Luton v Aston Villa - Wednesday 19:45, Sky Sports 1
Nathan Jones described himself as “slightly euphoric” following Luton’s impressive 3-0 opening day win at Plymouth, which probably isn’t a great sign for underdog backers here. The performance down in Devon not only raises expectations but potentially leaves the Hatters feeling a little too satisfied with themselves.
Aston Villa, by contrast, need a result that blows away the cobwebs of their Premier League nightmare and heralds a new dawn. And one suspects Roberto Di Matteo couldn’t care less where it comes, so there’s a distinct possibility he names a strong side and uses this clash to demand a performance that sets a benchmark for the season and gets them up to speed.
Luton are fancied to go well in League Two but they are rather clean-sheet dependent and like to play within the realm of fine margins. If they go behind at any stage, a lack of creativity could be exposed where the difference in class becomes all too evident. The Villans are 21/20 for victory in Bedfordshire and that’s just about acceptable, given the relevant caveats.
However, we can sidestep most of the uncertainty regarding team selection with a bet on the Aston Villa/Ross McCormack score/win double at 13/5. In five of the past six seasons, the former Cardiff, Leeds and Fulham striker has opened his account in this competition and this could be the ideal setting to kickstart his time at Villa.