Aston Villa will head into their next five games well-placed to force themselves into the Championship play-off places. A run of six matches without defeat has moved Villa up to eighth in the standings, just four points adrift of the tops six.
Dean Smith’s side were unfortunate not be even closer to the play-off spots after being denied victory by Jay Rodriguez’s late equaliser at West Bromwich Albion last Friday.
Stoke and Leeds
They return to action on Saturday at home to Stoke City and they are favourites with the bookmakers to pick up another three points. Villa are priced at 20/21 to win the game and you can claim your Moplay free bet offer via OLBG.com website to advantage of what look to be generous odds.
Stoke have won five of the last six meetings with Villa, but the home side are fancied to come out on top this time around. Villa follow up the Stoke game with another home fixture against high-flying Leeds United on Sunday, December 23.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been in the automatic promotion spots for most of the season and they will undoubtedly prove to be tough opponents at Villa Park. However, Villa have lost just two of their last eight meetings with Leeds in all competitions and they can take at least a point from this one.
Swansea and Preston
Smith’s side head to Swansea City on Boxing Day aiming to improve a poor record against the Welsh club, with their 1-0 home victory during October just their second win in their last 12 meetings. Swansea have been hugely inconsistent in the Championship this term and this is another fixture that Villa can take something from.
Another tricky away trip follows three days later as Villa head north to face Preston North End. The Lancashire club have won just one of their last 14 meetings with Villa and this looks another winnable game for Smith’s team.
Villa kick-off 2019 with a home game against Queens Park Rangers on January 1. QPR beat Villa at Loftus Road back in October and had looked like they might be mounting a challenge for the top six a few weeks ago.
However, their form has since tailed off and Villa will be hoping they haven’t rediscovered it by the time New Year’s Day arrives.
An 11-point haul, or even more, shouldn’t be beyond Villa over the next five games and would provide the perfect platform for a sustained promotion challenge during the second half of the season.