Premier League Betting Odds & Pick: Manchester City vs. Aston Villa (Wednesday, Jan. 20)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City players celebrate a goal.
- Two of the best defenses in the Premier League are set to face off Wednesday in Premier League action at Etihad Stadium.
- Manchester City has been climbing the table with a hot stretch of play.
- BJ Cunningham previews the match and gives his pick below.
Manchester City vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Manchester City Odds||-385 [BET NOW]|
|Aston Villa Odds||+1000 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+525 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+128/-162) [BET NOW]|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 1 p.m. ET|
Manchester City looks to keep its dominant run of form going when it battles Aston Villa on Wednesday at Etihad Stadium.
After a slow start to the season, Manchester City is starting to quietly make their way up the Premier League table, as they are now in second place, only two points off their inner-city rival Manchester United. They’ve won their last five matches in Premier League play and have outscored their opponents 11-1. Can they keep things going against a solid Aston Villa squad.
The Villans have been off since January 1st due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club that forced their last two matches to be postponed. The good news is all signs point to all of their first-choice players being available to play on Wednesday. Aston Villa has one of the best attacks in the Premier League, but will they be able to break down the best defense in the league?
The most surprising part of Manchester City’s horrendous start to the season was how big of a step back their offense has taken. The Cityzens are averaging just 1.95 expected goals per match, which is well off their 2.69 xG/match average a season ago. However, over their five-game win streak they’ve really improved their offense, averaging 2.16 xGF per match.
The biggest change for Manchester City this season has been massive improvements on the defensive end of the pitch. Pep Guardiola has gone with a new center back paring of John Stones and Rúben Dias over their five-match winning streak and the change has done wonders. With Stones and Dias playing together, the Cityzens are allowing only 0.47 xG per match. In fact, they haven’t allowed an opponent to create more than one expected goal in those five matches. So, it’s clear that Guardiola has found his first choice defense going forward.
The Villans have improved drastically since the restart and have turned into one of the best attacks in the Premier League. In fact, they have have the best non-penalty xGF per match average in the top flight.
🗣 "They have created 1.53 xGF per game across that period too, but over the course of the season, Leicester’s attack ranks in the bottom half for non-pen xGF per game." 🦊
— Infogol (@InfogolApp) January 19, 2021
The reason for that is their do-everything playmaker Jack Grealish. The standout already has five goals and seven assists to his name, plus he has the third-highest expected assists per 90 minute rate behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes.
One of the other reasons Aston Villa have improved from last season is they’ve switched from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 this season. The 4-2-3-1 provides their attacking players with a lot more room and flow to be creative, which is one of the main reasons Grealish is flourishing this season. Their defense has also improved under the new formation, as they are only allowing 1.20 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of it.
Betting Analysis & Picks
With how good Manchester City’s defense has been under their new center back pairing, I have a hard time seeing how Aston Villa is going to score even with one of the best attacks in the league. In fact, only 29% of Manchester City matches have gone over 2.5 goals this season. So, I think we’re going to see another low-scoring affair.
Since I only have 2.89 goals projected for this match, I think there is a little bit of value on the alternative number of under three goals at plus money.
Pick: Total Under 3 Goals (+102)