The top Premier League sides have been excluded from the early rounds of the Capital One Cup due to European commitments, but they join in at the third round stage and there are some mouth-watering midweek matches in store. The draw has thrown up some thrilling derby games, with Spurs and Arsenal set to lock horns in a North London derby on Wednesday evening, and Aston Villa and Birmingham renewing Midlands rivalries on Tuesday night. There are also several all-Premier League ties, including Leicester against West Ham – the two teams who currently occupy 3rd and 4th in the table.
We’re concentrating on Tuesday’s action to begin with and fancy a couple of away results at big prices, as well as a pulsating goal-fest in the big derby match of the night.
Leicester City v West Ham
Despite Leicester’s incredible start to the season, West Ham are a massive 3/14.00+3003.003.00-0.33 with Betfred and Totesport to win at the King Power stadium.
The Foxes have continued their superb form from the back end of last season and have gone from strength to strength under Claudio Ranieri. They’re unbeaten in the Premier League so far, with three wins and three draws, and sit high and mighty in fourth place. The likes of Vardy and Mahrez have stepped up to the plate this season, and are scoring goals for fun. However, they have also been conceding goals and have had to fight back from 2-0 down in their last two outings, at home to Villa and away at Stoke. That shows a real character to the side, but they won’t be able to fight back every week and Ranieri will be working on tightening up at the back.
West Ham have arguably had the more outstanding start and they’re equal on 12 points with Leicester, but ahead on goal difference. They’ve punctuated three inspired away wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City, with two poor home defeats to Bournemouth and Leicester, but it’s the record on the road which stands out. New boss Slaven Bilic is playing a counter-attacking style which is perfectly suited to away games, and his side is well-drilled at soaking up pressure and hitting opponents on the break. West Ham will be looking to avenge the 2-1 home defeat to Leicester a few weeks ago, and look vastly overpriced.
Aston Villa v Birmingham
One of the biggest fixtures of the night is surely the Midlands derby between Villa and Birmingham. Tim Sherwood and Villa are in real trouble and sit just a single place above the drop zone. Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to West Brom saw the boos ring around Villa Park, and they dare not lose another derby to their deadly rivals on Tuesday night.
These games are always 100 mile-an-hour, full-blooded affairs, and Birmingham will fancy their chances after a decent start to the Championship season, which has seen them lose just once in seven. It promises to be a very competitive game, and goals could be on the cards.
Both sides score and concede plenty, so Over 2.5 goals looks a decent bet at 10/111.91-1100.91-1.100.91 with William Hill, Betfred and Totesport
Four of Villas last five games have had more than three goals, including the 3-3 draw with Notts County here in the last round of this competition. They’ve drawn 2-2 with Sunderland and lost 3-2 at Leicester since then, and can be expected to attack from the first whistle on Tuesday as they search for a confidence-boosting win. Birmingham will be no pushovers though, as they’ve only lost one of the last ten games they’ve played on the road. Villa are winless in five on home soil so it’s impossible to back them for victory, but with four of the last six between these two having three or more on the scoresheet, goals look to be the way to go.
Fulham v Stoke City
One game which might not grab the same headlines, but which catches the eye from a betting perspective, is the clash between Fulham and Stoke at Craven Cottage.
Stoke can be backed at a generous 7/52.40+1401.401.40-0.71 with BetVictor to put their name in the hat for the next round.
It’s been a poor start to the season for Mark Hughes and the Potters, and they find themselves 18th in the Premier League table after three draws and three defeats. They signed a lot of good players over the summer, and big things were expected this term, but it hasn’t gone to plan so far. There were signs that things were about to come good at the weekend when they raced into a two-goal lead against Leicester, but they threw that away in the second half and had to settle for just a point again. Although Premier League survival must be the priority, Hughes is fancied to start with a strong team to try and get a first win of the season under the belt and build some momentum.
Fulham haven’t had the best start to the season, but it was always going to be tough for a small squad to compete in the Championship, despite some decent summer additions. They’re 16th in the table having only won two of their seven matches, and are closer to the relegation zone than the play-off positions. They lost 3-2 at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, with manager Kit Symons bemoaning his side’s poor defending from set-pieces. Dead ball situations is an area where Stoke excel, and they are side that can play with devastating pace on the break.
Stoke only managed to beat Luton after extra-time when they played away at the League Two side in the last round, so there is cause for concern, but if they can silence the Fulham crowd early on, their class should shine through to win the game.
West Ham to beat Leicester
Tuesday 22nd September, 19:45 GMT
Aston Villa v Birmingham – Over 2.5 goals
Tuesday 22nd September, 19:45 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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