Aston Villa vying for vital win over relegation rivals Sunderland
Premier League matchday 29 could prove to be vital in the race to avoid relegation this season, as Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa travel to the Stadium of Light to contest Sunderland, with just a single point separating these two strugglers in this year’s domestic table.
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion, 16/1 with Coral to secure a top 10 finish, will welcome Mark Hughes’ high-flying Stoke City and rock-bottom Leicester City will do battle with 15th-placed Hull City.
West Brom v Stoke
Tony Pulis’ Baggies, 11/8 to triumph, have enjoyed a successful spell of form in recent weeks, despite being toppled twice by Villa in back-to-back FA Cup and league clashes.
West Brom’s defeat to the Villans last time out was their first loss in four games, having impressively overcome top four hopefuls Southampton and also Swansea City in previous league fixtures.
However, Stoke have been on a rampant run of form, climbing to eighth position after three consecutive league victories, including two wins to nil on the bounce over Hull and Everton. Hughes’ potent Potters are 17/4 to earn a third successive win to nil.
Stoke have emerged victorious in the previous two meetings with the Baggies, with a delightful double from Mame Biram Diouf in December securing a 2-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium. Potters poacher Diouf is available at 15/8 to bag another this time out at The Hawthorns.
Sunderland v Aston Villa
New boss Sherwood will be hoping his side’s recent cup coup can inspire Villa to securing their top-flight status this season, having reached a famous semi-final outing at Wembley.
The Villans, 9/4 to win, and Sunderland are both on a torrid domestic run, with the West Midlands outfit having picked up a single victory in their last 13 matches, and the Black Cats winning one of their previous 11 fixtures.
Two of the last three meetings have ended in goalless stalemates, including December’s encounter at Villa Park, but a triumph is vital to both sides as they aim to beat the dreaded drop.
Gus Poyet’s clawless Black Cats have not won a league game since January, while Sherwood’s men managed to topple West Brom in their previous outing, meaning momentum is with the away side ahead of their crucial clash on Wearside.
Last season Gabriel Agbonlahor netted a decisive first-half strike to earn his side an away victory, and he is 7/1 to open proceedings in his latest appearance at the Stadium of Light, after also bagging the opener in the West Brom league win.
Leicester v Hull
Nigel Pearson’s men, 6/5 to triumph, are stuttering haplessly at the foot of the league table, and are four points adrift of safety, having gone six games without a single victory since January.
The toothless Foxes will come up against Steve Bruce’s battling Tigers, who have rescued some domestic form at a vital stage of the campaign. Hull are five points above the dropzone, having lost just one of their previous five league outings, including back-to-back victories over fellow relegation fighters Villa and QPR.
Despite the contrast in form, Leicester actually took all three points the side’s last meeting in December, with Riyad Mahrez netting an early winner. The Algerian attacker is 8/1 to strike last at the King Power Stadium and score his fourth goal of the season.