Leicester v Aston Villa: Visitors can avoid defeat at toothless Foxes
With Leicester and Aston Villa both in poor form, Dan Fitch argues the value is with the outsiders.
Leicester 1.42 v Aston Villa 9.20; The Draw 5.30 Monday 9 March, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Third placed Leicester in risk of being caught
Leicester cannot take Champions League qualification for granted as they enter the final ten games of the Premier League season.
The Foxes remain third, five points ahead of fourth placed Chelsea and eight points clear of Manchester United in fifth. With a much better goal difference than either, it's a decent cushion, but Leicester's form in recent weeks has been alarming.
Brendan Rodgers has only seen his team win once in their last seven matches (D2 L4). They were beaten 1-0 by rock bottom Norwich last weekend and in midweek needed a late goal from Ricardo Pereira to win their FA Cup tie against the Championship outfit Birmingham. That strike ended a run of three consecutive games without a goal.
Jamie Vardy looks set to return on Monday after missing the Birmingham match with injury, but he has been struggling for form as well as fitness. The former England striker has not scored in any of his last nine appearances.
Villa emerge from cup defeat with credit
Aston Villa may have lost the EFL Cup final, but Dean Smith will surely have been impressed by the spirited display that they gave in defeat.
The underdogs came back from being two goals down against Manchester City to 2-1 and came close to levelling the scores in the second-half. After a disappointing performance in their last Premier League outing - a 2-0 defeat at Southampton - it was important that Villa were competitive against Manchester City, even if they didn't get to lift any silverware.
With Aston Villa having lost their last three Premier League matches, Smith will no doubt be relieved that the distraction of the cup is over. His team can now concentrate on the battle for survival, which will be a tough one, with Villa's next five games all coming against sides occupying positions in the top six of the Premier League.
In Villa's favour is the fact that they have close to a full squad to choose from. The players currently unavailable are the long-term absentees Tom Heaton, Jed Steer, John McGinn and Wesley.
Hosts are way too short given recent record
Leicester are the 1.42favourites, with the draw at 5.30 and Aston Villa at 9.20.
Even given Villa's own poor form, that seems a very short price for a Leicester side having their own difficulties. The two sides played twice in the EFL Cup semi-finals as recently as January, with Aston Villa emerging unbeaten. Villa drew 1-1 at the King Power Stadium, before winning the second-leg at Villa Park 2-1.
Looking at those results, there seems to be a lot of value in Aston Villa avoiding defeat at 3.25 in the Double Chance market. Leicester have only won three of their last nine home matches and two of those victories came against lower league opposition in the FA Cup (D3 L3).
Villa are reliable scorers
Both teams to score landed in those two EFL Cup matches and in the Premier League match at Villa Park in December. You can back both teams to score to be successful for a fourth time at 1.80.
It's a bet that's been a winner in ten of Aston Villa's last eleven matches and seems a better option than over 2.5 goals at 1.57, or over 3.5 goals at 2.40.