Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final sees Aston Villa and Liverpool do battle in a match given extra piquancy by the Villans’ status as one of their opponents’ bogey clubs in recent years.
Despite their relatively-lowly status, the second-city side have regularly frustrated the Reds in recent years, losing just twice at Anfield since 2007.
Factor Liverpool’s recent form hiccup and the weight of the occasion into the equation and choosing between the 5/1 about a Villa win, the 31/50 that Liverpool prevail and 29/10 on the draw seems no mean feat.
The form book may not offer definitive guidance for win/draw/win players, but scrutiny of both sides’ journeys to the competition’s penultimate hurdle uncovers a body of evidence for a 31/20 alternative.
Three of the four victories for Tim Sherwood’s men that have earned them this Wembley day out have come by a nail-nibbling one-goal margin, as have all four of the decisive clashes in Liverpool’s route to the national stadium.
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It’s not just our adversaries’ form in the world’s oldest knockout competition that lends the bet credence either, with a sprinkling of sundry factors to chew over.
Villa have become devotees of one-goal margins under Tim Sherwood, with six of the ten games in which he has had dressing-room input decided by a single strike.
Our 31/20 punt would also have copped when the Villans visited Anfield earlier in the season and in their only other cup game this term against Leyton Orient.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Capital One Cup progress was similarly littered with drum-tight encounters on the scoreboards.
Three of their four League Cup outings that had a victor were won by a on-goal margin, while a further brace were drawn.