Friday Night Spotlight
Today’s Friday Night Spotlight takes a bit of a turn due to all of college football being on break (except for Army v. Navy, cue foreboading music…) So we’ll be taking a trip across the big pond to catch up with West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa as they embark on the sole Championship match of day.
The match will be played at the Hawthorns, home of West Brom. Aston Villa comes into this match with a 2 game (away) win streak. But will it be enough to ensure 3 points? This match features #3 West Bromwich Albion and #8 Aston Villa.
West Brom have some of the best home form in the Championship (4th overall). West Brom would really like to finish out the season playing well. They are in a good spot now, but undoubtedly they’d prefer to be in an automatic promotion spot do that don’t have to engage in the lottery of the playoffs.
In third position in the table it probably goes without saying that they have been playing well. West Brom haven’t any trouble scoring goals home or away. However, they’ve scored almost a half a goal more at home versus away. At home they are averaging 2.7 goals scored per match while their average on the season is 2.1 goals scored. They allow the same number of goals regardless of home or away, about 1.4 per match. West Brom has not been one to keep clean sheets having kept only 1 in 20 matches played. That one, however, was at home.
Although officially 8th in table, it seems a bit hard on Villa considering they are only 9 points off the top of the table. They are only 4 points behind West Brom, so this match could mean a lot towards the latter part of the season. The two sides are pretty similar in terms of goals allowed, goals scored, and even goal differential. Aston Villa are on of the Championship sides that went for broke in their effort to return to the Premier League. Among other things hindering their financial health was the nearly £160M cost of losing to Fulham in last season’s playoff. This is just one of the things I talked about in one of the past Monday Musings.
In spite of their financial issues that are rearing their head (again), they’ve managed to stay focused on their football. Aston Villa would love nothing more than to escape being involved in the playoffs this year and win an automatic promotion spot. Aston Villa has managed to score a fair number of goals, about 2 average on the season. They’ve scored a little less in away games, about 1.5 but they are still only allowing 1.3 goals against in away fixtures. This is only about 0.2 goals less than their season average. This seems to suggest that home form has been more of an issue.
What to expect
Neither team comes into this match with a bevy of clean sheets. I full anticipate both teams to get on the board in this game. I think that not only will both teams score, we might be in a for a bit of a goal-fest. Aston Villa have won twice in 1-0 match ups on the road, but West Brom has only had one such result at home. I think this match will build slowly, as both sides have a large proportion of their goals scored late (61′-90′). The neutrals think that West Brom have an opportunity to come out of this match with a win, but not overwhelmingly so. Goals are expected in this match, and the betting odds get pretty close to even at about 3 goals. Personally, I expect there to be a few more, but I’m just a blog-analyst!