West Ham v Aston Villa: Coutinho big price to continue scoring streak

Dan Fitch thinks Aston Villa are generally underrated, as they travel to West Ham and he's backing Philippe Coutinho to score at large odds.

Hammers now a blunt force

West Ham need to shake off their poor form when they host Aston Villa on Sunday.

The 1-0 defeat to Sevilla in the first-leg of their Europa League tie, was their third successive defeat across all competitions. West Ham's Premier League form has also been inconsistent over recent weeks, with the side winning only two of their last seven games (D2 L3).

Those results have left West Ham in sixth place going into this weekend. With fourth placed Arsenal three points ahead with three games in hand on the Hammers, a place in the Champions League now looks unrealistic. West Ham's decision to not buy a striker in both the summer and then the January window, looks a curious one, with Michail Antonio having not scored in the Premier League since New Year's Day.

Antonio's lack of goals is a real problem at a time when Jarrod Bowen has been out with injury. Other players unavailable to David Moyes over recent games include Vladimir Coufal, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Coutinho pulling the strings

In contrast to the hosts, Aston Villa come into this match having won each of their last three games.

With all of these victories coming in the Premier League, Villa have moved up to ninth in the table. In midweek they won 3-0 at Leeds, which was not just their third successive win, but also the third successive game in which they did not concede.

At the other end of the pitch the goals are now beginning to flow, with loan signing Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings. In eight Premier League games for Villa, he has scored four goals and assisted three.

It's been a bright start to the reign of Steven Gerrard, with his pulling power being instrumental in the signing of Coutinho. The only player unavailable to Gerrard is the injured Marvelous Nakamba.

Value in Villa

West Ham are the 2.38 favourites, with an Aston Villa win at 3.4 and the draw at 3.45.

Those odds are very skewed considering the respective form of the two clubs. At best for West Ham, this seems set to be a tight and closely fought game, so their price is way too short.

This creates an opportunity to back Villa. The visitors are 2.36 in the Draw No Bet market and 1.7 to avoid defeat, Double Chance.

Low scoring game likely, but Coutinho big price to score

With West Ham struggling to score goals and Villa having tightened up, under 2.5 goals is generously priced at 1.96. It's a bet that's landed in five of West Ham's last six home games.

Villa's revived scoring power is a threat to that wager. They have scored seven goals in the last two games, but West Ham's defensive solidity has generally managed to hold up in recent weeks, even if their form has taken a dip.

With Coutinho having scored in each of his last two game, he looks way too big at 4.65 to find the net. This seems to be one of those instances, when an attacking midfielder is available at a bigger price than he should be to score, by sheer virtue on not being a recognised forward. If you prefer to back Coutinho to be a creator, then you can land odds of 3.75 for him to assist a goal.

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