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Aston Villa v Stoke: All aboard the Sherwood revival train

| 20.02.2015

Tim Sherwood has already had an effect on Aston Villa, having dashed down to sprinkle some magic dust over the players during half time of the FA Cup win over Leicester last time out. Now that he has full control over the Midlands club, they are only set for a great escape.

The recovery starts at home – against a Stoke side hurtling towards mid-table anonymity quicker than Usain Bolt gets out of the starting blocks – where we predict a victory for the new boss among our three best bets for the contest:

Aston Villa to win @ 8/5

Sherwood won more games as Tottenham Hotspurs’ manager than any other tactician in the side’s history and has already claimed the credit for Villa’s recent triumph in the country’s most loved cup competition.

With his exuberance and ability to inspire failing individuals Villa look far too long to be the latest beneficiaries of the well-known new-manager boon. Stoke’s winless three-game stretch helps too.

Christian Benteke to score at anytime @ 19/10

Again using symmetry from his White Hart Lane days, Sherwood’s stint in north London is largely remembered for his recalling of Emmanuel Adebayor from the doldrums and coaxing match-winning performances from him.

He’ll have to copy that strategy with Benteke at Villa Park, as the Belgian is the biggest chance the relegation fighters have of survival. Luckily, the brutish striker has scored in two of his top-flight appearances against the Potters.

First half to produce the most goals @ 2/1

As you may have heard, Aston Villa haven’t scored many goals this season. The ones they have managed have come in the first half though, with 75 percent of their 12 being netted before the refreshment period.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.