- Aston Villa and Leicester tied at 1-1 ahead of Carabao Cup semi second leg
- Leicester aiming for their first trophy since winning the EPL in 2015/16
- The Foxes start as odds-on favorites but Villa with home advantage
Leicester City and Aston Villa are tied at 1-1 after the first-leg of their English League Cup semifinal, so it’s everything to play for in the second leg at Villa Park on Tuesday, January 28, at 2:45 pm EST. The winners will meet either Manchester United or Manchester City in the final at Wembley on March 1, with City leading 3-1 from the first leg.
We’ll preview the game and see if we can identify some good bets.
Aston Villa vs Leicester City Odds
|Aston Villa||+0.5, +1 -119||+295||O 3 -110|
|Leicester City||-0.5, -1 -101||-133||U 3 -110|
All odds taken Jan. 25.
Foxes Hunting Down Silverware
Leicester’s season has promised much and but for a recent blip, it would be they, and not Manchester City, who would be the closest challengers to champions-elect, Liverpool.
Two defeats in their last five games have seen the Foxes overtaken by Man City in the EPL table, but still, this has been a fine season for Brendan Rodgers’ men and could yet see them pick up their first trophy since winning the Premier League in 2015/16 as they are also still in the FA Cup, after beating Brentford 1-0 on Saturday.
In the first leg at Villa Park, it was Kelechi Iheanacho who struck late for Leicester, canceling out Frederic Guilbert’s opener for the Villans in what had been a pulsating encounter in the East Midlands. Villa took the lead from what was their only shot on target in the match but an error from Douglas Luiz allowed Jamie Vardy to race through before setting up Iheanacho for a tap in.
Samatta to Solve Villa Goal Crisis?
Villa’s problem for most of the season is that they don’t have attacking options of the quality of Vardy and Iheanacho – a situation made worse by the season-ending injury picked up by summer-signing Wesley – but manager Dean Smith has tried to address this by bringing in Tanzania international Mbwana Samatta from KRC Genk in the January transfer window.
Samatta has scored ten goals for Genk this season, including one in the Champions League against Liverpool, and so Smith – who has been forced to pick teams without an out-and-out striker – may opt to throw Samatta straight into his side on Tuesday night, hoping he’ll produce the unexpected.
Aston Villa have completed a £10m deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 20, 2020
For Leicester, while Vardy and James Maddison attract the headlines, it’s Turkish center-back Caglar Soyuncu who has arguably been their star man in his breakthrough season. The Turkish international has been the glue that’s held together the Leicester defense and will be key as they look to quell the Villa threat. Such is the Foxes’ firepower, they know if they keep a clean sheet, they have the ability to score the goals that will win the game.
|16th||Position in EPL table||3rd|
|17||Goals scored in 2019/20 League Cup||11|
|4||Goals conceded in competition||5|
|79||Total shots in competition||89|
|1||Clean sheets in competition||0|
|5||League Cup Winners||3|
In terms of the Leicester attack, manager Brendan Rodgers has an injury concern in the form of Vardy, who was forced off through injury against West Ham last week but, although the England striker did miss the weekend’s FA Cup tie, Rodgers confirmed last Friday he is hopeful he will be fit for the Villa game. For those who leave their bets late, this is key as a Leicester team with Vardy in it is infinitely better than one without him.
This has been a fine season for Brendan Rodgers’ men and could yet see them pick up their first trophy since winning the Premier League in 2015/16.
Another boost for Foxes fans is the return to fitness of Nigerian international Wilfred Ndidi, who made an appearance in the West Ham game. He now looks likely to take his place in the Leicester midfield against Villa, after missing three games – including the first leg of this semifinal – with a knee problem. Definitely missing for Leicester are Nampalys Mendy, Matthew James and Daniel Amartey.
Home Advantage May Be Key
In early December, when the two teams met in the EPL at Villa Park, the Foxes ran out comfortable 4-1 winners but this one will be much closer. Leicester, understandably, start as favorites but Villa will fancy this after being under the pump for most of the first leg but still emerging with a draw. If Jack Grealish can have one of those nights when he is almost unplayable, I can see Villa sneaking this and sending a boisterous Villa Park crowd home ecstatic.
Pick: Aston Villa to win 1-0 (+1000)