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Second City Derby Too Close To Call For Bookies

Of the two Carling Cup quarter final ties being played this evening, it is unquestionably the second city derby between Birmingham and Aston Villa that will capture the most attention – and the bookies are predicting an incredibly tight affair.

Their hesitancy to call an outright winner is pretty understandable given that the two teams are separated only by goal difference in the league – with Birmingham edging ahead on -2 – though it should be noted that the Blues have only lost once at home.

As such, they go into the game as the narrowest of favourites at 6/4 ahead of Aston Villa at 15/8, with a draw after 90 minutes coming in at an equally skinny 9/4. Given that the hosts have conceded just five goals at St Andrews all season – only Chelsea have let in fewer – backing them to win to nil could prove slightly more prudent.

It should also be noted that Gerard Houllier’s Villa team are set up to play on the counter-attack, which, while working well against teams who commit a lot of men forward, is perhaps not as effective against more defence-minded side. Evidence of this was provided by the fact that they managed to put two past both Arsenal and Manchester United in the league, but failed to find the net away to Blackburn Rovers.

Certainly, however difficult it may prove to call a correct result, one thing that we can be certain of is that the derby will be a typically fiery affair, so perhaps the best bet of all is to forgo the positive side of the game completely and back over 3.5 cards at 6/5.
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