FOUR matches in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) lends us his thoughts.
Man City v Crystal Palace | Wednesday 19:45
Did I mention how much I hate betting on this competition? Yes? Well I’ll say it again just so you’re sure. On Wednesday I’m backing two big outsiders to perform well at fancy odds. I’ll start with Crystal Palace.
Palace are away at Man City and go into this game under a bit of a mini-cloud after two defeats in a row and four Premier League losses in their last six. The gloss of late-August has been smothered of late.
Here they face Man City, a team involved in one of the most tedious games of the month on Sunday. Their 0-0 draw against city rivals Manchester United was an uninspiring affair and the team continue to look stunning some weeks and slovenly others.
City were knocked out by Newcastle in this competition last season and by Middlesbrough in the FA Cup so they do (did?) have a tendency to take their eye off the ball in these kind of games.
A deep Cup run would do further wonders for Alan Pardew’s profile and for Crystal Palace generally and I wonder if Pardew has considered having an assualt on the Capital One and FA Cup’s this season.
City are back in Champions League action next midweek and Manuel Pellegrini may feel they have bigger fish to fry. I’ll back Palace +1.25 on the Asian Handicap where a one goal defeat will result in profit. It’s 20/19 with 888 Sport.
Southampton v Aston Villa | Wednesday 19:45
When you split up with your girlfriend and go back out with your mates again do you get back in the groove quickly? I do. It just tends to fade away again after three months but that analogy could work for Aston Villa tonight.
Manager Tim Sherwood has left the club and the players will be free from his histrionic managerial methods, tantrums and in-your-face speak. That might just be a good thing you know. Without that overburdening presence the players might just flourish in this hard game against Southampton.
Ronald Koeman’s side look in great nick after an unbeaten run of four in the Premier League has seen them hit the Top 8. It’s hard to pick holes in their form to be fair but let’s not forget League One side Sheffield United knocked them out of this competition last season.
I’m hoping this (re-energised?) Villa side can stay competitive on Wednesday night under these new managerial conditions and put on an encouraging show.
As big as 15/2 to win the match outright, I’ll back them +1.25 on the Asian Handicap also. Hopefully them and Crystal Palace can do me a favour tonight.
Southampton v Aston Villa – Aston Villa +1.25 Asian Handicap (5/6 32Red)
Paddy Power are offering 16/1 on City, United, Liverpool and Southampton winning on Wednesday.