Aston Villa won their 14th consecutive home Premier League game with their superb 1-0 victory over Manchester City, and we’ve got them priced at 14/1 from 40/1 to go the whole campaign unbeaten at Villa Park.
This week represents the first significant test for Villa at home, when they face a double header of Manchester City followed by Arsenal, but the first leg caused no issues whatsoever, with Villa comfortably keeping the champions at bay.
Unai Emery’s men started the campaign with a humbling 5-1 defeat to Newcastle, clearly impacted by the serious injury to Tyrone Mings in the first half, but responded by winning five of their next six, including a 4-0 win over Everton and a 6-1 win over Brighton.
There was a naivety in their 3-0 loss at Anfield to Liverpool and the draw at Wolves felt like a missed opportunity, but Emery has done an excellent job of making Villa Park into something of a fortress.
The Holte End faithful are now turning up on a weekend expecting to win and fearing no one; nor should they.
bet365’s Steve Freeth said: "Well, there goes my theory of Villa’s home form coinciding with them yet to play a quality side at Villa Park!
"They not only competed with the reigning champions, they thoroughly deserved yet another three-point haul on their own turf against Manchester City making it seven wins from seven games this season – a record equalling 14 on the bounce if you include the end of last season.
"Unai Emery has transformed the football club from a sleeping giant to, dare I say it, possible title challengers, and he must be relishing the prospect of hosting his former club Arsenal this weekend because another major scalp could be on the cards - no club will be will be looking forward to travelling to Villa Park right now.
"Ollie Watkins' fine form continues and the striker is into 4/5 to be the first player since European Cup hero Peter Withe to score 20 or more league goals in a top flight season.
"If the Lions can overcome those obstacles then punters with 100/1 and 80/1 on them remaining unbeaten at home in the Premier League will start to believe that the good times really are returning to Villa Park."
You have to go back to 1993 - the first year of the Premier League - for the last time Villa finished second in England's top flight, and it's a 33/1 shot they can match that feat this season.
Aston Villa finishing position odds:
|Pre-Man City||Post-Man City|
|7th or lower||11/10||7/4|
It took Watkins, who was one of the league’s biggest under-performers in terms of xG in the first few weeks of the season, six games to find the target; now he has three in his last four and is brimming with confidence once again.
Villa are just four points off table-topping Arsenal and now two ahead of Manchester City; with an extra Champions League spot available to the top two countries in Europe, fifth will likely be enough to see the Villans mix it with Europe’s elite next season.
Villa are 7/4 to finish in the top four and 5/6 to finish in the top five, so the Champions League certainly isn’t beyond them, and a Europa League place (2/5 for the top six) should now be the least they expect.
Villa’s home form will be imperative to their hopes of qualifying for Europe again, especially if they can beat the sides around them.
Going an entire league campaign unbeaten still looks a tall order – hence the 14/1 – but another European campaign is well within their sights.