ALL SQUARE AT VILLA PARK
Even though Aston Villa’s perfect start to the season has come to an end, their defeat to Leeds last Friday should not overshadow the work that Dean Smith and his players have displayed in the first few weeks of the campaign.
With the West Midlands outfit finishing just outside the relegation zone last season, there has been quite the turnaround at Villa Park and if the reverse to Marcelo Bielsa’s men is a blip rather than the norm, then it could be a rather promising season for the 1982 European Cup winners.
Villa go into the weekend currently lying third in the table and with a game in hand still, they could eventually go top of the table if results continue to go their way. Then again, that might be just a small leap of faith for the likes of Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley.
Especially. as they play host to a resurgent Southampton this weekend and although the Saints lost their first two outings of the new season, they are now unbeaten in the four fixtures that have subsequently followed.
This has meant that the South Coast outfit have picked up 10 points from the last 12 on offer and it is fair to say that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men are proving to be a rather tough nut to crack, especially on the evidence of last Sunday.
That was the day that they got the better of league leaders Everton and if that level of performance can be offered every seven days, then the previous target of a Southampton top half finish may have to be revisited.
With these two sides looking upwardly mobile at present, it is hard to pick a definitive winner and therefore, it might prove more shrewd to back a share of the points when Aston Villa and Southampton square off this Sunday lunchtime.
Summary: Back the draw at 3.75
A PERFECT TOTTENHAM PERFORMANCE
It is fair to say that Tottenham have been one of the more entertaining teams of the season so far and with their generosity at one end sometimes undoing their hard work at the other, their current fifth place standing does not really tell the full story in North London.
A story that saw another chapter being written on Monday night, as they got the better of Burnley at Turf Moor and with Hueng-min Son’s late header being the difference, it can only be described as a smash and grab victory.
However, when it comes to wins, they all count and with a clean sheet also in Tottenham’s possession it means the previous generosity that has been on show at their new home, will hopefully become a thing of the past for manager Jose Mourinho.
While if that is to be the case, it does not bode well for a Brighton side who are looking more over their shoulder than opposed to up the table and even at this early stage of proceedings, it does look like that the bottom five now will be the bottom five at the end of the season.
Tottenham are yet to win at home in the league this season and they will look to put that right on Sunday. Should they do so, the value will not be in them just picking up all three points but also keeping a clean sheet.
Value that sees a Tottenham win and no BTTS come in at 3.10 and with odds that good, crazy season or not they are almost too good to turn down. Which means my advice would be not to turn them down.
Summary: Back Tottenham and a clean sheet
A QUICKFIRE LOOK
There might be a little bit of value in a treble of the big guns this weekend, as surely things have got to start clicking across the board and with Liverpool at home to West Ham, they can be placed as the first leg of this treble.
Add to the slip Manchester City and their trip to a struggling Sheffield United. Pep Guardiola’s men may not be firing on all cylinders but a visit to Bramall Lane might just give them the perfect ignition spark.
Finally, the third leg of this treble will see Frank Lampard’s Chelsea get the better of Burnley and this will only pile more misery on the shoulders of an already angry Sean Dyche. Which means all three combined will pay out odds of 2.91, not bad at all.
Summary: Back Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea