Aston Villa v Manchester City
Wednesday 21 April, 20:15
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event
There were no fewer than 39 efforts at goal when these two sides met at the Etihad Stadium in January and it may pay dividends to delve into the shots market for this reverse fixture.
That market is expecting around 24 shots in the contest – 24 or more is priced up at 10/11. It looks too low.
Villa may not be winning as many games as they were earlier in the season – the prolonged absence of Jack Grealish undoubtedly has something to do with that – but they’ve still looked to play the style of attacking football which got them into a good position in the first half of the campaign.
A look at the season stats shows Villa have conceded the seventh most shots but they are also in the top six for shots taken.
Last time out at Liverpool, they gave it a real go before losing late on. That game featured 34 shots – a repeat here can be backed at 30/1.
However, the line which looks worth investing in is 27+ shots at 13/5.
Three of Villa’s last four games – and nine of their last 14 – have hit this mark, as have four of City’s last six.
Villa’s matches against higher-quality opposition are also encouraging for this bet.
At home, matches against Leicester, West Ham, Liverpool and Arsenal have all hit the 27 mark, as have away games with the Gunners and Manchester United, as well as those aforementioned meetings at Anfield and the Etihad.
Admittedly, City are the best of the lot but their much-lauded defence hasn’t been quite so watertight of late – just four clean sheets in their last 12, with two of their last three games lost.
Yes, they could get in front early and look to manage the game out but Villa have been competitive in plenty of these big games, taking the lead at Anfield last week and holding City for 79 minutes at the Etihad. They also beaten Leicester and drawn with Chelsea, so there’s a decent chance this match will retain a sense of urgency throughout.
Basically there’s plenty to like about a shots-fest here with 27+ the line I’ll play, although I wouldn’t put anyone off backing the higher figures, including 30+ which is a tempting 13/2.
Click here for Paul Robinson’s in-depth preview of Villa v Man City