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Andrea Calo 16th Feb 2009 - 15:55

Bet on a whole lotta Love in Villa v CSKA

CSKA Moscow go to Aston Villa for a UEFA Cup match on Wednesday night and anyone wanting a betting tip should look at the odds on Vagner Love, CSKA's star Brazilian forward.

Vagner – or Wagner – Love scored 20 goals in 26 games for free-scoring CSKA in the Russian Premier League last season, and notched a hat-trick in their last UEFA Cup match away at AS Nancy.

He should be backed at 15/2 with William Hill to score first at Villa Park in a match being shown live on Five at 7pm.

Aston Villa’s resources are at full stretch, with England striker Emile Heskey missing last Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Everton. The former Liverpool and Wigan man may return for the UEFA Cup, and Ashley Young and Gabi Agbonlahor will probably cause the Moscow side problems with their pace and guile. Finishing may be Villa's problem, though, reflected by the wobbliness of John Carew's first goalscorer odds - he's easy to back at 7/1.

The problem with any bet on Villa for me is that the Premier League is so obviously going to be Martin O’Neill’s priority – and Wednesday could see a relatively weakened Villa side take on the Russians, with half an eye on their Saturday lunchtime fixture against Chelsea.

At 11/4 that makes CSKA Moscow a good bet in my eyes to win the match. They’re enjoying the relaxation of the Russian close season at the moment, meaning the 2005 UEFA Cup winners should be far better prepared than the tired Villans. And Love, who was a Spurs target in the January transfer window, will be keen to show Premier League clubs what they’re missing out on.

My other tip for the Villa midfield would be to watch out for Alan Dzagoev. The teenage playmaker has caught the eye of Real Madrid, largely through scoring twice against Deportivo La Coruña in a 3-0 win in October. At first goalscorer odds of 11/1 he’s priced about right, but it’ll be interesting to see how Gareth Barry or Nigel Reo-Coker deal with him – it’ll be essential if they’re going to protect their defence from being torn apart.

Vagner Love got the other goal in CSKA’s Deportivo game and is the tournament’s top goalscorer with eight so far. I don’t think a distracted Villa will be able to cope with him or the service he gets from Dzagoev and chums, and I think a bet on CSKA and Love could be the way to win your money on Wednesday.

Aston Villa v CSKA Moscow betting tips:

  • CSKA to win at 11/4 (90-minute match betting)
  • Vagner Love to score first at 15/2 (first goalscorer betting)

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