CARABAO CUP THURSDAY: The Striker previews Thursday’s match between MANCHESTER UNITED v ASTON VILLA with a recommended BETDAQ bet.


8pm We bring the Carabao Cup Third Round to a close on Thursday night on BETDAQ Betting Exchange with Manchester United hosting Aston Villa. It’s funny how the UK fixture list throws up situations like this every season – we saw this fixture at the weekend in the Premier League too! That time Aston Villa had home advantage, they produced a fantastic 3-1 win. They really took their chances and pretty much shocked United at the start of the game, but the jury is still definitely out on Villa because they didn’t create much after going 2-0 up. I suppose Emery was happy with a two goal lead and the job then was just box off the three points.

After making a lot of progress this season, ten Hag will definitely be unhappy with the United performance. They didn’t create much at all, which was highlighted in the press conference afterwards as he was moaning about the silly crosses to Ronaldo. They finished the game with an xG of just 0.55 and it was a poor performance. One wonders what will happen with Ronaldo too – he started and United produced another average performance. I would expect ten Hag to look to “get rid” of Ronaldo in January, but there’s no getting away from the fact that United need a striker who fits into their system. They had to put Harry Maguire up front the other day!

Things also went from bad to worse for Manchester United earlier in the week when they drew Barcelona for their next round of the Europa League. That was a desperate draw for them – even though Barcelona got knocked out of the Champions League Group stage they have been playing some fantastic football this season. They were actually unlucky to get knocked out based on their performances and I would suggest they’ll comfortably beat United.

The home side come into this game as the odds on favourites, but I would expect changes from ten Hag here. We’ll likely see Ronaldo start again though, as he hasn’t really been a first choice player this season. It will be interesting to see what XI Emery names – Villa are sitting in 13th after the win the weekend but they are only three points away from the relegation zone. It’s likely they will finish in or around 13th this season, if I was Emery I’d name his best XI here and go for a Cup run.

Although we saw four goals between the sides during the weekend we didn’t have an open game. Villa’s two goals came very early, and we actually had a very low xG figure for the game. Given it’s hard to know what the managers will do selection wise for this stage of the Cup, I’m going to keep stakes small here. The United lay is an option just because they haven’t fired this season when they’ve played their fringe players but Under 2.5 goals is my best bet at 2.0. Emery won’t attack here given his style – he’ll set up Villa well and aim for a 1-0 grind, while United haven’t been creating chances or scoring goals for fun with their “Europa League” side this season so this could be a dull affair.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 2.0 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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