(Darren Bent takes on Danny Simpson in last season's corresponding fixture)
We're turning our heads to a game featuring two of the 6 unbeaten sides & another Newcastle United away game as they travel to Birmingham to take on Alex McLeish's resolute Aston Villa side. This game certainly doesn't have classic written all over it with Villa having scored just 5 goals in 4 games & Newcastle a paltry 3 but managing 2 victories along the way. Newcastle lack the quality needed at the top end of the pitch & look likely to struggle for goals all season, manager Alan Pardew seems to have recognised this & the team sets up in a very disciplined way away from home. McLeish was not only an unpopular choice for Villa fans because he came from rivals Birmingham City but also because of a perceived defensive mindset, he would be wise to attempt to change this attitude in home games as Villa have a solid base of players & an exceptional striker in Darren Bent that mean they can be dangerous in most games. Petrov looks to be playing at a higher level so far this season & the powerful presence of Agbonlahor should mean that Villa can get chances, we expect them to break the Newcastle defence down without their own goal coming under threat, well protected as it is by the outstanding Shay Given. Villa to win to nil is available at 11/4 with Ladbrokes & for those worried about Villa's own attacking strength a small saver on No Goalscorer is advised at a best price of 11/1 with Stan James.
In League One, Hartlepool welcome Bury to Victoria Park. The Monkey Hangers are yet to lose a league game this season, winning three & drawing four of seven played so far. Their last two games have brought victories at Carlisle & home to Exeter, with opening goals from Gary Liddle setting the platforms. Bury are currently in freefall, losing their last four league games & conceding 11 goals in the process. Therefore we fully expect Hartlepool to continue their strong start to the season at the general price of 10/11.
Down in League Two, we expect goals galore in the match between Torquay and Rotherham. Plainmoor has hosted four league games this season which have all resulted in over 2.5 goals with 2-2, 3-0, 1-3 and 2-2 scores. Whilst on the road, Rotherham games have been equally entertaining with 15 goals coming in their four league games. We see no reason why these trends won't continue at the best price of 10/11 for over 2.5 goals.
This isn't an advised wager but a speculative prediction - this weekends' Premier League games seem particularly tight & we think that No Goalscorer bets could come up in multiple games, anyone who likes speculative multiple bets could do worse than having a small stakes wager on the trebles & quadruples in these games to end up scoreless:
Aston Villa vs Newcastle (two low scoring, low conceding teams)
Blackburn vs Arsenal (Arsenal misfiring & Blackburn desperate not to lose could paralyse attacking instincts)
Everton vs Wigan (Everton barely have a striker & Wigan happy with away draw)
Swansea vs West Brom (The Swans yet to score & Roy Hodgson a defensively excellent coach)
Sunderland vs Stoke (Black Cats only 2 goals & Stoke excellent in defence + may be tired after European tie)
Tottenham vs Liverpool (Spurs have been struggling for goals for the past year but Liverpool may struggle to break them down especially if misfiring striker Andy Carroll doesn't improve)
Bolton vs Norwich (Bolton missing creativity of injured Holden & Lee Chung-Yong & Norwich lacking in quality & pace)
Hartlepool to beat Bury at 10/11 (General)
Over 2.5 goals in the Torquay vs Rotherham game at 10/11 (William Hill)
Aston Villa to beat Newcastle United to nil at 11/4 (Ladbrokes)
*(Villa v Newcastle cover bet No Goalscorer at 11/1 with Stan James)