THE League Cup final takes centre-stage on Sunday. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the Aston Villa and Manchester City showpiece.
Aston Villa v Manchester City | Sunday 1st March 2020, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Manchester City in a domestic cup final, who’d of thought it? It’s been a relatively straightforward path to the final for Pep Guardiola’s men and they still have a potential treble to go for with this trophy, the FA Cup and the Champions League still up for grabs.
It’s not often you see a cup final with such disparity in prices but it’s a fair reflection of the gulf in quality between the pair. Aston Villa have done exceptionally well to get this far and it was two impressive performances over the well fancied Leicester that saw them reach this stage – It’s a sell out in the Villa end and fans will be dreaming of an upset.
Villa's path to the final may well have derailed their league campaign though and Dean Smith knows his side are in a relegation battle. They were woeful at Southampton the other week and Smith hinted that some players haven’t merited a place in the starting XI for this final.
Whoever does get the nod will no doubt have to do a lot of defensive work off the ball , it would be silly to come out at City all guns blazing in a fixture of such magnitude.
It’s defensively where Villa have been so poor this season, going forward they do pose a threat but there are always gaps to exploit just as there were in Smith’s Brentford side. That should mean it could be an entertaining affair and Villa will no doubt look to play on the break with the likes of Jack Grealish and Anwar El-Ghazi.
City have been found out by a few times in such situations and with City likely to take an early lead, Villa have to open up and they score. That makes the goal line look more than fair at 3.5.
It will be interesting to see if Smith goes with Grealish in a free role in front of two banks of four or play him on the left hand side of a midfield five. Even if he does he is likely to drift inside, he caused City some problems running through the space into the final third and with City well known as cynical foulelrs it could well be worth looking at the likes of Rodrigo and Ilkay Gundogan in the card markets.
However, you have to expect Villa will be up against it and may resort to fouls themselves. With that in mind I’m going to utilise the BetBuilder market on Bet365 and play Villa Over 1 and and City Over 0 Cards at even-money. It’s a final so players will be happy to take yellows here and there and I think that price is quite generous all things considered.
It’s obviously hard to get any value out of such a game, even if it is a final and that naturally draws my eyes towards the correct score markets and I’ll dutch the 3-1 and 4-1 at 10/1 (SkyBet) and 14/1 (Bet365).
Dutching basically means splitting your stakes across two bets, it’s only really worth doing for correct scores and eight of City’s wins this season have come via these scorelines.