Aston Villa face a stern test as they welcome Premier League champions Manchester City to Villa Park.
Fresh off the back of two wins from two games under new manager Steven Gerrard, it will be a first game under the lights for the Villa boss where any points gained will be seen as a positive result for a side that had lost five in a row before Gerrard’s arrival.
Manchester City come into the game in second place and just a single point off leaders Chelsea, having won their previous three Premier League games following a shock home defeat to Crystal Palace.
Pep Guardiola’s men have been hit by numerous injuries but such is their strength and depth in numbers, they will still provide a more than formidable team and will be aiming to maintain their winning run.
For the Villa faithful it provides not only a test but almost a free shot at trying to gain something from the game.
The Villans will take courage out of City’s injury list and the defeat they suffered against Palace, a side that Villa comfortably beat at the weekend.
Perhaps a measure of the task that Villa face is the record between the two clubs with City winning nine and drawing one of the last ten meetings in all competitions.
The last time Villa beat City was in 2013 when they won 3-2 courtesy of goals from Karim El-Ahmedi, Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann.
Last season saw Manchester City win 2-0 at the Etihad and 2-1 at Villa Park with Phil Foden and Rodri scoring after a first minute strike from John McGinn.
Aston Villa Team News
Villa will once again be without Egyptian winger Trezeguet who continues his recovery with upcoming games as part of the Under-23 side.
Bertrand Traore will once again be on the bench at best as he battles a niggling hamstring injury.
Morgan Sanson is believed to be close to full fitness but other than these, Steven Gerrard should be able to pick from the same squad that won and looked their best so far this season at Selhurst Park last Saturday.
Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Nakamba, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Young, Ramsey, Watkins
Manchester City Team News
Jack Grealish who was the talk of the summer following his exit from Villa Park, is a major doubt as he struggles with an ongoing injury.
Kevin De Bruyne (Covid related) and Phil Foden are likely to miss the trip and Ferran Torres is a definite absentee following a fracture to his foot.
Aymeric Laporte picked up a yellow card against West Ham on Sunday, meaning he is suspended and this will likely result in John Stones returning to the starting line up.
Possible starting line up:
Ederson, Zinchenko, Stones, Dias, Cancelo, Gundogan, Rodri, Silva, Sterling, Jesus, Sterling
One to watch:
Bernardo Silva is today’s focus and he will be one of the creative outlets that Pep Guardiola will look to with the absence of multiple midfielders.
The Portuguese has 25 goals and 25 assists in the Premier League and already has four goals to his name this season, often scoring key goals in games to help cover the lack of recognised strikers at the Etihad.
Silva is seen as strong at maintaining possession and contributing to the defensive side of City’s game and he is equally balanced at dribbling, passing and shooting from range.
Recognised as a midfielder both centrally or out wide on either side, Silva also drifts inside as a forward and gets on the end of deep crosses.
Head to Head record:
Aston Villa 57 wins, 41 Draws, Manchester City 77 wins
Last five meetings:
21 Apr 2021 – Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City (Premier League)
20 Jan 2021 – Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)
01 Mar 2020 – Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City (League Cup Final)
12 Jan 2020 – Aston Villa 1-6 Manchester City (Premier League)
26 Oct 2019 – Manchester City 3-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
Steven Gerrard has made an instant impact at Villa Park but I feel the challenge of City could come too soon.
Villa will need to maintain their shape and be resolute throughout but need to apply pressure when they do get opportunities to attack.
They will also have to patient at times, City have only conceded 7 goals in 13 games and only one of these goals has come during the first half of a game with 3 of the goals conceded coming in the final ten minutes of games.
Villa Park at night has produced some memorable games and moments and the fans will need to create an atmosphere to drive the team forward.
Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City
Tip of the day
If you back the score prediction, the 1-2 defeat is available at around 7/1 currently.
Villa win – 17/2
Draw – 17/4
Man City win – 2/7
John McGinn and Bernardo Silva are both in good form and if you back them both to score it is available at 22/1.
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