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Midlands derby madness: undefeated Leicester host Aston Villa

It may only be early into the new Premier League season, but there is already a magnificent Midlands derby for fans and punters to sink their teeth into, as Leicester City (odds-on 19/20 chances with Coral for victory) welcome Aston Villa to the King Power Stadium.

This tantalising tale of East meets West already has a twist, as the Foxes are flying high, and a home victory here could see last campaign’s relegation-flirting team stay fantastically ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United in third place.

Claudio Ranieri’s men are still unbeaten and boast 12 goals across all competitions, so are worth backing to hoover up another three points at home, where they have already smashed Sunderland and halted Tottenham. Should punters fancy this fantastic form to continue, the Foxes are a tempting 21/10 to win to nil.

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Former Foxes forward Kevin Phillips, now a coach at the club, recently hailed the impact new head coach Ranieri has had on the squad.

“Ranieri is putting his own stamp on the team,” said Phillips. “I’d never met Claudio before but, as he appears on TV, he can be very funny. However, when it’s time to get down to work, he becomes very serious and he wants his players to give 100 per cent in whatever they do.”

An electric attack inspired by Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez, who is 6/4 to notch anytime after netting four in four, should have too much fluidity and movement for Tim Sherwood’s side to handle.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Leicester v Sunderland - King Power Stadium

Aside from wily Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, now a fully fledged England international, has also been instrumental, chipping in with goals and assists, so is worth a 4/1 punt to fire home first. Summer striker signing Shinji Okazaki, meanwhile, is likely to begin on the bench, but is also an enticing 4/1 price to sink the last strike.

As for Aston Villa, the Birmingham-based club recruited heavily in the off-season but are yet to click. Without a win since the opening day, the Villans don’t look to have learnt from last season’s mistakes, which is reflected in outsider odds of 3/1 for them to triumph in this Midlands melee.

Villa have had the better of the past six dust-ups with their rivals, emerging victorious from four. However, considering current form, the best bet for Sherwood to snatch points seems to be 23/10 for a splitting of the spoils.

Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Aston Villa v Leicester City - Villa Park

If anyone is to unlock Leicester’s defence, it must be in-form winger Scott Sinclair, who struck when the two sides last tussled in the FA Cup. Buoyed since his permanent switch from Manchester City, the Englishman has hit five in his last two across all competitions, so is an excellent 2/1 in the anytime market, or 7/1 to nab the opener.

Alternatively, customers can opt for frontman Rudy Gestede, a summer buy from Blackburn Rovers, at a similarly superb 7/1 to have the final say.

Betting tip: Vardy looks great value at 4/1 to open the scoring