Sunday 10 March: 12pm
Live on Sky Sports Football
It’s the Birmingham derby and the chance to win some bragging rights until the next meeting. Both sides still have an outside chance of climbing into the top six and the all-important Championship promotion play-offs but will need an impressive run in to do so. Whoever loses this game, might just see their promotion hopes ended too.
Birmingham City start the weekend in eighth place in the Championship. With 11 games to go, they are only four points behind Bristol City who currently occupy the final promotion play-off position but have played a game more. They’ll spend Saturday afternoon hoping Bristol City lose to Leeds
The Blues are 40/1 (41.0) at Betfair to win promotion this season. That’s compared to the 33/1 (34.0) on offer at Ladbrokes for their rivals Aston Villa to return to the Premier League.
This is the first of two home games in four days for Birmingham City. They host relegation-threatened Millwall on the 13th and those opponents may just have their FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton and Hove Albion on their minds. Two home wins for Birmingham would certainly keep their promotion hopes alive. It’d also shorten the odds of 4/9 at SkyBet on them finishing in the top half of the table this season (14th placed Swansea City are only three points behind them).
Current form isn’t that great for Birmingham and doesn’t resemble a promotion charge. They have only one win from their last four league matches and March began with a disappointing 2-0 away loss to Hull City.
Home league form leaves a lot to be desired too. They have only won one of their last five at St Andrews, a big let-down after a run of four wins out of five towards the end of 2018. They are 7/4 (1.75) at Unibet to beat Villa in this game.
Aston Villa are 11th in the Championship but that’s only six points outside of the top six. They welcome back Jack Grealish from injury last weekend and it worked wonders as they beat Derby County 4-0 at home with all the goals coming in the first half.
That win was needed as it ended a run of five league games without success. Only two of their last 11 league games have been won and the other was at home to bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town.
Whether they can force themselves into the play-offs faces a stern test in the next week. Firstly, they play Birmingham away and then have to travel to Nottingham Forest before a home match against Middlesbrough. A good return is needed from those three games or it’s definitely another season in the Championship for them.
Their away form doesn’t look promising with just three draws from their last five league games. It’s 13/8 (2.61) at Ladbrokes that they get the win at St Andrews to keep their promotion challenge alive.
Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last seven games against Birmingham City winning the last two. Birmingham have only won one of their last 15 games against their neighbours and that was a home League Cup win in 2010. Their last league win over Villa was in 2005. Four of the last nine games have ended level and the odds are 23/10 (3.3) at BetVictor on a draw on Sunday. That wouldn’t really help either side though.
Gary Gardner is on loan from Villa to Birmingham and can’t play in this game. Maxime Gordon is an injury doubt for the Blues. Aston Villa will be without goalkeeper Orjan Nyland and also ruled out are James Chester, Alan Hutton, Tommy Elphick, Henri Lansbury and Axel Tuanzebe. John McGinn may make his return from suspension.
Low Scoring Game?
The last four home league games against Aston Villa have all had under 2.5 goals scored in them. That stat also applies to five of the last six Aston Villa away league games. With five of the last seven Birmingham City home games also ending that way, a bet on under 2.5 goals is an idea and is 4/5 (1.8) at Paddy Power.
Both sides have a chance of promotion but their form needs to dramatically improve. A bet on a draw with under 2.5 goals being scored is 3/1 (4.0) at Betway.