Mark O’Haire’s Capital One Cup Tips – Tuesday’s MatchesStats
Aston Villa v Birmingham
“I ain’t never felt this bad ever”. That was Tim Sherwood’s reaction to Aston Villa’s 3-2 loss at Leicester last weekend.
Aston Villa v Birmingham, Tuesday 22 September 2015, 19.45, Sky Sports 1
But the Villa boss must fear Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup tussle against arch-rivals Birmingham after another derby defeat at home to West Brom on Saturday.
Not since 1986/87 – the season Aston Villa were relegated – have the 1982 European Cup winners started a top tier campaign so poorly.
The weekend 1-0 reverse to their West Midlands neighbours means Villa have taken just four points from a possible 18 on offer to languish two points above rock bottom Sunderland.
The Premier League ever-presents were booed off on Saturday but Sherwood insists his side will be ready for the showdown with their bitterest enemies. It’s the first meeting between the two since January 2011 and having signed 11 new players in a £40 million summer spree, perhaps it’s understandable to hear the Villa boss under pressure.
The hosts will be without talented duo Idrissa Gana and Adama Traore and look well worth opposing on Tuesday. However, the Villans are trading at just 10/11, which does seem bigger than you might expect for a Premier League side entertaining a second tier club. Still, the Blues have a strong case for upsetting the odds at Villa Park.
I’m a huge Gary Rowett fan and despite only having pennies to play with, the Birmingham boss has guided the 2011 League Cup winners to just one loss in nine outings so far. When the former Burton manager arrived at St Andrews, the Blues were floundering in 23rd – they finished the campaign in 10th.
The impact Rowett has made deserves much more recognition than he’s currently getting and in 39 league fixtures he’s returned W17-D13-L9. Over a 46-game season, Birmingham would accumulate 75 points and find themselves in the play-off positions. That’s absolutely outstanding.
Back to the game at hand and with the Blues unbeaten in six away matches dating back to mid-April (winning four), unbeaten in three clashes with Villa – including a League Cup tie at St Andrew’s in 2010/11 – and only losing once in ten Capital One Cup encounters, I reckon the 13/8 on Birmingham To Qualify is well worth a poke.
Birmingham to qualify @ 13/8
Fulham v Stoke, Tuesday 22 September 2015, 19.45
Stoke are yet to record a Premier League win this season and manager Mark Hughes knows the Potters must kick-start a winning run when they face Fulham in their third-round Capital One Cup clash on Tuesday night.
But rather than back the top tier team at short prices, a punt on Both Teams To Score looks much more attractive at 4/5. Stoke threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Leicester City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and are still searching for their first clean sheet of the new campaign.
Long-term injury victim Ryan Shawcross’ absence is clearly having a negative impact on the team and the Potters required penalties to overcome League Two outfit Luton in the previous round of League Cup action. On the flip side, in four road trips during 2015/16, only Arsenal have managed to shut Hughes’ men out.
The visitors should get plenty of joy out of a Fulham side that have bagged only two wins from their opening seven Championship fixtures, losing to Sheffield Wednesday last time out. Even so, Kit Symons’ hosts have netted in every game this term and will fancy their chances of enhancing that record on Tuesday.
But a rather underwhelming W10-D5-L8 league record at Craven Cottage under the Welshman’s watch doesn’t exactly inspire. The Londoners have only collected five clean sheets in those 23 fixtures with 14/23 (61%) banking in the BTTS column, including the most recent seven. I’ll count on a repeat this midweek.
Both Teams To Score @ 4/5
*Prices correct at time of publication