You won’t often see a Premier League side available at odds-against when playing a League Two team but such is Villa’s form that they are far from an automatic bet. Whereas 76 places separated Liverpool and Exeter on Friday night it is just 54 here and while Premier League sides might have won 71% of trips to League Two teams since 1992/93 that figure is just 42% (W16-D11-L11) for Championship teams, which is where Villa will surely be playing next season.
Of course with Villa 1/50 to go down this is really all they have left to play for and last season they made it all the way to the final despite simultaneously fighting a relegation battle so there is a chance that they will be able to unburden themselves here. Their 3rd round record in the past 12 seasons is poor, as they’ve lost seven times, but drawing Man Utd on four separate occasions is incredible bad luck and this will be just the third League Two side they’ll have faced in that time, having won on trips to Bristol Rovers and Gillingham previously.
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This is Wycombe’s first 3rd round appearance in five years and they are looking to advance to the next stage for the first time since making the semi-finals in 2001. They are coming off one of their worst performances this season as they were beaten 2-0 here be Morecambe last weekend but their form has actually tended to be better away this season, as they’ve picked up two more points from two fewer games on the road than at home. In their last 13 matches here they’ve managed just one clean sheet as they’ve lost more games than they’ve won and the defeat last weekend also saw keeper Matt Ingram receive his marching orders.
That means he’ll miss out here, while captain Paul Hayes is a major doubt. Hayes’ absence was clearly felt in that loss to Morecambe and Wycombe have lost as many of the 19 league matches that he’s failed to start since 2014/15 (seven) as they have in the 51 he has lined up for, while scoring half as many goals per game. Ingram, meanwhile, has only failed to start just two league games since the start of 2014/15.
There aren’t too many positives to take from Villa’s domestic form as their best away results since an opening day win at Bournemouth have been a pair of draws. However, they don’t have many injuries to contend with and should have enough quality to take advantage of this good draw and the selection problems of their hosts.
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