After a particularly horrendous Christmas, alarm bells had to be ringing at Aston Villa but, following their humiliating 3-1 defeat at the small hands of Bradford City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final, it may now well be a case of abandon ship in the claret and blue corner of the west Midlands.
The Bantams’ surprise victory has seen Paul Lambert’s odds to be the next manager to leave his Premier League post trimmed to 11/10, though with the tie far from over, disposing of his services at this stage would be an unadvisable knee-jerk reaction from the Villa establishment.
However, should Phil Parkinson’s giant-killers seal the deal at Villa Park in a fortnight, expect these odds to slim down another dress size or two and, if their league fortunes haven’t improved either, Randy Lerner and co may choose to act. Taking a leap of faith with this price now could prove profitable before February arrives.
For those who fancy Villa to turn things around in the second leg, which would surely see the Scot keep his job, Ladbrokes have an interesting special price on offer.
It’s 25/1 for the Villans to come a cropper in the same fashion as neighbours Birmingham did in 2010 and follow an unexpected lifting of the Capital One Cup with relegation three months later.
They’re 6/5 underdogs to overturn the 3-1 deficit Bradford imposed upon them from the first leg and qualify for the cup final. This has got to be considered an excellent price given their Premier League status and the alleged inferiority of the opposition; it’s not impossible to imagine them beating a League Two team 3-0 at home, after all.
Ladbrokes have also opened the book with regards to which issue will befoul the club next.
Lambert’s dismissal is the favourite but, as this is not going to happen, backing Darren Bent to leave before any of the other eventualities occur at 11/8 will probably result in profit.
The England international is clearly not part of Lambert’s plans, despite Villa’s perilous situation, and he can’t have done himself any favours missing an open goal in the Bradford defeat with the hosts’ 1-0 lead looking fragile at the time.
The beleaguered club are 12/1 shots to lift the Capital One Cup in the face of this adversity with duelling Lambert and Bent both still on the payroll but, if zeros were like beers, this price would need at least five applied to it before it started to look appealing.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date