Aston Villa vs Crystal PalaceEnglish Premier League, KO: 15:00 Dec 26, 2020, Villa Park
ASTON Villa's turnaround this season has been nothing short of remarkable and they will fancy their chances of giving their fans some Christmas cheer when Crystal Palace come calling.
That derby success has propelled Smith's charges to ninth in the Premier League table and it's worth noting that the Villans have played two games less than the majority of the sides housed above them in the standings.
However, the Claret and Blue have hardly been inspiring with their results at Villa Park, so they will seek some home comfort from their Boxing Day clash with Crystal Palace.
Roy Hodgson's side were on the receiving end of a 7-0 drubbing by Liverpool last weekend and the Eagles boss will demand a response from his wounded troops at Villa Park on Saturday.
The capital club have punched above their weight under Hodgson's astute management for a number of seasons but it will be interesting to see how Palace fare moving forward after last Saturday's 7-0 savaging at Selhurst park.
Crystal Palace are without a win in each of their last three visits to this venue and the bookies odds suggest that trend is set to continue after pricing Palace up at 3/1 with BetVictor, while a point apiece is an unfancied 14/5 with 888Sport.
I spoke about this fixture on this week's edition of the Gambla Bet Builder Podcast where I recommended combining under five match goals, over zero Aston Villa goals, over three Aston Villa corners and over zero Crystal Palace cards, a 4/5 shot with Bet 365.
Aston Villa's improvement this season can be attributed to their well-schooled defence – Smith's side boast the second-best defensive record in the division and they have managed to record a clean sheet in each of their last three fixtures.
When digging slightly deeper it can be seen that 10 of Villa's 12 top-flight tussles this term have featured fewer than five match goals and the under 4.5 goals play has landed in 11 of Crystal Palace's 14 league matches to date.
With that in mind, coupled with the fact Hodgson will have worked his defence tirelessly on the training ground this week, I'm more than happy to add under five match goals to the Boxing Day Bet Builder.
Having said that, Aston Villa are averaging two goals per game this season and I fancy them to eventually find a way through a brittle Palace backline who have failed to bag a shutout across each of their last 13 assignments.
Villa may have to be patient though so I'll also back the hosts to hit over three corners against the Eagles – Aston Villa's 7.5 team corners per game is the highest average in the top-flight this term.
What's more, Aston Villa are currently the most-fouled team in the Premier League and their talisman Jack Grealish tends to find himself on the receiving end of some rough treatment every time he takes to the turf – Grealish is the most-fouled player in the league this season – and I'll therefore add at least one Crystal Palace card to the above-mentioned Bet Builder.
For reasons already discussed I'm also going to recommend another Bet Builder by coming Aston Villa double chance and under four match goals at 4/5 with Bet 365 – a formula that would have rewarded punters in seven of the eight games that Aston Villa have avoided defeat in this season so far.
This English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace will be played on Dec 26, 2020 and kick off at 15:00. Check below for our tipsters best Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace prediction.