Improving Villa could cause problems for Liverpool
Aston Villa have improved immeasurably since Tim Sherwood took over the reins and they can give Liverpool a run for their money in this Sunday’s second FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
There will be 32,000 Villains at Wembley and they’ll believe that a back-to-form Christian Benteke can fire them into the final. The Belgian appeared to have lost interest under Paul Lambert but Sherwood has rekindled his enthusiasm. Villa won at Anfield in the Premier League back in September without their talisman but he did play in Liverpool’s 2-0 win at Villa Park in January.
The Midlanders were at a very low ebb at that time, however. There is a much more positive vibe surrounding Villa Park at present and, even though a record of three wins and a draw in eight matches is hardly spectacular, it’s been enough to edge them away from the relegation places in recent weeks and the cup has proved a much-needed distraction. They also showed what they were capable of last week when beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane – Spurs are just one place below Liverpool in the Premier League table.
But Daniel Sturridge’s probably absence against Villa is a blow and Mario Balotelli’s mystery injury is showing little sign of improvement. There is a train of thought that suggests Villa’s quick forwards could get at Liverpool’s back three and yet deny Steven Gerrard a fairytale end to his career at Anfield in an FA Cup Final.
The draw in 90 minutes could be the value at 3/1 and Villa are certainly worth a second look in the handicap betting at 11/8 getting a goal start. Benteke is 2/1 to be an anytime scorer at Wembley.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm on Sunday, April 19 at Wembley Stadium.