Bet on Villa vs Blackburn – Houllier wants win in first game in charge

Gerard Houllier begins his tenure back in English football at Aston Villa with a home game in the Carling Cup against Blackburn and will be keen to emulate the team’s exploits in the cup competitions last season.

Match odds

Villa beat Blackburn three times in cup games during the last campaign, which included victories in both legs of the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, before they lost in the final.

The second leg at Villa Park ended in a 6-4 home victory and Villa are 5/6 to eliminate Blackburn again with a win inside the 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, they are 4/9 to qualify despite not having the greatest track record when it comes to penalties this season, with spot-kicks missed against Newcastle in the league and Rapid Vienna in their failed effort to qualify for the Europa League.

In his last season as Liverpool manager, Houllier orchestrated a 4-3 victory over Blackburn in the Carling Cup, with the win also coming in the third round.

Blackburn are 10/3 to beat Villa and can look back on their two Premier League victories over the club last season for added confidence.

They have also kept clean sheets in winning their third round matches in the competition for the past three seasons.

First goalscorer

Sam Allardyce may opt to play some of his fringe players in the game, but would be well served to pick striker Nikola Kalinic because of his fine scoring record at Villa Park.

Kalinic netted three times at the ground last season and is 6/1 to open the scoring.

Allardyce can also call on Mame Biram Diouf, who is 6/1 to break the deadlock, and is currently the top scorer in the competition following his hat-trick in the second round win over Norwich.

For Villa, Emile Heskey scored twice when Liverpool knocked out Blackburn under Houllier and joins forces with the manager for the second time.

He is 5/1 to score first, while Gabby Agbonlahor may be picked as he continues his recovery from injury and is 4/1 to net his first goal of the season.

Aston Villa are 18/1 to go one better than last year and win the Carling Cup this season for the sixth time in their history. See the complete Aston Villa vs Blackburn match betting market.