Villa to overcome midfield woes to reach Capital One Cup final

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Aston Villa are the only club to have previously overturned a two-goal deficit in a League Cup semi final and 11/10 is a fair price that they do so again to qualify for the final at the expense of Bradford.

Villa were also 3-1 down to lower-league Tranmere in 1994, before winning the second leg at home by the same scoreline and eventually triumphing on penalties.

An exact repeat is hard to anticipate given Bradford’s record in shoot-outs, but Villa have enough about them to turn things around.

Another historical fact is that Villa thrashed Bradford 7-1 on the only previous occasion that the pair have clashed at Villa Park in the competition.

The big problem facing Paul Lambert is who to play alongside Barry Bannan in central midfield.

Villa are almost certain to stick with the 4-4-2 that worked so well in the opening period against West Brom, but Ashley Westwood is cup-tied here, Fabian Delph is a big injury doubt and Stephen Ireland has generally struggled when played in a midfield pair.

Matthew Lowton could be shuffled into midfield to provide some defensive backbone.

A clean sheet would be a big help to Villa and it is 11/8 that they win to nil. Bradford have failed to score on each of their last five visits to Villa Park.

The good news for Bradford is that they are well rested after a frozen pitch called off their latest League Two game away at Port Vale.

Their league form prior to this has been fairly poor, taking just a single point from their last four fixtures.

Christian Benteke could have scored half a dozen in the first leg but was having an off day in front of goal. He is a worthy favourite at 3/1 to break the deadlock this time.

Meanwhile, losing first scorer bets on any player in the clash will be refunded as free bets should Bradford score the opener at Villa Park.

The best goalscorer bet looks the 5/4 that Gabby Agbonlahor strikes at any time in the 90 minutes, given his improved performance against West Brom.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.