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Stuart Dalgleish 19th Jan 2010 - 20:55

Wembley beckons for O’Neill’s Villans

After winning 1-0 at Ewood Park just six days ago Aston Villa are in complete control of this semi-final Carling Cup tie.

It's a competition Martin O'Neill has had great success in during his career, as a player for Nottingham Forest he won it twice in Brian Clough's all conquering side and he has also won it twice as a manager for Leicester City.

It would be a fantastic managerial hat-trick for the Northern Irishman if his side could go on to Wembley and lift the trophy, and also just rewards for the superb job the former Celtic manager has done during his spell so far at Villa Park, coincidentally the final comes just a couple of days before his birthday as well.

Nobody could argue if Villa were to get there as they we're comfortably the better team in the first leg, and if it weren't for some questionable refereeing decisions they could've had a couple of penalties to further their advantage.

Blackburn gave it a real good go in the second half, and hit the woodwork a couple of times, but other than that they never really stretched the 1996 winners too much and once again showed their weaknesses in front of goal.

Rovers bounced back from that defeat at the weekend by beating Fulham 2-0 in the league, but it was two defenders who got the goals, and they still haven't looked to strengthen their forward line - surely if they're to stay competitive in the Premier League they'll need to add some attackers to their squad before the transfer window closes.

With Sam Allardyce's side short on fire power it's no surprise to see them as big outsiders for this game.

The hosts are 8/13 to win the match, the draw would be good enough for Villa and that's a available at 13/5 while Blackburn, with only three away wins all season, are a massive 5/1 to get the win that they must achieve to have any chance of getting through to the final.

Villa were guilty of wasting a host of chances in their weekend draw at home to West Ham, their third consecutive league match without scoring, if Gabby Agbonlahor can find his shooting boots then he's the most likely to break the deadlock at odds of 4/1 and with it bag his 10th goal of the season.

James Milner was my tip to score the first of the game in the first leg, and he duly obliged at 9/1, unfortunately because of his run of form he's been cut down to 8/1 now to pounce first in this match, 11/4 to score at any time of the game.

El Hadji Diouf will return to the Rovers squad following his red card when the sides met in the FA Cup, the Senegal international is 10/1 to grab the first of the game, 7/2 just to get his name on the scoresheet at any time of the 90 minutes.

David Dunn is still the top scorer for Blackburn this season, but hasn't scored in his last five games; the one-time England international didn't play in the weekend win over Fulham so will be refreshed and ready to add to his six goals so far this season and is quoted at 9/1 to hit the first of the game, 10/3 to score in 90 minutes.

Blackburn have it all to do, so you can be sure they'll take it to Villa and make for a cracking cup tie, join us when the action gets underway to bet on a host of live markets with out In-Play service.



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