Manchester City - Aston Villa Preview: Champions looking to maintain unbeaten Premier League run
The champions are the only undefeated side remaining in the league and defend their impressive home record against Paul Lambert's side, who have won just one of their last 13 away
By Tom McKeown
Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Toure Y, Barry
Silva, Tevez, Nasri
Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens
Weimann, Westwood, Ireland, Bannan
Joleon Lescott looks set to return to the Manchester City side for Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa after recovering from a back injury, while Samir Nasri should make a comeback from illness.
Gael Clichy (back) should be fit to play after withdrawing from the France squad in midweek. James Milner and Jack Rodwell (both hamstring) are pushing for a return, while Matija Nastasic is fighting to recover from a knee knock.
Enda Stevens could keep his place in the Aston Villa side after deputising for the suspended Eric Lichaj against Manchester United last week, while Darren Bent (ankle) is struggling to recover.
Joe Bennett and Chris Herd (both knee) are still sidelined for Villa, with Paul Lambert likely to name the same XI that lost 3-2 to the Red Devils.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City are unbeaten in the Premier League this season, and haven’t lost at home in the top flight in 35 matches; a run that started with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa in December 2010.
- Mario Balotelli (pictured right) has four goals in two Premier League games against Aston Villa, and six in four appearances in all competitions against them.
- Joleon Lescott has scored more goals against Villa (five) than against any other Premier League side.
- Penalties are a common occurrence in this fixture, with five spot-kicks awarded in their last eight meetings.
- City have scored in every one of their last 37 Premier League home games.
- Roberto Mancini’s side have won 14 points from losing positions this season; only Manchester United (15) have recovered more.
- Before their last away league game – a 1-0 win at Sunderland – Paul Lambert’s side had gone 13 Premier League away games without a win.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa
- 14.29 %
Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa
- 11.67 %
Manchester City 3-0 Aston Villa
- 11.49 %
|Premier League (EPL)||4 Mar 2013||Aston Villa 0 - Manchester City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Nov 2012||Manchester City 5 - Aston Villa 0|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||25 Sep 2012||Manchester City 2 - Aston Villa 4|
|Premier League (EPL)||12 Feb 2012||Aston Villa 0 - Manchester City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||15 Oct 2011||Manchester City 4 - Aston Villa 1|
|19 May 2013||Manchester City 2 - Norwich City 3||EPL|
|14 May 2013||Reading 0 - Manchester City 2||EPL|
|11 May 2013||Manchester City 0 - Wigan Athletic 1||FA|
|7 May 2013||Manchester City 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0||EPL|
|4 May 2013||Swansea City 0 - Manchester City 0||EPL|
|Returns:||Manchester City £12.22||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £460.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Aston Villa £1510.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|8||Karim El Ahmadi||Midfielder|
|21||Jordan Nathaniel Bowery||Striker|
City’s diminutive playmaker has lacked the spark this season that often tore teams apart last term, but the Spain international is showing signs of getting back to his best. He put in a strong performance in the 2-1 win over Tottenham last weekend, setting up Edin Dzeko’s later winner, and will be vital to Roberto Mancini’s side, who have struggled at times to break teams down.
The Austria international bagged his first goals of the season with a brace against Manchester United last weekend, giving his side a seemingly strong 2-0 lead before Villa succumbed to another classic Red Devils comeback. The 21-year-old is starting to fulfil his potential for Paul Lambert’s side and will look to provide support for Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke as the visitors aim for a repeat of the extra-time victory at the Etihad in the Capital One Cup last month.
The international break always throws a spanner in the works for the Premier League sides, but City have more players at their disposal than most. Roberto Mancini’s side are yet to be beaten in the top flight this season and last weekend’s victory will be a huge morale boost. Villa, meanwhile, are on dismal form away from home but did manage a victory at Sunderland on their last trip away from the Midlands. City should have way too much for Paul Lambert’s side on this occasion, though.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed