LEICESTER travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Sunday. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) takes a closer look at what's expected to be an intriguing encounter.
Aston Villa vs Leicester | Sunday 5th December 2021, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Aston Villa slipped to their first defeat under Steven Gerrard against Man City in midweek, despite a spirited second-half showing, which saw Ollie Watkins bag a consolation.
Now Gerrard gets his first taste of a Midlands derby as west meets east at Villa Park on Super Sunday against a Leicester side that is very much a bag of Revels – you don’t know what you’re going to get.
The Foxes won back-to-back games in October, but in the five in the league since then, they’ve only beaten 17th-placed Watford, as well as drawing and losing twice.
Leicester do have a good recent history against Villa, winning five of their last seven league games against them. But the concerning trend for Brendan Rodgers is that the Foxes are without a clean sheet in 14 away league games – a run that stretches back to February.
The betting angles
I had a look through some recent Leicester games and noticed how opposition full-backs had been completing plenty of tackles. So, the choice is Matty Cash or Matt Targett here.
I’ve gone with Matty Cash 3+ tackles at 17/10 with Ladbrokes – a line he’s hit on six occasions this season. He recorded three v Man Utd, five at Southampton and six in midweek against Man City.
The Polish international sits second in tackles completed by Villa players this season with 32, just behind John McGinn (34).
Here’s a quick rundown of those opposition full-back tackle numbers against Leicester, and with Harvey Barnes, Ademola Lookman and James Maddison, it’s understandable to see why.
- LB: Kyle Walker-Peters (4)
- RB: Tino Livramento (2)
- LB: Adam Masina (4)
- RB: Kiko Femenía (3)
- LWB: Ben Chilwell (1)
- RWB: Reece James (3)
- LB: Pascal Struijk (1) – caveat that LCB Liam Cooper made 3
- RB: Stuart Dallas (3)
- LB: Luke Shaw (1)
- RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (4)
- LB: Tyrick Mitchell (5)
- RB: Joel Ward (2)
There isn’t much consistency whether it’s the right-back or left-back, but the fact that Cash is more of a tackler than Targett swung it in his favour. As did the numbers for Masina and Walker-Peters as the opposition left-backs in the last couple of games against Leicester.
I previewed Leicester’s home game against Chelsea and pinpointed an avenue to explore, which I’ve linked to, so you can find out where I’m going with this.
Since that game where Antonio Rudiger scored a header and left centre-back Trevoh Chalobah also had a shot, Leicester have faced shots from more opposition centre-backs.
Watford’s William Troost-Ekong had one on Sunday at the King Power Stadium, while both of Southampton’s centre-halves had shots – Jan Bednarek scored, and Mohammed Salisu had two efforts with one on target.
So, that makes me look straight in the direction of Tyrone Mings, who has had 12 shots for the Villans, including six in the three games under Gerrard.
When you look through his numbers, half of his shots have been with his head (6/12), but overall, just four of his 12 have been on target (33%).
Yet, two of those four shots on target have been headers – one came against Everton, while the other was in Gerrard’s first game in charge v Brighton.
He also popped up with three shots against Man City in midweek. Despite them all being off-target, each one came with his head, showing that this Villa side do get balls into the box for the likes of Mings to attack.
I’ve said in the past that Leicester are vulnerable from set-pieces with their zonal marking, so that should give Mings the chance to have a running jump at one of the deliveries put into the mixer, which makes the 5/4 for 1+ shot (Ladbrokes) and the 17/2 Power Price for a headed shot on target (Paddy Power) look rather enticing.
Michael Oliver is very much the man for this occasion. He’s refereed three of their last four league meetings showing 14 cards, an average of 4.7 cards per game. Although he’s only averaging just shy of three cautions per game this term.
This can be tempestuous affairs, but I’m going to leave cards alone for a potential in-play bet, or at least until the team news is out.
Aston Villa v Leicester: Matty Cash 3+ tackles (17/10 Ladbrokes)
Aston Villa v Leicester: Tyrone Mings 1+ shots (5/4 Ladbrokes)
Aston Villa v Leicester: Tyrone Mings 1+ headed shot on target (17/2 Paddy Power)