brom away, and the Villans have been bettered on only two of their last 13 visits to their west midland rivals. The Baggies have already lost five league games at The Hawthorns this term, including three of their five against bottom-half companions. 4.1 looks a pretty large price on Villa making it three victories in five, while those seeking a safer option can lay the hosts at 2.186/5.

Manchester City certainly wouldn't have been their first choice as FA Cup fourth round foes, but there are a few reasons to be optimistic. The first is that they earned a 0-0 draw against them in November when on a seven-match league losing streak.

The second is that they prevailed in their previous cup clash three seasons ago - at the Etihad Stadium no less - with the third being the Citizens' vulnerability to FA Cup upsets, failing in the final against Wigan - who were relegated - in 2012/13, exiting to the Latics again following their drop into the Championship in 2013/14 and then bowing out at home to Middlesbrough at this stage last year.

After that is a midweek trip to West Ham, who they held at Villa Park on Boxing Day, and the second-city strugglers have been conquered on a mere two of their eight days out at the Boleyn Ground in the last decade.

Four days later, they return home to entertain Norwich, who have suffered seven away league reverses in eight, and even the thought of welcoming Liverpool a week later needn't provoke alarm. The Reds are winless in three top-flight assignments, triumphing twice in eight and five times in 14 attempts throughout Jurgen Klopp's tenure.

So that is at least four successive league games that Villa should be going into confident of collecting a point or more. Those results might not be enough to secure survival, yet they would at least close the gap on the teams above them, hinting that they are worth laying at 1.3130/100 in the Rock Bottom market, potentially with a view to cashing out in a month.

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