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FA Cup is Aston Villa and Leicester’s chance to escape reality

| 13.02.2015

The Premier League season hasn’t brought Aston Villa and Leicester too much joy beyond a jaw-dropping Foxes victory over Manchester United and the simple exhilaration of a goal for the downtrodden Villans.

Under the considerable pressure of a relegation fight Paul Lambert has been sacked at Villa Park. Ladbrokes’ “next manager to leave” market indicates Nigel Pearson isn’t likely to be too far behind.

At such a desperate stage of the season any form of light relief is clawed at like a cat trying to avoid a trip to the vets, which makes the pair’s upcoming tussle in the FA Cup their version of the antidepressant.

The victor can suspend reality for a while longer as they drift off into daydreams of possible Wembley trips while the loser must return to the gloom of the survival fight.

According to the match-betting market, it’s Villa that can look forward to the sixth round with more confidence. The manager-less Midlands outfit are 13/10 for victory, with the visiting Foxes available at 21/10 and the draw a 9/4 chance.

Having knocked out two superior Premier League sides on their way to this point it’s unlikely that Pearson will send his side out as timid opponents to Villa’s favouritism though.

Arguably the rock-bottom top-flight club have better FA Cup form on their side having toppled Newcastle and Tottenham in the previous two rounds. A third successive slaying of a divisional rival will see the King-Power strugglers’ outright price shrivel from 33/1.

There is a always the chance that their hosts subscribe to the age-old quirk that, having played terribly enough to end their boss’ reign, they suddenly find a performance of merit within them. After 10 winless games though, don’t hold your breath.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.