ALEX JONES (@AlexJ0nes9) analyses the odds as Burton and Aston Villa lock horns in the second round of the League Cup on Tuesday night.
Burton vs Aston Villa | Tuesday 15th September 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Burton Albion and Aston Villa meet in the second round of the EFL Cup for the second time in three seasons on Tuesday night.
The Brewers reached the semi-final stage of the competition back in the 2018/19 campaign before that infamous trouncing at Manchester City (9-0). Albion will take confidence from that cup run, despite Villa fielding a vastly weakened team last time the two sides met.
Team news is crucial when considering any outright markets in a cup game at such an early stage in the season. Whilst Burton began their League One campaign on Saturday with a 2-1 away loss to Fleetwood, Villa have a delayed start to their season due to a few Premier League team’s European commitments.
It is hard to predict whether Dean Smith will play his reserves or field a relatively stronger team than that two years ago. The Villa boss will want a fully fit squad to pick from for their Premier League opener against Sheffield United six days later, but he may want to inspect some of his summer recruits further, especially with so much time to prepare after this encounter at the Pirelli Stadium.
One of Villa’s most impressive summer signings was Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest. The London-born right-back was key to Forest’s largely impressive season last year, particularly on successful tackle data, as well as his speed in which he covered defensively and provided attacking threat down the wing.
Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi saw these assets in pre-season last year and converted him to a full-back, despite coming through the club’s academy and first-team as a midfielder. Villa clearly liked what they saw from the defender after just one full season in the position, shelling out up to £16m.
Cash will likely get another run out here after an impressive display against Manchester United in a friendly on Saturday. Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of that game and could potentially start up top here, and if he does his goalscorer price with Bet365 at 11/8 appeals.
Watkins netted 25 goals in 46 games for Brentford last season, and after only having a few weeks off after the Championship play-off final, he should not have lost too much match fitness. He will likely be sharp and eager to impress the Villa faithful, attempting to get off the mark early. He is as short as 10/11 with some firms to score, however, I would wait until the team news is announced or even tick the ‘Void if player does not start’ box when placing.
The League Cup has been a good competition for Burton over the last couple of seasons, facing some tough opponents, including last season’s exit to Leicester, and defeat to Man City the year before. Of their last 12 EFL Cup games, since the 2018/19 season, the Brewers have scored in 10, only failing to find the net against Guardiola’s side.
Burton have faced various top-flight sides in that time, including Leicester, Bournemouth and Burnley, scoring in each. I would expect Villa to score, whatever side Smith fields, and Both Teams To Score at 19/20 (Bet365) is therefore my second selection here.
The bookies have BTTS ‘No’ as more likely here but given Burton’s love for cup games and Villa’s firepower likely to be on show, I can see both sides notching.