Saturday 6 April 3pm
An excellent run of form has seen Aston Villa get back into the Championship promotion play-off positions. They start the weekend in sixth but face a difficult game away to Sheffield Wednesday. The Yorkshire side may be 11th in the table but a win on Saturday will see them close to within a point of their opponents.
A fascinating game between these two promotion-chasing sides, especially for the manager of Sheffield Wednesday. Steve Bruce is their new boss but up until October of last year he was in charge of Aston Villa. With the midlands club down in 12th place in the table, they sacked Bruce and three months later he took over at Wednesday.
Like their opponents, 2019 has seen an upturn in form. Wednesday were as low as 18th in the table and looking over their shoulders at the possibility of a relegation battle. An unbeaten run of 11 league games has taken them up to 11th but only four points behind the promotion play-off places. They are 66/1 (67.0) at Betfair to win promotion to the Premier League this season. However, they will have to do it the hard way as they still have to play four games against sides in the top six.
Six of those 11 games have ended in draws, those could prove costly in the long-run. Home form has seen them without a defeat since losing to Derby County in the last week of November. That loss meant they had gone six home league games without a win but they have turned that around.
The last ten games have produced six wins and four draws. All the wins have come against sides that were in the bottom half of the table Only one has been against a side currently in the top six and that was a goalless draw with third-placed Sheffield United. It’s 23/10 (3.3) at BetVictor that they beat Villa on Saturday.
A few weeks ago it was looking highly unlikely that Aston Villa would make it into the play-offs. They were in the bottom half of the table and had won just two of their last 14 league games. Their new manager Dean Smith was under pressure but everything has changed since the start of March.
The return of Jack Grealish has changed everything and Villa have won each of their last five league games. Not only are they scoring goals but their defensive record has improved too. Only two goals have been conceded in those five wins and the days of chaotic 5-5 and 3-3 draws seem to be over. The odds on them being promoted this season have been tumbling and are currently 5/1 (6.0) at Bet365.
Their away form has been a problem this season. They had earned just three points from their previous five league games but that’s changed too with successive away wins at Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest. The odds on a hat-trick of away wins are 13/10 (2.3) at William Hill.
Sheffield Wednesday have only won one of their last five home games against Aston Villa, losing four of them. They have fared better at Villa Park where they have won their last three games.
Aston Villa have no injury worries, while Steven Fletcher is expected to return for Wednesday after missing the game against Stoke City.
A draw is a likely result in this game. Sheffield Wednesday have drawn 14 league games this season, but Villa can beat that. 15 of their games in the Championship this term have ended all-square. How much will these sides regret those stats at the end of the season? At Paddy Power you can get 23/10 (3.3) on this game ending in a draw.
Both Teams on the Score Sheet?
The last three games played between these two clubs has seen both teams score. That stat has cropped up in two of the last three Villa away league games and it’s 7/10 (1.7) on both Wednesday and Villa scoring on Saturday.
Fletcher in Form
With five goals in his last six games, Steven Fletcher could yet fire Sheffield Wednesday into the play-offs. You can get odds of 13/2 (7.5) at MoPlay on him scoring the first goal in this game and 15/8 (2.62) on him hitting the back of the net any time during this match.
The Championship is a tight division and both of these sides still have a good chance of going up, even though there are five places between them. Both are in good form and no strangers to drawing, a bet on this game ending in a draw with both teams scoring is 33/10 (4.3) at 888sport.