Aston Villa return to action in Group E of the Europa Conference League when they journey to the AFAS Stadion to face AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening (17:45).
The points and goal difference are currently level between all four teams heading into matchday three, so everything is still to play for.
Mayckel Lahdo will be absent for the hosts, as he will be serving a suspension for his dismissal in Alkmaar’s previous Europa Conference League contest.
Mees de Wit will miss out here due to a foot problem, while Sem Westerveld has a knee issue to contend with.
As for Villa, Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia remain long-term absentees, while Jacob Ramsey and Alex Moreno will also join them on the treatment table for the foreseeable future.
The hosts are 11/5 to claim a vital three points, while Aston Villa are 21/20 record a crucial away victory, with the draw 23/10.
Villa stuck four goals past West Ham United at the weekend, and are 9/1 to score over 3.5 goals again on Thursday night. Three of AZ Alkmaar’s last four matches have seen over 2.5 goals land, and a repeat of that here is priced up at 8/11.
#PYP – Aston Villa to win, Ollie Watkins to score and Jordy Clasie to be carded @ 17/2
Villa come into this contest in brilliant form – a run of four wins and a draw in their last five Premier League outings has sent Unai Emery’s side soaring up the table.
Admittedly, a good portion of Villa’s success this season has come on their home patch, and their recent away form doesn’t make for good reading, with just one win in their last four on their travels, conceding seven goals in the process.
However, I’m backing Emery’s side to claim all three points on Thursday, and I think Ollie Watkins can play a pivotal role here.
He was on the scoresheet again on Sunday against the Hammers, meaning he’s had 10 goal involvements across nine Premier League appearances so far (five goals and five assists), but he’s yet to register a goal or an assist in Europe, and he’ll be desperate to end that drought here.
To finish this #PickYourPunt off, I’m backing Jordy Clasie to be carded. The former Southampton midfielder has received two cautions in the Europa Conference League already this season and trying to win the midfield battle against Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz could prove to be a tall order.
Vangelis Pavlidis to score anytime @ 6/4
Vangelis Pavlidis has been a goal machine for AZ Alkmaar this season.
The 24-year-old has 14 goals in 15 appearances across all competitions for the Dutch outfit so far this term, and comes into this game off the back of netting a hat-trick against Heerenveen.
He found the back of the net earlier this month on matchday two against Legia Warsaw, and has remarkably scored in every Eredivisie game this season.
I think 6/4 is a cracking price for the Greek forward to score anytime, given the form he’s in.