MX23RW : Friday, February 26 06:38:13| >> :120:23411:23411:
Jan 20, 2021 at 6pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
Aston VillaAston Villa
Silva (79'), Gundogan (90' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-0)

McGinn (67'), Taylor (86'), Smith (81')
Smith (81')

How Manchester City could line up against Aston Villa

Sports Mole looks at how Manchester City could line up for Wednesday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City have the chance to move top of the Premier League table for a couple of hours at least when they welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

The Citizens became the first team this season to string five Premier League wins together with a 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Sunday, moving to within two points of leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.

Man City have not sat at the top of the pile since the opening weekend of the 2019-20 campaign, but would put the pressure on their local rivals by beating a Villa side that has not been in top-flight action since New Year's Day.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Pep Guardiola could line his side up for the contest.

Possible MNC XI vs. AVL

Out: None
Doubtful: Sergio Aguero (coronavirus), Nathan Ake (muscle), Eric Garcia (coronavirus), Aymeric Laporte (hamstring)

> Click here for Man City's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match

Manchester City have had to make do without all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero for most of the season so far, and that is again expected to be the case on Wednesday.

The Argentine's stop-start season suffered another setback when he was forced into self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 and, while that isolation period could be over by the time Man City face Villa, he is unlikely to be thrown straight back into the mix.

There could nonetheless be changes up front as Guardiola looks to keep his squad fresh, with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres among those knocking on the door to start.

Gabriel Jesus failed to get amongst the goals against Palace and could lose his place in the side, while the likes of Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker may also sit out after starting at the weekend.

Ilkay Gundogan's recent goalscoring form makes him a prime candidate to start again, though, while Kevin De Bruyne - fresh from providing his 100th Man City assist in exquisite fashion - will be the first name on Guardiola's teamsheet at the moment.

The Belgian has now provided more assists in all competitions than any other Premier League player this season, and his withdrawal 20 minutes from time against Palace was a firm indication that he will start again in this match.

Rodri, Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo are among the other players who will be hopeful of a recall, while Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia could be available again.

Nathan Ake is more of a doubt to return from his muscle problem in time, but either way Guardiola is likely to stick with the centre-back duo of Ruben Dias and John Stones.

The latter netted the third brace of his career against Crystal Palace last time out, continuing a resurgence which has seen him become a trusted member of Guardiola's backline once again.

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Manchester City's John Stones celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on January 17, 2021
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