The football is really in full flow now and already there is talk about sackings, teams being cut adrift and the odd surprise or two in the Championship. One surprise has been Aston Villa’s start to the campaign, and Steve Bruce’s side are one of four teams we profile in the two clashes in the second tier on Friday night…
Following a pretty poor start to the campaign, Villa are on the march again and confidence will have been boosted by their big win against Norwich City at home last week. The mood will have lifted and they will include a man bang in form for the trip to Bristol City on Friday night following Conor Hourihane’s hat-trick against the Canaries last Saturday.
Hosts Bristol City have started well themselves but haven’t won in their last three, which will be a concern for boss Lee Johnson. The squad has been unsettled in the last few weeks following reports linking defenders Aden Flint and Joe Bryan with moves elsewhere, and, with the window shutting in less than a week, it’s imperative for the Robins to cling onto two of their regular back four.
Anyway, enough of the transfer market, it’s time to look at the facts – as Rafa Benitez once infamously alluded to. This will be just the third meeting since 1982, with Bristol City winning this same fixture 3-1 almost a year to the day ago. However, Villa – who are likely to include former City striker Jonathan Kodjia in their squad for the trip to Ashton Gate – did win the last meeting at Villa Park only a few months.
What We Sayin’?
Villa will see this one as a must-win as they look to make up ground on those leading the way in the division, however we think this one will be a difficult test for a team who were awful on the road last term. A 1-1 draw at 5/1 would be our pick.
So far it’s been a real baptism of fire for newly promoted Bolton Wanderers in their first campaign back in the second tier after a year in League One. They’re currently sitting in the bottom three, and whilst it’s perhaps too early to start frantically hitting the panic buttons, the Trotters won’t want to be plonkers and start getting cut adrift from the rest above them.
For opponents Hull, they’ve surprisingly made a decent start to life in the Championship following relegation, and following the appointment of little known Russian coach Leonid Slutsky, who is – if reports are to be believed – a real character.
Hull have won their last three home games against Bolton but are without star striker Abel Hernandez, who is out long-term. New signings Jon Toral had a great time on loan at Birmingham City a few years back and for a mere £3m, looks a very astute signing from Slutsky.
What We Sayin’?
Hull have found goals easy to come by, scoring eight in their first four league games, but are pretty leaky at the back, too. So by the law of averages, surely a 2-1 home win is on the cards for this one? Perhaps, but we think a safer bet is for the hosts to win but we also fancy BTTS too at 14/5.
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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