Birmingham City

Birmingham City vs Aston Villa

, KO: 12:00 Mar 10, 2019, St Andrews
Aston Villa

BIRMINGHAM derbies are usually pretty tasty affairs and this one has added spice as both sides bid to keep their play-off dreams alive.

The old rivals could be barely be closer heading into this clash, with Birmingham sitting two points ahead of Aston Villa in the table.

City came into the weekend four points behind sixth-placed Bristol City, with Villa six adrift, so a victory for either side could be huge.

Given that Birmingham began the season by failing to win in their first nine games, that they are even chasing a play-off spot speaks volumes for the work done by boss Garry Monk.

After such a poor start, many clubs would have panicked and pulled the trigger but Birmingham's board stuck by Monk and have been rewarded for their faith.

He has them playing some attractive football, as witnessed by a thrilling 4-3 win at QPR, a rollercoaster 3-3 draw at Swansea and a 2-2 draw with Blackburn in their last home match.

That suggests there could be goals in this one, especially as the reverse fixture ended in a 4-2 win for Villa after another fantastic spectacle.

Aston Villa have been involved in even more high-octane matches than their rivals this season, most memorably that epic 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest.

There have also been 3-3 draws with Preston and Sheffield United, as well as a 3-2 loss to Leeds and a 3-2 win over Wigan. In their last outing, Dean Smith's side romped to a 4-0 victory over Derby so the portents look good for another feast of football.

Over 3.5 goals is a tempting 27/11 with Unibet and that will attract plenty of punters but over 2.5 strikes might be a safer option at evens with William Hill.

In a derby between two evenly-matched sides, it's always a good idea to back the draw and it's available at a decent 12/5 with Bet 365. Villa's last three trips to St Andrews have ended in a stalemate so it looks the best option. If you want better odds, try a 2-2 draw at 13/1 with Bet Victor as that result has come up five times for Villa this season.

Scotland midfielder John McGinn is back after suspension for Smith's side but defender Tommy Elphick misses out after being crocked in the win over Derby. Full-back Maxime Colin is injured for Birmingham while on-loan Gary Gardner can't play against parent club Villa.

Monk reckons his side will have to overcome the most potent attack in the Championship and Villa are certainly a huge threat if Tammy Abraham and Jack Grealish are on top of their game.

Playmaker Grealish was outstanding in the win over Derby on his return from injury and looks overpriced at 9/2 for anytime scorer here with Paddy Power while Abraham, who has 21 for the season, is 13/8 with Boylesports in the same market.

Birmingham hitman Che Adams hasn't been getting the same kind of headlines as Abraham but he has also banged home 21 goals this term and will be the main threat for Monk's side.

Adams is 17/10 with Unibet to score at any time and the 9/2 favourite with most firms to break the deadlock.

There were five yellow cards in the last Birmingham derby and this one could get tasty as well with so much at stake. In the booking points market, where a yellow earns 10 points and a red 25, try going for between 35-55 with at 7/4 with Sky Bet.

This match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa will be played on Mar 10, 2019 and kick off at 12:00

Birmingham City vs Aston Villa Betting Tips & Predictions
Draw
12/5
Bet365
Over 2.5 goals
Evens
William Hill
Che Adams anytime scorer
17/10
UniBet

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