Mike Holden expects a tough one for Villa's first match in the Championship.
A game against a fallen Premier League giant is arguably the perfect pick-me-up for Sheffield Wednesday after the heartbreak of losing the play-off final to Hull in their last competitive outing. Few opponents at Championship level get pulses racing at Hillsborough nowadays but a visit from the second-city outfit should capture the imagination like almost nothing else.
The Owls have come a long way in a short space of time under Carlos Carvalhal and some punters might be getting ahead of themselves in assuming they’re a shoo-in for another top-six finish. But if they recreate anything like the general standards set last season, then they should be too strong for a disheveled club under a new manager with no clear identity.
Most of Wednesday’s best work last season - particularly at home - was done in the second half and there’s value in the 9/2 available on the Draw/Sheff Wed half-time/full-time outcome, considering that’s the method by which they achieved eight of their 13 home wins last season.
Villa head into this clash buoyed by the arrival of £12m man Ross McCormack but it’s a transfer that's more about Villa flexing muscles than a sustainable strategy for taking the club forward. They might strut around like they still belong in the top flight For 45 minutes, but Wednesday have what it takes to bring them down to earth before the 90 are up.