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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Manchester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aston Villa host Manchester City in the Premier League on Wednesday, with the Citizens requiring 11 more points to be assured of winning their third league title in the last four seasons under Pep Guardiola.

The Villans, meanwhile, can move back into the top half of the table by gaining a positive result.


Match preview

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on April 10, 2021© Reuters

Having began the season in blistering form, Villa have significantly dropped off in recent weeks, winning only two of their last eight matches since losing Jack Grealish to a shin injury.

Dean Smith's side came extremely close to avoiding defeat at Liverpool last time out, though, with recent England debutant Ollie Watkins firing the Villains into the lead largely against the run of play towards the end of the first half.

Indeed, Mohamed Salah had earlier missed a routine one-on-one opportunity for a man of his calibre after Tyrone Mings's failure to clear the ball, while Roberto Firmino also saw his goal controversially chalked off due to an extremely tight offside call going against Diogo Jota in the build-up.

If anything, Villa were more competitive after the break, with Salah's equaliser looking like resulting in a share of the spoils as the match fizzled out.

However, Trent Alexander-Arnold silenced his critics with a superb injury-time winner, picking up the ball outside the penalty area before displaying magnificent technique by powerfully caressing the ball into the far corner beyond a helpless Emiliano Martinez, who moments beforehand had made a superb stop to deny Sadio Mane from close range.

Despite a dip in results and performances, Villa should take encouragement from the fact that they can now consistently remain competitive against the league's stronger sides, having also lost narrowly late on against Man City earlier in the campaign.

Avoiding defeat without Grealish may prove tough on Wednesday, but they have shown they can stay in games even without their most talented player.

John Stones in action for Man City on February 7, 2021© Reuters

City's dreams of winning a historical quadruple came to a crushing end with a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, with Guardiola's side dealt a potentially even more damaging blow in the shape of Kevin De Bruyne's foot injury.

The Belgium midfielder limped off after 48 minutes, with Hakim Ziyech scoring the decisive goal of the game seven minutes later after an excellent breakaway led by Timo Werner.

City's lack of response was surprising, with them testing Chelsea's back-up goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on only three occasions across the 90 minutes.

Guardiola's attention must now return to securing his third Premier League title in four seasons, especially with their rivals Manchester United reducing the gap at the top of the table to eight points after the Red Devils dispatched Burnley 3-1 on Sunday to record their fifth successive league win.

While City's lead still looks unassailable, it is the exact same points deficit at the exact same point of the season which they recovered against Man Utd themselves to win their first ever Premier League title under Roberto Mancini in the 2011-12 campaign.

A win against Villa would certainly do plenty to calm any growing nerves within City's ranks, then, especially ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur and next Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg away to Paris Saint-Germain.

The quadruple may be gone, but a treble is still very much within their grasp.

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Manchester City Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L


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Team News

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne pictured in action against Chelsea in the FA Cup on April 17, 2021© Reuters

Villa are expected to remain without Grealish until early May, with the England midfielder recently suffering a setback in his road to recovery from a painful shin issue.

Trezeguet could miss the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury in the defeat to Liverpool, with Anwar El Ghazi likely to replace the Egypt winger on the left flank.

Otherwise, Smith could name an unchanged XI as he looks to pack the midfield once again.

Morgan Sanson should be named among the substitutes having been rested for the trip to Anfield due to a minor knock to his knee, but the match against Man City is likely to come too soon for Wesley, who will hope to feature at some point before the end of the campaign as he continues to work his way back to full fitness following a serious knee injury.

Having rested several players in the home defeat to Leeds United last time out in the Premier League, Guardiola will be expected to pick a stronger lineup having seen his side's lead at the top of the table reduced in recent weeks.

Ederson, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva were all named among the substitutes against Chelsea at the weekend and as such are likely to return to the first XI.

The club have confirmed that De Bruyne will miss the trip to Villa Park due to the foot and ankle injury he sustained at Wembley, but no timeframe has been provided regarding his return to first-team action.

Sergio Aguero could miss out again having been left out of the last two squads due to what Guardiola described as a "number of niggles," with Gabriel Jesus potentially leading the line as a more orthodox striker once more.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Nakamba; Traore, Watkins, El Ghazi

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden


SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City

Without Grealish, it is difficult to envisage Villa laying a glove on City, who will be highly motivated to bounce back after recent defeats to Leeds and Chelsea.

A win would go a long way to securing yet another league title for the club, and we expect City to edge a tight encounter on Wednesday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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How you voted: Aston Villa vs Man City

Aston Villa
20.2%
Draw
10.3%
Manchester City
69.6%
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Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne pictured in action against Chelsea in the FA Cup on April 17, 2021
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City34255471244780
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd331910464352967
3Leicester CityLeicester34196961392263
4Chelsea341710753312261
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham341771055441158
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs341681060382256
7Liverpool33159955391654
8Everton33157114542352
9Arsenal34147134637949
10Aston Villa331461348381048
11Leeds UnitedLeeds34145155052-247
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34119143346-1342
13Crystal Palace33108153456-2238
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton34813133539-437
15Southampton33107164159-1837
16Burnley3499163147-1636
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3499163656-2036
18Fulham34512172545-2027
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom34511183165-3426
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3452271860-4217

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