STAR PREVIEW: Aston Villa v Man City

Manchester City’s Premier League season has been a frustrating one but they should still be far too good for Aston Villa today. Most observers and the markets seem to think that Liverpool will take the Premier League title from City. Last season’s winners are 14 points behind Liverpool, who have a game in hand, and they are 16/1 to claw back the deficit. Nothing is settled until the last kick of the season, as City fans will know, but the gap is a huge one; City are twice as far behind Liverpool at this stage as they were last season, and the Reds do have a game in hand, but City did manage to win 14 straight games to edge the title race by a point last season.

In any case, they should still prove too good for Aston Villa. Since their 3-2 defeat against Wolves – when they were 2-0 up but saw their lead evaporate late on after being one man down for over an hour – they have won four straight games and done so with a degree of comfort, the latest victory being in the Manchester Derby when they basically walked through Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Defensive issues – City have one clean sheet in eight away matches – continue to be an issue but on most occasions City’s brilliant attack is more than good enough for that not to matter and it was the case in midweek, when Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bryune absolutely demolished Manchester United.

Riyad Mahrez also scored in that 3-1 win and the Algerian, who has stepped up in the absence of Leroy Sane, is a constant threat along with Pep Guardiola’s choice of striker, whether that is Gabriel Jesus or Sergio Aguero, and all should feel confident of getting some chances against Villa.

Dean Smith’s side put up a brilliant rear-guard action against Leicester in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final but they were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw after losing the shot target 21—3, the shots on target count 6-1, and the corner count 11-0. Jack Grealish’s performance there was a brilliant display whilst Orjan Nyland (who might start in goal again) and Anwar El Ghazi deserve huge credit, but in the long term the absence of goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley for the rest of the season is a serious blow to their chances of staying up.

Aston Villa v Man City
Premier League
16:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD*
(Maximum 10 matches, Since 2010)
OCT 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-0 Aston Villa
MAR 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa
JAN 2016 FA CUP Aston Villa 0-4 Manchester City
NOV 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City
APR 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa
OCT 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City
MAY 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa
SEP 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Aston Villa 3-2 Manchester City
MAR 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City
NOV 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 5-0 Aston Villa

Villa have lost both their home games against Liverpool and Leicester and face a City side that has scored 56 league goals already this season, 38 of them coming against teams in the bottom half of the table. Villa are winless against top-half teams this season, losing nine and drawing one, and it could be the same story again here.

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