Aston Villa continue their pre-season tour of the United States when they travel to Chicago at the weekend.
Chicago Fire are enjoying a reasonable season. They currently lie fourth in the Eastern Conference and are on course for a play-off spot.
Frank Klopas’ team have won nine of their 20 league games this season and have picked up the points in four of their last seven matches.
Chicago’s home record is particularly strong, having won five of their last six, and that will present a challenge for Paul Lambert’s men.
The home side have a full week until their next game after this, so they’ll be able to give this friendly their full focus.
Chicago can be backed at 13/5 (3.6)
to win here.
But it’s not all positives for the hosts – not least because they have failed to score in three of their last four matches.
Another encouraging sign for punters wishing to back a Villa win is that Chicago’s recent defeats have come at the hands of Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
That suggests this is a team that struggle when faced with an increased level of quality, which Villa will surely hope to showcase.
Indeed, even a Villa side edging back to full fitness can be expected to deliver a similarly stern test, they will be better for the victory over Philadelphia, courtesy of a Nathan Delfouneso goal, in midweek.
Aston Villa are 5/6 (1.83)
favourites to win this one.
The draw is available at 23/10 (3.3)
That stalemate is probably the pick of the bets here given the prospect of Villa’s quality being cancelled out by Chicago’s superior match sharpness.
A drawn game is always more likely at these showpiece friendlies where neither side wishes to lose face, and it would be no surprise if it’s handshakes all round with honours even at the final whistle.