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P.J. Murray 6th Jan 2012 - 16:01

Aston Villa - Goliaths - It must be the cup

It's very rare, especially this season, that Aston Villa will be compared to Goliath, but as they face Bristol Rovers that tag doesn't seem as absurd.

Aston Villa's last defeat by a fourth tier side came in 1971 when the mighty Southend dumped the Midlands side out of the competition.

Ranked 74 places below Villa, Rovers are languishing in League Two and will go into this game in complete opposite to their opponents having lost 2-0 away to Barnet. They also recently lost their manager Paul Buckle who was sacked after only 29 games in charge. Although the manager suffered the consequences, some parts of the Bristol setup felt the blame should lie with the players, so clearly there is a certain level of unrest in the Rovers camp.

Aston Villa (4/7) will be under a bit of pressure to put a good cup run together and start getting wins on the board, their performance away to Chelsea can put a small bit of gloss on what many will admit has been a poor season so far. Reflected in the fact that after their win in London they went home only to be humbled by Premier League new boys Swansea.

As part of another tempting Match Winner Offer we are enhancing Aston Villa to win by three goals or more from 4/1 to 5/1. The pressure will be on them while Bristol Rovers have nothing to lose and all to gain in what should be a good day out.

Bristol (5/1) could use a giant killing as a springboard to push them on for the rest of the season, but i personally feel this will be one game too far from them. They themselves tasted the mantle of Goliath status in the previous round when they needed a replay to slay another mighty side, AFC Totton. Matt Harold, Rovers' leading scorer is out leaving the duties up to Scott McGleish (8/1 first and 11/4 anytime)

Villa on the other hand are not short of firepower, well on paper anyway, Darren Bent (10/3 First), Gabriel Agbonlahor (4/1 first) and Emile Heskey (5/1 first) and Stephen Ireland (7/1 first and 2/1) anytime should really prove too much for a Bristol side whose current goal difference is -17.

Aston Villa are odds against at 13/10 to win minus one goal and they should duly oblige. There is a lot of value to be had in the game, but most of it comes from siding with the visitors. Much and all as I expect Villa to rack up the goals I expect both teams to score at 4/6. Villa's defence isn't that tight and they do tend to concede the odd goal. Over 3.5 goals at 13/8 is another bet worth considering.


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