Aston Villa are out to 11/4 in bwin’s Premier League relegation odds after claiming a welcome 2-0 win over Newcastle on home turf.
Dean Smith’s side had lost their previous three top-flight fixtures, but goals from Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi helped to stop the rot.
Smith said: “It was a good performance, especially in the first half. We controlled the ball really well, dominated possession.
“We were pretty relentless with the ball, but patient as well, because they banked in and made it difficult.”
Villa moved up to 15th in the table, one place and a single point behind the Magpies, who are now 9/4 for the drop.
Steve Bruce lamented the fact his current side barely turned up against a club from which he was sacked just under 14 months ago.
He commented: “The disappointment for me, after playing so well of late, in the first half in particular, we were passive in everything we did.
“We didn’t do enough with the ball and most certainly without it.”
Norwich climbed off the foot of the table to third from bottom on 10 points thanks to a 2-0 triumph at Everton, but are still 9/25 favourites to fall.
However, having registered their first league win since beating Manchester City in September, boss Daniel Farke believes it could be a turning point for the Canaries.
“The first 12 games were disappointing in terms of points, not performances,” said the German.
“The main part of the season starts now and the main part of the season is when the table is made.
“When you come away from Everton with a clean-sheet win, it is good for the mood.”
Hornets now propping up table
Watford are the new basement dwellers on eight points following a 3-0 home loss to Burnley and they are 31/50 in bwin’s Premier League relegation odds.
An unwanted club-record 11th consecutive winless home league match compounded the Hornets’ heavy reverse, but Quique Sanchez Flores remains relaxed about his rebuilding job.
“We just need time, we need belief, we need fight; all these kind of things,” said the Spaniard.
“We need to keep positive. It’s about how you trust or do not have trust in your players.
“I don’t have any doubt in my players or the squad, I believe in them 100 per cent that they can change the situation.”
Southampton are just a point better off but showed plenty of promise in a 2-2 draw at Arsenal and are 7/4 for the drop.
Saints led twice through Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse and created several good chances to kill the game off, but Alexandre Lacazette completed his brace in stoppage time.
“It’s mixed emotions really,” Ings told the club website. “Before we kicked off, you’d have probably taken a point, but coming off the pitch, you’re gutted we didn’t win.
“We put everything into it and the fans were great behind us – it’s gutting not to get the three points, but we have to take confidence moving forward.”
West Ham are on 13 points after losing 3-2 at home to Tottenham and can be backed at 333/100 to slip into the Championship.
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