Aston Villa v Leicester City, 7.45pm Tuesday 28th January
It’s all to play for at Villa Park on Tuesday evening following a 1-1 stalemate in the first leg at the King Power. You suspect Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City underestimated their opponents somewhat in that game and had to come from behind through substitute Kelechi Iheanacho.
The Foxes’ form since has been mildly worrying, losing 2-1 to both Southampton and Burnley, before swatting aside West Ham in the league and scraping past Brentford in the FA Cup. Villa, meanwhile, have been just as inconsistent – on the end of a 6-1 hammering at home to Manchester City, drawing with Brighton and taking the three points at home to Watford.
This one could go either way and a draw after 90 minutes would be no surprise at 10/3 with William Hill. Both teams have scored in Villa’s last six games and has clicked in four of Leicester’s last five fixture and you’ve got to fancy it again on Tuesday night at 8/13. A score draw looks much better value, though, at 4/1.
With Jamie Vardy picking up niggly injuries of late, it’s often fallen on Iheanacho to lead the line. The Nigerian striker looks much improved this season and grabbed the winner at Brentford on Saturday. He is EVS to get another cup goal against Dean Smith’s side and 15/4 to net the opener.
Manchester City v Manchester United, 7.45pm Wednesday 29th January
You have to admire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s optimism. After an abysmal 2-0 defeat to Burnley last week he searched for any straws to clutch, enthusiastically stating that Man United were still fifth and still in the Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Well yes, United are still in the Carabao Cup in the same way a 60-year-old born on 29th February can claim that they are still in their teens. A 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City in the first leg means it will take a comeback of 1999 Champions League final proportions for The Red Devils to progress to the final.
Pep Guardiola’s side blew their cross-town rivals away in the first half at Old Trafford, racing into a three-goal lead inside 38 minutes before taking their feet off the gas. Despite this cushion and the likelihood that City will rotate their starting eleven, it’s difficult to see United get anything from this second leg Manchester Derby at the Etihad.
In fact, it’s difficult to see anything but another drubbing. That reverse to City in the first leg was one of four defeats already for United since the turn of the year. They have all been by two-goal margins. City to win by two goals on Wednesday evening is best price 7/2 but even a home win by three or more goals looks decent value at 11/4.
As aforementioned, Guardiola should field an understrength side but the likes of Riyad Mahrez will likely feature. He netted in the first leg and has bagged another two since. The Algerian is 7/1 to open the scoring on Wednesday and 15/8 to get one across the 90 minutes.