Betting preview: Aston Villa vs Leicester: Harvey Barnes to continue scoring run against Villans

Planet Sport previews the upcoming Midlands clash between Aston Villa and Leicester City.

Aston Villa welcome Leicester City to Villa Park and it's the managers who dominate the headlines for this clash.

Steven Gerrard has made an impressive start to life in the Midlands, winning two of his first three games.

Gerrard tasted his first defeat on Wednesday although his team put up a spirited performance in their 2-1 loss to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Brendan Rodgers has endured a mixed start to the season following two top-five finishes as Foxes boss. Before this weekend's action began they sat in tenth, but only trailing fourth-placed West Ham by five points.

The two managers know each other well. Firstly they worked together at Liverpool with Rodgers as manager and Gerrard his captain. Together, they nearly broke Liverpool's Premier League duck in 2013/14, only to surrender that chance to Manchester City...the season of the infamous Gerrard slip.

Then the master took on the apprentice in the Old Firm derby. Rodgers as Celtic manager, and Gerrard as Rangers boss, met on the touchline twice, claiming 1-0 wins against each other before Rodgers left the Hoops to join Leicester.

Both managers have succesfully claimed an undefeated 'invincible' campaign in the Scottish Premier League. Rodgers achieved it in 2016/17, while Gerrard did with the Gers last season.

When: Sunday, December 5, 16.30 GMT

Where: Villa Park

How to watch: Sky Sports

(All text odds are correct at time of article publication, but the odds in the pretty blue boxes are bang up-to-date)

Best bets for Aston Villa vs Leicester

Both teams to score - 4/6

Harvey Barnes to score at anytime - 14/5

John McGinn to make an assist - 15/4

Ollie Watkins to score first goal for Villa - 13/5

This should be an electric game at Villa Park in front of a crowd who are enjoying what they've seen from the opening three games under Steven Gerrard.

Two wins against Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, and a battling defeat to Manchester City has given the Holte End faithful plenty to be excited about.

Dean Smith did a solid job as Villa boss and can consider himself unfortunate to be sacked following a run of five consecutive losses. However, many accused Smith of not knowing his best team, formation or system and the players appeared often confused as to what their roles were on the pitch.

Gerrard's arrival has motivated the Villans, with the returning Ashley Young and Ollie Watkins flourishing in particular - the latter scoring in two of the three games for Gerrard.

Meanwhile John McGinn has been the player of the season for Villa so far, and working under a Premier League legend who dominated the middle of the park will only improve McGinn further.

For Brendan Rodgers' side it has been an inconsistent season compared to the previous two. In 2019/20 and 2020/21, the Foxes missed out on Champions League qualification on the last day of the season.

In the Europa League, they have qualified for the knockout stages but in the Premier League they have conceded 25 goals in 14 games and at minus three when it comes to goal difference.

After a crushing 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in November, boos were ringing out of the King Power. It prompted Rodgers - who has been heavily linked with jobs away from Leciester - to retaliate and point out the club's overachievement.

Leicester will need to tighten up their defence if they are to qualify for Europe once again. Since an opening day 1-0 win over Wolves, they have not recorded a clean sheet.

Last 10 head-to-head meetings

Aston Villa wins: 3

Draws: 2

Leicester City wins: 5

Last three results

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester (February 21, 2021)

James Maddison

First-half goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were enough to earn victory from Brendan Rodgers' side.

Maddison had been involved in eight goals in his past nine league appearances coming into this fixture, and continued his fine form 19 minutes in, curling the ball past Emiliano Martinez.

Five minutes later, Barnes was in the right place at the right time, connecting from Jamie Vardy's pass from close range.

Bertrand Traore offered hope at the start of the second-half but Villa - without key man Jack Grealish through injury - were unable to find an equaliser.

Leicester 0-1 Aston Villa (October 18, 2020)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: There’s more to come from Ross Barkley

Aston Villa continued their fine start to the season with a last gasp winner by Ross Barkley.

The former Everton midfielder - on loan at Villa from Chelsea - ensured Villa maintained their 100% winning start to the Premier League with a sensational shot from long range.

Continuing on from their 7-2 demolition of Liverpool, Dean Smith's side won their fourth game and in doing so, made their best start to a top flight season in over 90 years.

Leicester 4-0 Aston Villa (March 9, 2020)

Jamie Vardy fires in a goal against Aston Villa in March 2020

Jamie Vardy scored a brace to end a goal drought running back to December as Leicester thrashed a relegation-battling Villa side.

The Foxes had picked up just two victories from their last eight league games, and just two points from their four previous matches.

Harvey Barnes opened proceedings, taking advantage of a bizarre decision by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina to run out of his box. Barnes bagged his second of the day by converting from a Marc Albrighton cross.

Vardy's first contribution as a substitute was scoring a penalty before adding beating Reina to the near post to score a second. The forward made just seven touches in the second half, and two of them were goals.

Goalscorer bets for Aston Villa vs Leicester

Harvey Barnes is yet to find form in front of goal this season in the league with just one goal from 12 games, but if there is a time to start scoring then it's against Villa.

The 23-year-old loves to score against the Villa. In four Premier League appearances, he has found the net on three occasions and claimed one assist. He is 14/5 to score at anytime and a huge 22/1 to bag a brace like he did against Villa back in 2020.

Jamie Vardy shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to scoring - he already has nine goals in 13 appearances. Not bad for a player approaching 35.

Villa are a team he likes to play against with five goals in seven league games against them - he is 9/2 to score the first and 9/1 to net a double.

Ollie Watkins will be looking to continue his form in front of goal under Steven Gerrard and for him to score first, Planet Sport Bet gives you odds of 17/4.

Tyrone Mings has been rejuvenated in recent games and scored a brilliant goal against Crystal Palace. Odds of 20/1 to open proceedings could be appealing - especially if Villa can get their set-pieces right against a Leicester defence which can't stop conceding goals.

Read more: North-east reunited - could Magpies and Sunderland join Boro in 2022/23 Championship

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