premier league

Adrian Clarke: Emery's Villa Flying & Brentford At Goodison Park

9 min

Adrian Clarke is back with two Premier League picks this weekend, both away from home.


Unai Emery hasn’t been in place as Aston Villa manager too long, but he has already masterminded victories at Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, and Everton.

We know he has a smart tactical brain, and his influence has quickly rubbed off on a side that hadn’t won at all away from home before the Spaniard’s arrival.

Striker Ollie Watkins has revelled in it more than most, scoring in each of his last three Premier League away games. The last Villain to manage four in a row was Dwight Yorke back in 1998.

Their trip to West Ham United on Sunday is interesting in many ways, not least because Danny Ings will line up against his former club.

He was effectively dumped by Emery, who prefers Watkins, so it will be fascinating to see which front man shines brightest at the London Stadium.

The Hammers were in Cyprus on Thursday night beating AEK Larnaca 2-0 in the UEFA Conference League. It’s not the shortest of flights, so David Moyes’ prep time for this fixture will have been shorter than usual.

This should be considered and gives Emery an advantage for sure.

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West Ham do have a terrific record against Aston Villa, so if historical trends are your bag, this could be a tip avoid, but I don’t trust the Hammers this season. They have been so flat.

Their home record is also poor. Moyes’ men have failed to win seven of 12 home games in the Premier League, with the likes of Brighton, Brentford, Crystal Palace, and Leicester City all walking away with three-point hauls.

Last time out they were also dismal in a heavy defeat at Brighton, losing the shot count 20-3 at the AMEX Stadium.

With all this in mind I do like Aston Villa’s prospects of collecting at least a point from this road trip.

Matchbook are offering 1.99 on Villa +0.0/0.5, which means we’re in the money if this end as a draw or away victory.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron may have got these two sides confused back in the day, but I am clear on my choice here. I want to get on Villa’s side…


Thomas Frank hasn’t built a buccaneering or beautiful Brentford side, but boy they are tough to beat.

I couldn’t be more impressed with his job in west London, not least because at Championship level, they were a fluid, possession-based side that played attractive attacking football.

His tactical adaptations prove how rounded and intelligent the Danish head coach is.

Their clash with Sean Dyche’s Everton this weekend won’t be pretty, but it does in my opinion, give the Bees a strong chance of extending their long unbeaten run.

Brentford haven’t been beaten since a 4-0 loss at Aston Villa on 23 October.

That’s a 12-game run that includes wins against Manchester City, Liverpool, and in-form Fulham. They’ve also claimed draws against Tottenham and Arsenal.

Scoring in 11 of those 12 fixtures, they will also be buzzing on the back of an impressive 3-2 success at home to neighbours Fulham on Monday evening.

Can they keep this unbeaten run going at Everton? I think so.

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The Toffees are still without Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top, and although Demarai Gray is a decent top-flight player, they aren’t the same side without their talismanic centre forward.

Home clean-sheet victories under Dyche against Arsenal and Leeds United offer hope to the supporters, but defensively they remain an unreliable outfit.

Everton have leaked at least two goals in seven of their nine top-flight games in 2023.

So, with Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo looking sharp for the visitors of late, I would anticipate at least a goal or two from the west Londoners.

If the Bees do score, they should get something out of this match. For the Toffees have failed to score more than once in 11 of their 12 home outings this term.

I looked at Brentford +0.0 on the Asian Handicap at an even money price of 2.0, and wouldn’t deter anyone from going with that pick.

However, I’m keen on making a profit if Frank’s side avoid defeat on Merseyside, so for me I’ll take the shorter 1.7 on Brentford +0.0/0.5.

They are more than good enough to extend their long stretch of unbeaten games.


  • West Ham vs ASTON VILLA +0.0/0.5 (1.99)
  • Everton vs BRENTFORD +0.0/0.5 (1.7)

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