By Josh Powell | Sports writer
Once upon a time League One Tranmere Rovers were renowned for producing some classic upsets and going on cup runs that got Birkenhead bouncing. It may have been a few years since Rovers have had a decent run in a domestic cup but that could all change with a win over struggling Aston Villa tonight.
Ronnie Moore’s side have spent more than a decade in the third tier of English football but have got off to a blinding start this season, only being kept off the top of League One on goal difference. They’ve beaten Leyton Orient at Prenton Park and then thumped Carlisle away in a scintillating performance. On Saturday a late goal from John-Louis Akpa Akpro earned them a hard-fought draw against Shrewsbury to keep their undefeated tag in tact.
Has Paddy forgotten that this is Tranmere Rovers ‘Kings of the Cupsets’? In the 1999/2000 season they reached the FA Cup sixth round and the League Cup Final beating a whole host of Premiership teams on the way. The next year they beat Southampton and Everton in the FA Cup and were a penalty shoot-out away from a League Cup Quarter-Final. In 2004 they did reach the last 16 before being narrowly beaten by the eventual runners-up Millwall in a replay.
11/2 is a massive price for a side in good form heading to a team in disarray. It is a depressing time to be a Villa fan, and has been for a while now. Villa have only won one of the last nineteen games in all competitions and since this time last year these are the only games they’ve won at Villa Park:
- 2-0 Wigan, Premier League, 1st October 2011
- 3-2 Norwich, Premier League, 5th November 2011
- 1-0 Fulham, Premier League, 10th March 2012
Fair to say it makes horrible, horrible reading for fans of Paul Lambert’s side. They have started this season poorly and were booed off the pitch at half-time against Everton at the weekend. Defensively they have been all over the place, they have offered very little going forward and have looked worryingly low on confidence so early in the season.
These early stages of the League Cup tend to be the times when managers of the top-flight teams give their youngsters a run out. Lambert may do that or he could well put out the strongest team available in an attempt to kick-start their season and take the pressure off himself.
Either way looking at the statistics it’s tough to find a better 11/2 shot than Tranmere tonight.
- Betting: Aston Villa v Tranmere Rovers
- Betting: Capital One Cup coupon
- Betting: Capital One Cup outright