David Prutton has predicted Aston Villa to lose when they host Middlesbrough on Tuesday night in the Championship.
The Midlands giants welcome Boro for a league encounter between two teams that were tipped for promotion this season.
However, Steve Bruce’s side have made a disappointing start to the campaign and are 18th-placed after the opening six games.
They have just one victory over Norwich to their name and slipped to a goalless draw against Brentford at the weekend.
Sky Sports pundit Prutton has tipped Villa to continue their poor start to the season and lose 2-1 against 6th-placed Born.
“Two of the pre-season favourites meet at Villa Park but neither have had quite the dream start they would have been hoping for,” Prutton told Sky Sports. “Aston Villa would have been hoping for a morale-boosting victory over Brentford on Saturday but they couldn’t manage it.
“Middlesbrough, meanwhile, got a good win at Bolton and it looks like things may finally be starting to gel under Garry Monk. Away win for me here.”
Villa have several big summer signings in their side with the likes of John Terry and Glenn Whelan, but they are yet to make a serious impact.
Bruce has undergone a huge transformation of his squad since his arrival and the pressure is now on him to start getting results.
This is the second season out of the top flight for the Midlands club and they are desperate to launch a promotion bid this year.
However, they are going to have to turn their form around quickly and Tuesday night’s clash against Boro should be a good test of their credentials.
Villa certainly look a team short of confidence right now and even at this early stage of the season they are starting to drift away from the play-off spots. There is certainly the quality in their squad to go on a long winning run at some stage and kickstarting that against Boro would be a a dream from them. They need more creative flair in the final third and it might be a good time to bring summer signing Snodgrass into the starting XI, while promoting striker Scott Hogan could also work for them.