Premier League Stats Review: Villa too good to miss now they are scoring again

Stats analyst Andrew Atherley says Tim Sherwood’s positive influence on Aston Villa’s attack makes them attractive in Saturday’s match against Swansea…

Most frustrating thing about football punting? It has to be the bet you almost had but decided against at the last minute, only to see it come off in such sensational style that you’re left kicking yourself for missing out.

It happened to me last week when Aston Villa – the bet I rejected – won 4-0 at Sunderland. They were in command before the 20th minute, when they were cruising at 2-0, and home and hosed by half-time after doubling their lead.

Most dangerous tactic in football punting? It might well be having a bet on a team when you feel frustrated at missing out on them in their previous match and want to recover those ‘lost’ winnings.

Try as I might, however, it is difficult to get away from Villa in their home match with Swansea on Saturday, for the simple reason that Tim Sherwood has them scoring again.

That was the reasoning last week, too, when Villa looked hard to beat if they scored, based both on their own stats and Sunderland’s poor win record when conceding. As it turned out, Sherwood’s team were unstoppable.

A similar case can be made in Saturday’s match, even though Swansea are more difficult opponents than Sunderland.

The key with Villa is their excellent record when scoring. On points per game when scoring at least one goal, Villa rank ninth in the Premier League this season behind the overall top seven (as you would expect) and Stoke (eighth in the overall table).

Of course, their lengthy goal drought under Paul Lambert masked that good record, which indicates Villa are a better team than their overall league position suggests.

It was interesting that, after Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Villa Park in early February, Jose Mourinho pointed out the class of players at Lambert’s disposal – perhaps it was a loaded comment aimed at Lambert, but it had the ring of truth in any case.

Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor both scored twice against Sunderland and, along with Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar, and latterly Scott Sinclair and Carles Gil, they bring plenty of quality to Villa. Under Lambert, they had become stuck in a rut but now they appear revitalised by Sherwood’s arrival.

Villa have scored in five of their six matches since Sherwood’s appointment – including the 2-1 FA Cup win over Leicester, when Sherwood made a telling intervention at half-time even though he was supposed to have only a watching brief that day.

Villa have won four of those five scoring games, taking their record when scoring to W11 D3 L3 in all competitions this season. The three defeats have all been against high-class sides, namely Stoke (since Sherwood’s appointment), Chelsea and Tottenham.

That indicates a clear chance of taking something from the game if they get on the scoresheet and their much-improved goal threat under Sherwood is a positive factor.

Swansea are unlikely to fold like Sunderland did, but it is worth noting their poor record when conceding on the road (seven defeats and only one win out of nine).

At the very least Villa’s low defeat rate when scoring, as well as Swansea’s poor win rate when conceding, points to a solid chance on the Draw No Bet at 1.774/5.

Win odds of 2.546/4 are attractive, however, and that is the preference.

Recommended Bet
Back Aston Villa to beat Swansea at 2.546/4 (1pt)

2014/15 P/L

Staked: 66 pts
Returned: 66.62 pts
P/L: +0.62 pts