If you are like me and fancy a bet, doing so with your heart whilst wearing claret and blue tinted glasses can be extremely hazardous to your bank balance. But every now and then an unexpected gem can deliver you a fantastic windfall. Villa travel to the Emirates Stadium on the opening day to take on Arsenal. The bookies, apparently not having followed any of the ahem, difficulties, that have gone on for the Gunners, have dismissed Villa’s chances by offering a generous 8/1.
Why is 8/1 generous? Well, as any Aston Villa fan knows the boys in claret & blue seem to raise their game more often than not when they take on the big boys of the Prem. Last year, Anfield was plundered and bookies crushed when odds were set against Villa at 12/1. Since the Martin O’Neil era, Villa have effectively been a counter attacking side under Paul Lambert. The strategy is still to counter-attack, which means playing away actually seems to suit the Villa boys more than the home comforts of Villa Park.
Arsenal of course are favourites, and rightly so. I’m not encouraging any reader to bet the house on Villa. However, the odds are generous, and with a front 3 consisting of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann, Villa have the pace and power to catch any team on the counter. The pressure is all on the Gunners. They will have to try and force the issue, which may leave Wenger’s boys very vulnerable. Wenger himself is coming under increasing pressure from the paying punters at the Emirates Stadium, whom I may add have to pay more for the pleasure of watching their beloved team than anyone else on the planet.
The summer has been one of transfer frustration thus far for Arsenal, having missed out on several high profile transfer targets. The Luis Suarez saga is still rumbling on and is getting messier by the minute. Unless Arsenal sign a forward of Suarez’s magnitude, I think they might be ripe for the picking in a hostile north London environment.
Villa will go in with little to fear and may offer up an open day shock to fog up my claret & blue tinted glasses, making my heart skip a beat or two.
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