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Villa overpriced to beat Man City, especially with Agbonlahor

| 07.05.2014

One thing that Aston Villa will be thankful for when they travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City is that Mario Balotelli is no longer on the books of the Premier League title favourites.

In four Etihad starts against Villa, the Italian striker helped himself to six goals and his record is perhaps one of the reasons that the team from the midlands do not have the fondest memories of this fixture.

Villa have conceded 23 goals in their last seven visits to the Etihad in all competitions and unsurprisingly this has resulted in six defeats, including all of the meetings in the top flight.

For this reason, alongside the fact that Man City are almost guaranteed to be champions for the second time in three seasons if winning their last two home games, a price of 1/7 has been attached to Villa tasting another Etihad defeat.

However, given that Villa have more than once made life difficult when travelling to title challengers this season, their win price may excite the value punters.

Paul Lambert has watched his team draw at Anfield, win at the Emirates and only lose 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, where they were refused the clearest of late penalties.

It is Villa’s ability to counter attack at pace which can help make them such dangerous opposition, especially against opposition prepared to commit numbers forward and that play on the front foot.

Backing Villa to win at 16/1 is certainly not one of the worst bets of the season, while it is 5/1 that Lambert’s men manage to avoid defeat at the Etihad.

The absence of Christian Benteke in attack is an obvious disadvantage, but the possible absence of Gabby Agbonlahor is perhaps a bigger loss for this particular fixture.

Agbonlahor had to be substituted in the first half of the victory over Hull, but he had already shown in 24 minutes the impact his pace and power can have, in setting up Ashley Westwood for the opener.

Given that City may defend with a high line against Villa, one ball over the top could expose Martin Demichelis’ lack of pace or bring an error from Vincent Kompany, who on more than one occasion this season has encountered trouble against a striker looking to run in behind.

Villa have already beaten Man City this season and should Agbonlahor be passed fit, completing the double over Manuel Pellegrini’s men may not be as unlikely as the match betting prices would have punters believe.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.