Aston Villa v Birmingham – Villa Park at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1

Aston Villa host Birmingham City tonight in the Capital One Cup in what will be the first “Second Derby” in four years. Aston Villa have had a poor start to the season and are trying to avoid a third successive defeat to local rivals.

Since their opening day win over Premier League newcomers Bournemouth, Villa have picked up just one point, slipping down to 17th in the table.

Tim Sherwood would have hoped for a better start to the campaign after guiding them to safety at the end of last season, despite losing 2 of his best players. They have shown glimpses of what they are capable of and are creating lots of chances, but their inconsistency over 90 minutes is costing them.

In the last couple of weeks, the Villains have thrown away a 2-1 lead over Sunderland late in the Second Half, they were cruising 2-0 against Leicester with 18 minutes to go before losing 3-2 and last week lost at home in a close match against West Brom.

There is no doubt that if they fail to win tonight then the pressure is going to start to build on Sherwood. I’m sure he would have preferred a less high profile 3rd round League Cup match than this, but if they were to win and win well, there is no reason it can’t kick start their season.

Birmingham will be looking forward to this one as will their fans. They have started well in the Championship and have improved under the guidance of Gary Rowett since he took over last year.

They currently sit in 7th place in the Championship, one spot behind the play-off places with just one loss in 7 games, coming against Nottingham Forest last week. They bounced back with a decent performance to earn a draw at Portman Road and come into this match with nothing to lose.

History is with Aston Villa and their home record against the Blues is excellent. Derby’s can throw up all sorts of results but I think Villa, despite being inconsistent, are a better team who will create lots of chances.

Birmingham +0.5 on the Asian Handicap betting market is priced at 1.90 which I make far too short. They have only failed to score in one of their Championship matches this season but I think Villa will not only avoid a third straight defeat but come away with a very important win to help boost their morale. Aston Villa are the value bet -0.5 at 2.03

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Aston Villa -0.5 at 2.03

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @SC457.

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