Kick-off: 1630, 01/03/2020
TV: Sky Sports
Manchester City are red-hot favourites to complete a hat-trick of EFL Cup Final triumphs but we feel Aston Villa will not go down without a fight.
Villa have fond memories of playing at Wembley themselves, having prevailed in last season’s Championship play-offs decider at the national stadium.
With City having to recover from a midweek Champions League trip to Real Madrid, we like 8/5 for the underdogs with two goals start for our first EFL Cup Final prediction.
A Look At Aston Villa’s Betting Odds
Villa have a proud history in this competition, winning the first ever renewal back in 1961 as one of five outright victories, also reaching the final on three other occasions.
The Midlands outfit made a statement of intent in their opening tie this term, with Conor Hourihane netting twice in a 6-1 romp at Crewe.
Dean Smith’s side then beat Brighton 3-1 away and Wolves 2-1 at home, before thrashing a youthful Liverpool line-up 5-0 at Villa Park.
Leicester were favourites for their semi-final clash, but Villa battled to a 1-1 draw at King Power Stadium and then snatched a dramatic 2-1 success in the second leg.
Trezeguet’s stoppage-time strike sparked wild scenes of joy and a pitch invasion, with manager Smith admitting: “I certainly let myself go when we scored that goal.”
He added: “We’ve got a proud history in this competition and if we could go and lift this trophy for a sixth time as a club, then I would be a very proud man.”
Villa are involved in a relegation battle after losing three straight Premier League games, with last week’s 2-0 defeat at Southampton a big disappointment.
However, Tyrone Mings said: “The last thing we need to do now is fracture and lose faith in each other, so we’ll prepare for the League Cup Final and it might be a welcome distraction.”
The underdogs had previously shown far more spirit in a 3-2 home loss to Tottenham, only going down in stoppage time.
Both teams have scored in five of Villa’s six games in this tournament, so 13/10 for each side to hit the target in the decider appeals from the EFL Cup Final odds.
A Look At Manchester City’s Betting Odds
Pep Guardiola’s relentless pursuit of silverware has inspired City to make it four wins in the last six renewals of this competition.
However, they had to go all the way to penalties against Liverpool in 2016 and when facing Chelsea 12 months ago.
The Blues kicked off with a smooth 3-0 success at Preston this season, before enjoying 3-1 wins over Southampton at home and Oxford away.
A first-half blitz then put them in pole position to see off neighbours United in the semis, with City eventually prevailing 3-1 at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils gained some revenge with a 1-0 victory in the return fixture, but Guardiola’s men had done enough to advance.
“Over 180 minutes, we were better than United,” said Guardiola. “We created chances to score a lot of goals and didn’t convert.”
City will obviously be buoyed by two big wins over Villa in the Premier League this term, obliging 3-0 at Etihad Stadium and 6-1 on the road as recently as mid-January.
However, even their incredible strength in depth will be tested by playing this game in the middle of a hectic three-week schedule.
Last Sunday’s 1-0 win at Leicester and Wednesday’s 2-1 triumph at the Bernabeu were excellent, but both tiring contests.
Meanwhile, City have to face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup, neighbours United and the Champions League second leg in nine days after this game.
Aymeric Laporte succumbed to a hamstring injury in Spain and the Blues will surely have to shuffle their pack a bit at Wembley.
We think that could take a toll, so let’s go for Guardiola to settle for a narrow 2-1 triumph at 9/1 to complete our EFL Cup Final betting tips.
Southampton 2-0 ASTON VILLA
Real Madrid 1-2 MAN CITY – Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne (pen)
Head-to-head: Villa 1-6 Man City, Man City 3-0 Villa, Man City 4-0 Villa, Villa 0-4 Man City, Villa 0-0 Man City
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