That is not according to the Expected Goals formula this time. The unwanted label has been handed them by bookies. The same study claims the biggest over-achievers are Aston Villa, the side who come to the Amex tomorrow. That is according to research by bettingexpert.com, after comparing their pre-season odds predictions to where the teams currently stand. Now Graham Potter has highlighted why Albion do not always under-achieve – by conceding they were fortunate to win at Villa Park earlier this season. He also believes a 1-1 draw at Burnley last week was more than they really deserved and added: “That’s okay.” The Seagulls chase their first double of the season when Dean Smith’s men head south.
Potter is fully aware of the challenge his side face. And, if asked, he would probably argue that, given their line-up, Villa are not over-achieving at all. It was more a case of the bookies getting it wrong at the start of the campaign.
Graham potter said: “Results have been better for us. Certainly since the turn of the year we have been in a good moment in terms of results and our performances have taken a little step forward from what they were. I don’t think there’s been a significant difference in terms of performance, it’s just that the results have matched. As a group we’re in a better place, we have taken steps. Even Wednesday night (at Leicester) for the group it was a positive one for us as there were some guys who played who we learned a lot more about. From that view point it will stand us in good stead going forward. But clearly we have to start again against a team that’s also in a really good moment. They have had a fantastic season so far and I am really impressed. We know it’s going to be as tough a game as earlier on in the season. I thought we were fortunate to win, to be fair, but at the same time we know they’re a good team with some tremendous players. They’ve recruited very well and invested well. They identified the areas that they needed to strengthen and I think they have done that well. The goalkeeper has come in and made a big difference for them.Cash has done well for them at right-back, they’ve added Barkley, Traore and Watkins up front and that takes the pressure off Jack Grealish a little bit, to not be the sole provider that he was a bit last year. They are more of an attacking unit now with really good players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt you in a second. They have also got the ability to keep clean sheets.”
That study by the bookies, using odds and analysis, concluded Potter’s side should finish 13th. They have been four places below that for some time but are now up into 15th. Villa were predicted to finish 18th in the league and be relegated but currently find themselves comfortably in the top half of the table in ninth, nine places higher than expected.
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