Saturday Premier League 3pm Tips: Villa can win crucial basement battle

Aston Villa's John McGinn
Mike fancies Aston Villa to record a vital home win on Saturay

We're about to embark on the busiest time of the season in domestic football and Mike Norman has a trio of tips in the Premier League to kick-off the Christmas period...

"At Villa Park Smith's men have lost only to Liverpool and Leicester since the middle of August, and those two excellent teams sit first and second in the table."

Back Aston Villa @ 2.526/4 to beat Southampton

Villa can secure vital three points

Aston Villa 2.526/4 v Southampton 2.942/1; Draw 3.7511/4

It can make a fool of you this game, that's for sure. After landing four from four winners the previous week I was brought back down to earth last week when 2/9 shots Chelsea and Leicester both failed to win, while the team that I opposed, Sheffield United, won cosily.

At least this Saturday afternoon we have no odds-on shots to be fooled by, but what that also means is that all five 3pm kick-offs have a tricky look to them.

The one team that I do expect to oblige in the Match Odds however is Aston Villa as I'm convinced that Dean Smith's men are a better team than their league position suggests.

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Villa currently sit 17th in the table, above Saturday's opponents Southampton only on goal difference. But I just feel that Smith's men have goals in them, especially when the brilliant Jack Grealish is on top form.

Villa have scored 23 league goals this term to the Saints' 18, and they've collected 11 of their 15 points in front of their own fans. In fact at Villa Park Smith's men have lost only to Liverpool and Leicester since the middle of August, and those two excellent teams sit first and second in the table.

It's fair to say that Villa are in just as poor form as Southampton but it's worth pointing out that Ralph Hasenhuttl's men have won none of their last six away games in all competitions and that last week against a West Ham side in poor form they were way below par.

A repeat of that performance, or their recent away form, and I think Villa take the points.

Magpies to edge past Palace

Newcastle 2.526/4 v Crystal Palace 3.412/5; Draw 3.259/4

You have to go back to the very first weekend of the season to find the last time Newcastle United lost a home game, and that fact alone makes them the team to beat when they host Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies actually acquitted themselves really well in that solitary home defeat - a 0-1 loss to Arsenal - and since then Steve Bruce's men have avoided defeat in all eight games at St James' Park (drew 1-1 before losing on penalties in the EFL Cup).

During that eight-game undefeated run Newcastle drew with the likes of Wolves, Leicester and Manchester City whiles also beating Manchester United. You'll find all those clubs in the top eight of the Premier League.

What's more, Bruce's men recorded vital wins over Bournemouth and Southampton recently, while also beating West Ham and in-form Sheffield United away from home, meaning Newcastle have actually won four of their last seven league games and five of their last 10.

Crystal Palace are above Newcastle in the table, but the margin is just one point and I'm not convinced Roy Hodgson's men are a top-half side. Their last five league wins have been against Aston Villa (17th in the table), Norwich (19th), West Ham (15th), Burnley (12th) and Bournemouth (14th).

Okay, it could be argued that Bruce's men are performing above expectations but the fact remains they currently sit above all those teams mentioned above, and given their excellent home record then I think they're worth backing to take another three points.

Stalemate on the card at Carrow Road

Norwich 3.953/1 v Wolves 2.021/1; Draw 4.03/1

For my last bet on Saturday I revert to a wager that has served me extremely well this season, and that is to back the Draw in matches where I really struggle to pick a winner.

I get quite amused when I hear people being accused of 'sitting on the fence' when they predict a football game to end all square. It's not sitting on the fence at all; every football match has three possible outcomes - a home win, an away win, or a draw - so predicting the game to end all square is simply saying that you can't choose between the two teams and that you don't think there'll be a winner.

Any tipster who shows a profit by backing draws in football games is an intelligent person in my book.

And the simple reason for that is, if you can't split two teams - ie, you don't want to back any of them to win at the prices - then backing the draw when it's the biggest-price option in the Match Odds is the logical thing to do.

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So there isn't really a lot to say about Norwich v Wolves other than that I don't want to back the Canaries at 3.953/1 and I don't want to back the away team at 2.021/1.

But let's throw in the fact that Wolves have drawn 11 (almost 40%) of their last 28 games in all competitions, and four (66%) of their last six away games have ended all square, while Norwich have drawn with Arsenal and Leicester in recent weeks.

True, Wolves are the better team but they're hardly prolific on the road and I think there's enough in the stats above to suggest the draw is a big player in this game at 4.03/1.

Good luck, and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas. I'll be back ahead of the traditional Boxing Day fixtures.


*You can follow Mike on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Mike's 2019/20 Season P/L:

Staked: 69 pts
Returned: 63.29 pts
P/L: -5.71 pts

- 2018/19 P/L = +10.97 pts from 112 pts staked (9.79% ROI
- 2017/18 P/L = +20.09 pts from 128 pts staked (15.69% ROI)
- 2016/17 P/L = +42.63 pts from 160 pts staked (26.64% ROI)
- 2015/16 P/L = +14.99 pts from 234 pts staked (6.4% ROI)
- 2014/15 P/L = +35.30 pts from 215 pts staked (16.42% ROI)

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