Villa’s fine seven game winning streak came to an end at Craven Cottage on Saturday and they surrendered 2nd place as a result, so Steve Bruce’s men will be keen to get back on track here. However, this is also a tough game against a Preston side that have promotion ambitions of their own.
The Lilywhites are perhaps the most consistently underrated team in the league, again putting themselves in the top six picture, yet rarely discussed as serious promotion contenders. They proved on Saturday they are capable of mixing it with the top sides, drawing 1-1 against leaders Wolves, despite playing out the final half hour with ten men.
There’s reason to think they are capable of getting a result here too. For starters, Preston have only lost six Championship matches this term. That’s one fewer than Villa and only Wolves have avoided defeat on more occasions than the Lancashire club. Four of those six defeats actually came in succession and included a 2-0 loss to the Claret and Blues but Preston were very short on numbers at the back during that period and have certainly proved since that they are a match for anyone.
Only Derby and Wolves have picked up more away points than Preston so they travel well and have avoided defeat in 81% of their away games this season in the Championship. The only thing holding them back has been their tendency to draw rather than win games but they’d probably settle for a point here.
There’s reason to think they can get it. Villa have been in good form at home, with 6 wins from their last 8 at Villa Park in the league but 4 of those 6 wins were against bottom six teams and they’ve still got most of their tougher home games to come. This is certainly one of them and Preston will take heart from play-off hopefuls like Sheffield United and Middlesbrough who have got results away to Villa.
There are also a few injury concerns which hampered them at the weekend and may continue to do so here. Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah, two key men in Villa’s recent fine run, were missing through injury at Craven Cottage and are likely to be out here too, which starves Villa of their most creative player and top goalscorer.
Against weaker teams they could probably get away with that but their opponents are a tough nut to crack and backing Preston Double Chance looks like the value bet.
Head To Head
The three meetings since Villa dropped down to this level have produced a win each and a draw. Villa won 2-0 at Preston earlier this term and the only other meeting this century was a 5-0 Villa win in the 2002-03 League Cup.
Aston Villa vs Preston Stats
- Preston average 1.56 points per game away, the same figure they’ve managed at home.
- Villa have only beaten two current top ten teams at home this season (Fulham and Bristol City).
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