Aston Villa finally getting a midweek win means one of two things: That the club can hop back into action at the weekend and build momentum or that we’ll get a quick return to reality.
My heart says it’ll be the first one. My mind says otherwise.
What to know about Aston Villa
If you missed it… they won! It was really nice!
Crystal Palace set up to break on the counterattack and after probing and probing, Villa finally broke through thanks to a goalkeeping error. It wasn’t necessarily the best opposition tactic for the Villans, but it proved to do the trick. With a potential move for Emmanuel Adebayor lined up at Selhurst Park, it might’ve been a good time for Alan Pardew’s side to visit sans a true striker.
Jordan Ayew, Jordan Veretout and Idrissa Gueye all turned in top performances for the Claret and Blues, as did Carles Gil, while Libor Kozak warranted another start for me with a solid, if unspectacular performance.
The fact that he, you know, moved warrants him staying ahead of Rudy Gestede in the pecking order.
If I were Rémi Garde, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Hopefully he doesn’t.
What to know about Leicester City
They’re the Premier League darlings. When it looked like their momentum was starting to slow, they got a 1-0 result against Spurs this week, one that surprised me.
Obviously, I think we all know a lot of what has to be known about this side. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have carried them in attack, and they’ve been a little fortunate with above-average finishing rates. Worth noting about the Foxes: They don’t like much of the ball, sitting 18th in the possession table.
But hey, I heard all about how vital possession was two years ago when Paul Lambert’s Villa sides were playing games with 30% of the ball.
While the table positions indicate this one should be a walkover for Leicester, I wouldn’t be sure — advanced metrics say the Foxes are good, not great, while they’ll tell the tale that Villa aren’t the worst team in the Premier League.
And as this Leicester team showed last year, stupid things can happen in the second half of a season when a team is fighting for its Premier League life. Villa are, obviously, in an urgent win-now situation in January, a rarity they must exploit over the next two months to get a result.
Where better to properly launch the survival bid than against last year’s darlings?
Bovada: Villa 51/20, Leicester 11/10, Draw 9/4
Paddy Power: Villa 13/5, Leicester 23/20, Draw 9/4
SkyBet: Villa 23/10, Leicester 6/5, Draw 23/10
I want to think this will go well. I really do. And brutally enough, I think the Villans take the lead in this fixture. But Leicester remain a dangerous side, especially when paired with Villa’s oft-mindless defence.
Aston Villa 1, Leicester City 2