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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Villa value to push Blackburn closer to drop

Bookmakers wrong to rate Rovers so highly

Aston Villa's Gabby Agbonlahor celebrates his goal against Birmingham
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Sky Bet Football League
3pm Saturday

Blackburn v Aston Villa
This is the stage of the season when punters and bookmakers alike have to start guessing how much emphasis needs to be given to teams who need to win.

Some of those teams do indeed get the points at artificially short odds and it would be wrong to suggest all of those who need to win are worth opposing, but encouragement came last week to those prepared to take a chance on mid-table outfits.

Oxford thumped Millwall 3-0 and Barnet pushed Hartlepool deeper into the mire with a road success so not all teams are coasting aimlessly at the end of the campaign even if they are priced up as if players' minds are already drifting towards the summer break.

Aston Villa will have 8,000 fans at Ewood Park and that may be just the motivation they need to go in at a big price at relegation-threatened Blackburn.

Rovers are two points from safety and are in a position where they must push for victory. Unfortunately for Tony Mowbray his side have won once in ten games and the manager said the dressing-room was "desolate" after last week's 0-0 draw at Wolves.

Blackburn don't create enough chances and even when they do missed opportunities are costing them. 

Villa have won eight of their last 12 matches and kept nine clean sheets in the process so in normal circumstances they would probably be seen as the more likely winners of this clash.

Top goalscorer Jonathan Kodija returns from suspension and goes in search of his 20th Sky Bet Championship goal of the season which is the kind of firepower sorely lacking in the home ranks.

Aston Villa
1pt 13-5 BoyleSports

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Leyton Orient v Colchester
One game where it may pay to side with the team with more on the line comes in east London where playoff-chasing Colchester have a great chance to boost their goal difference at Leyton Orient.

The Orient starting 11 had eight players no older than 20 in the side beaten 3-0 at Crewe last week, a result which condemned them to relegation out of the Football League after 112 years.

Players have been getting their wages late, if at all, and heads could drop if Colchester get in front so the handicap route looks the best way of supporting the Essex outfit.

Orient have lost eight of their last nine home matches and Colchester won't get a better opportunity to narrow the gap on those above them with United three points outside of the playoffs.

Colchester have not won away in 2017 and are going off at a shorter price than would normally be expected but in these circumstances that is understandable.

Colchester -1 Asian handicap
1pt 15-16 188Bet

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Sky Bet League One
Midday Saturday

Bristol Rovers v Millwall
A 4-2 defeat at Peterborough ended any hopes Bristol Rovers had of gatecrashing the Sky Bet League One playoff party but they could still ruin Millwall's season on the final day of the third-tier campaign.

A win will see Millwall make the top six and they could yet sneak in with a defeat - a result which looks more likely than the odds suggest.

Rovers are not likely to roll over for Millwall and, as Lions boss Neil Harris admitted after last week's 3-0 defeat to Oxford, nerves are beginning to be felt throughout the camp.

Millwall have won only three of their last ten league matches which is far from encouraging and Harris may well be left hoping for favours from Bury and Bradford at Southend and Rochdale respectively.

Rovers are unbeaten at home in the league since the start of December with nine wins and three draws and they will be out for revenge following a 4-0 mauling at Millwall in November when Daniel Leadbitter's early red card at 0-0 changed the game completely.

Bristol Rovers
1pt 13-5 bet365

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Plays of the day

Werder Bremen Evs
Only Bayern Munich have collected more points than Werder in the second half of the season, while Hertha have lost their last eight Bundesliga games outside of Berlin.

Millwall 23-20
There are a number of teams who look too short this weekend but perhaps a lay of Millwall is best. They may not even need to win and Bristol Rovers are unbeaten in 12 home league matches. 

Reading 5-6, Colchester 4-7, Werder Bremen Evs, Betfair

Both teams to score
Games at Birmingham 11-12, Rochdale 9-13Augsburg 11-14

Max Kruse 9-2
Talent has never been the issue for Kruse but attitude problems have dogged his career. However, the Werder striker has scored nine goals in his last seven games and is rampant at the moment.

Thought for the week

Manchester City's David Silva had to be substituted early in the FA Cup semi-final after a challenge from Arsenal defender Gabriel, who escaped a booking despite a pretty hefty challenge on the playmaker.

City's players were angry with the decision of Craig Pawson and asked the referee to punish Gabriel with a booking, actions that were not well received by the BT Sport commentary team.

Glenn Hoddle suggested the free kick should be reversed and the general consensus was that nobody likes the idea of a player asking for an opposition player to be cautioned.

Who says that? Virtually every fan of a team demands bookings from referees and what is so wrong with players asking for the right punishment to be dished out?

I personally much prefer that to clumsy defenders committing tough tactical fouls that force off brilliant players.

Aston Villa will have 8,000 fans at Ewood Park and that may be just the motivation they need to go in at at relegation-threatened Blackburn
E.W. Terms
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