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Tottenham v Aston Villa
Spurs have hit a little bit of a rough patch and although they still occupy a spot in the top four at the time of writing, they seem to be hanging on by a thread. They’ve gone just W2-D1-L3 from their last six matches with those wins coming against Bournemouth and Leeds. What’s interesting is that Antonio Conte’s men have conceded first in all six of those outings, and they can’t afford to keep starting games this poorly if they want to be playing Champions League football next season.
Villa went down 3-1 to Liverpool on Boxing Day, though Ollie Watkins spurned a number of good opportunities for Villa in what was an open contest, and Unai Emery will be hoping his side can be more clinical here. The midlands side have won just once on the road all season, though that win was Emery’s only road trip in charge as they were impressive in a 2-1 win at the Amex.
Spurs have lost two of their last three home games, though they did come against Liverpool and Newcastle, and we wouldn’t expect Villa to take the spoils here. Leeds ran them very close in the last game here, with Rodrigo Bentancur coming to the rescue again with a late double.
Emery has only twice been overcome by more than a single strike in his 14 league matches in charge of both Villarreal and Villa this season, with those occasions coming against Liverpool and Barcelona, while Spurs have only managed to do so once in their last nine games, and the handicap appeals.
ASTON VILLA +1 HANDICAP
Nottingham Forest v Chelsea
Chelsea got back to winning ways with a competent performance over Bournemouth, though the game was somewhat marred for blues fans with a repetition of a knee injury for Reece James, which has again ruled him out for up to a month. He’ll be a huge loss to this Chelsea side who have won each of the last four games that James has started, though their now winless in five when he hasn’t.
Forest were hoping they could carry their momentum from a strong Cup performance into their clash at Old Trafford, though it wasn’t to be for Steve Coopers men who were completely outplayed by Man United in a 3-0 defeat. However, their away form has been their Achilles heel this season and they’ve picked up 85% of their points on home soil and they could nick a point here.
The midlands side have had an issue with output against the big sides, with Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal against Liverpool being the only time they’ve found the net against a current top-eight side this season. They’ve lost to-nil against each of the top five this season by an aggregate 18-0 scoreline, and while Chelsea are currently out of that bracket, they remain a top side and Forest may struggle.
The blues have struggled for output too this season, scoring just 19 goals in total and scoring just four in their last six alone. With a lack of firepower across these sides, and an unders bet seems the way to go.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
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