Soccer tips: Brentford vs Aston Villa – Gerrard’s men may struggle to end 69-year winless run

It’s been almost seven decades since Villa last beat Brentford. Steven Gerrard will be determined to end that run as his side look to bounce back from defeat to Chelsea - but he may be disappointed.

The Villans aren't the only ones coming into this game on the back of a defeat. Brentford were narrowly edged out by Manchester City last Wednesday night as Phil Foden scored the only goal of the game.

Thomas Frank wasn't short of superlatives to describe his team's defensive efforts against the defending champions. However, he now needs the Bees to spread their wings offensively as his side look to avoid a third straight defeat.

When, where and how to watch

When: Sunday, January 2, 14.00 GMT

Where: Brentford Community Stadium

How to watch: Sky Sports

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best bets for Brentford vs Aston Villa

Draw at 23/10

First goal under 30 minutes at EVS

Ivan Toney to score first at 17/4

"Incredible. Unbelievable. Fantastic performance… A masterclass in defensive organisation."

Those were Frank's words following the loss to Man City. It's rare to hear such colourful commentary from a manager after a defeat. Then again, only losing by a single goal against one of the world's richest sides is a big achievement for newly promoted Brentford.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at the Brentford Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday December 29, 2021.

Despite their herculean efforts though, the Bees were left without a point. In fact, they have only picked up four points from five Premier League games in December.

In order to start racking up those all-important Premier League points, Brentford will need to replicate their impressive defensive output against an Aston Villa side which has found the back of the net 10 times in seven games.

Conceding goals has been a real problem for the Bees who haven't kept a clean sheet in six games.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard speaks with Tyrone Mings and players during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture date: Tuesday December 14, 2021.

Aston Villa aren't faring much better, having kept just one clean sheet from their last six. But then again, that was to be expected considering the Villans took on Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester City in that time.

Still, despite facing the big hitters in recent weeks, Villa won have four of their last seven league outings.

Games between Brentford and Villa have been closely contested in recent years and that is not expected to change this weekend. With that in mind, our opening selection is to back the draw at 23/10.

Last three meetings

Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford (Premier League - August 28, 2021)

Brentford's first trip to Villa Park since 2018 ended in a closely fought draw.

The visitors enjoyed more possession and opened the scoring through Ivan Toney.

Villa hit back five minutes later as Emiliano Buendia's equaliser helped the hosts to a point.

Brentford 1-0 Aston Villa (Championship - February 13, 2019)

Aston Villa's last visit to Brentford ended in heartbreak as the hosts scored in stoppage time to take all three points.

The Bees dominated proceedings but struggled to find the back of the net. But before Villa could celebrate a hard-earned point, Neal Maupay bagged a 91st-minute winner.

Aston Villa 2-2 Brentford (Championship - August 22, 2018)

Maupay was once again among the goals as Brentford earned a point at Villa Park.

The current Brighton forward opened the scoring for the hosts before Jonathan Kodjia's equaliser made it 1-1.

Maupay thought he bagged the winner for Brentford with an 82nd-minute strike. However, the Bees were denied as Kodjia also completed a brace to secure the draw.

Early goals in London?

Manchester City's Phil Foden (left) and Brentford's Mads Roerslev battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Brentford Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday December 29, 2021.

One of our main selections ahead of this game is for the first goal to be scored in the opening half-an-hour.

Ten of Brentford's last 12 games across all competitions have seen this bet land.

What's more, seven of Aston Villa's last 10 games have also seen a goal scored in the opening 30 minutes.

If that wasn't enough, this is a bet that is currently priced at even money.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Brentford wins: 3

Draws: 5

Aston Villa wins: 2

Brentford goals: 11

Aston Villa goals: 9

Both teams to score: 5

Over 2.5 goals: 4

Goalscorer bets for Brentford vs Aston Villa 

Ivan Toney celebrates scoring for Brentford, 2021

If Brentford are to reign supreme, they will need their star striker to produce the goods.

Ivan Toney hasn't scored in four games, with his last Premier League effort coming in late November during a 1-0 win over Everton.

As things stand, Toney is priced at 8/5 to score anytime. However, considering four of his five league goals have been Brentford's openers, it may be worth backing the 25-year-old to score first at 17/4.

From Villa's perspective, Ollie Watkins is the man to back.

The 26-year-old has scored four goals from nine league games and is currently available at 9/5 to get on the scoresheet.

READ MORE: Frustrated and unhappy, is Cristiano Ronaldo on his way out of Manchester United?

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