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Saturday, 27 September 2008

Aston Villa vs Sunderland: Premier League Prediction Panel 2008/9 - previews and predictions

Martin O'Neill will expect a reaction to the League Cup defeat to QPR and their league form is strong enough to suggest that Sunderland at home is extremely winnable.  Villa has invested heavily over the summer and they along with Manchester City are the most likely team to break into the top four in 2008/9.  Indeed Villa could go top this afternoon if other results go their way - an unlikely but surely indicative statistic.  Villa are creating chances but look a bit loose at the back for a top four team - this kind of game is crucial in gauging O'Neil's progress.

Sunderland do not offer a consistent goal threat at the moment, but perhaps that is something Michael Chopra can rectify as he picks up match sharpness.  There are signs that some of the more experienced recruits from the summer horsetrading are starting to improve the team - Steed Malbranque is going in my Fantasy Team - but last weeks scratchy win over Middlesbrough does not disguise how much work is needed if Sunderland are to push into the top half this season.  I'd guess that they are two seasons behind Villa in terms of where they want to be (ie roughly the same position consistently in the top six).

Villa are clear favourites and should cement their top four position today.

Aston Villa vs Sunderland; Kick Off 03:00pm 27 Sep 2008

Prediction Panel
Our panel contains both Squarefootball writers and readers, the writers are marked: (sqf).

Tony Bellew : 2 - 1
Dave Blackburn : 2 - 0
Sue Gardener : 2 - 1
Chris Goodwin : 3 - 1
Paul Grech (sqf) : 2 - 1
Colin Illingworth (sqf) : 3 - 1
Hugh Larkin (sqf) : TBC - TBC
Peter Lee : 2 - 1
Don McMahon : 1 - 1
Antony Melvin (sqf) : 2 - 0
Stephen Orford (sqf) : 2 - 0
Tony Ratton : 1 - 1
Peter Rendle : 2 - 0
Dan Taylor : 2 - 2
Andy Wakeman : 2 - 1
Isaac Williams : 2 - 0
Mark Williams : 2 - 1

Panel Verdict
The panel are going strongly for a narrow home win, probably 2-1 or 2-0.

Home: 13; Draw: 3; Away: 0; TBC: 1;

Spread Betting
John Carew looks sucha threat this season and he won't be far away from 20 league goals by the end of it.  I'm not sure how well Sunderland will deal with the quality of delivery from Ashley Young and so I'd back a buy on Carew to score.

Example: 3pt buy Carew goal minutes at 20
No goals: you lose 60pts
Carew scores after 45 minutes: You win 75pts
Carew scores after 30 and 60 minutes: You win 210pts
Carew scores after 30, 60 and 90 minutes: You win 480pts
and so on

* Do we have it right, or do you know better?  Please don't bother with derisory comments on the predictions after the match - unless you also pulled us up before it!

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