Thu, Aug 16, 5:54pm by Kevin Pitstock
Aston Villa had an extremely disappointing season last year in the top flight, as they finished 16th on the table and avoided relegation by a mere two points. They spent the majority of the season without the services of striker Darren Bent, who went down with an ankle injury. He looks to regain his form going into the 2012-13 Premier League season. His historic ability to find the back of the net was surely missed last season and whilst this Midlands Clubs are not by any accounts “strong”, Aston Villa are better than a sixteenth place side who barely escaped the grasp of relegation. In the 2010-2011 season, Villa finished in ninth place.
Villa prediction: I expect Darren Bent to return to form and produce about 20 goals. I do not see Villa at the bottom of the pack, but at the same time, they will not finish in the top ten. They look to me as the best Midlands Club.
Aston Villa Betting Tip: At 2.37 odds via IAS Bet, Villa are a good bet for Top Midlands Club.
Stoke City bring a physical style of play onto the pitch. They have added Midfielder Michael Kightly from the Wolves, who were relegated last season and Jamie Ness joins them from the financially troubled Newco Rangers. Stoke lack a threatening regular goal scorer up top. They do have strikers Peter Crouch, Cameron Jerome, and Kenwyne Jones to choose from. However, Crouch is past his prime and the combination of these three, along with options Jonathan Walters, and Mamady Sidibe are going to struggle to find the goal. Stoke have been in talks with Michael Owen regarding a contract. However, just like Crouch, Owen’s best years are behind him.
Last season, Stoke City finished 14th with 45 points. This put them nine points above the Drop Zone. While I do not think that Stoke City will be relegated, their 14th place finish is a fair expectation for the 2012-13 campaign.
West Bromwich Albion finished last year in tenth position with 47 points on the table. West Brom have about 12 to 13 wins in them again this season, as they have the last two Premier League seasons. However, they have done little to improve. Whilst they have not improved, they have not worsened either. Thus, par for the course seems right with West Brom. I predict West Brom will finish the season with 47-50 points on the table and in the bottom ten (12th place).
Projected Ranking for Midlands Clubs
1. Aston Villa (11th on the table with 13 wins)
2. West Bromwich Albion (12th on the table on 50 points)
3. Stoke City (14th on the table)
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