Manchester City v Aston Villa – the preview

In Match Previews

Having been beaten 5-1 by City while in charge of Tottenham Hotspur last season, Tim Sherwood will be keen to get his FA Cup finalists down from cloud nine and focused on securing their Premier League survival, having warned earlier this week of the danger of ‘doing a Wigan’.

Despite their dubious away form, the Citizens are still impressive at home, having been beaten just twice at the Etihad all season. They have won their last four games on home soil, scoring twelve goals and conceding none, which means this evening’s game will be a tough test for the boys from B6, who are four points above the relegation zone at present. The hosts will be hoping to win their fifth successive game on home turf since 2011. Sadly, the signs suggest that could well happen, with the Premier League’s highest scorers having beaten the Villans in their last seven meetings at The Etihad, scoring an impressive twenty-three goals and conceding only two in those meetings.

The Citizens, whose season has not been as fruitful as many expected, sit twelve points adrift of the Premier League table toppers, Chelsea, and will need to win this game if they are to hold off the challenge of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur for a Champions League spot. If Sherwood’s side is to pick up any points, Christian Benteke will probably need to add to his recent tally of nine goals in seven games.

Recent form:

Manchester City: W L L W L
Aston Villa: W D L L W

Team news:

Under the terms of his loan, Scott Sinclair is not permitted to play against his parent club.

Gabby Agbonlahor may return to the squad after missing last Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final due to a hamstring injury.

Philippe Senderos and Aly Cissokho have recovered from their respective lengthy injuries and are expected to be in the squad this evening.

Carlos Sanchez id back from suspension.

Sherwood confirmed that knee ligament damage has ruled Ciaran Clark out for the remainder of the season.

Nathan Baker, suffering from a knee injury sustained last weekend, will be assessed “week to week” but is unlikely to return to action this season.

Alan Hutton’s is making progress in his rehabilitation from an ankle problem but will not make the trip to Manchester.

Possible line-up:

Guzan
Bacuna     Vlaar     Okore     Richardson
Cleverley     Westwood     Delph
Grealish
Agbonlahor     Benteke

The opposition:

Many believe that Manuel Pellegrini is a man under pressure as he has seen his side slip from joint top of the Premier League table to fourth spot since the turn of the year and suffering the humiliation of seeing the reigning Premier League chamipons crashing out of the FA Cup, Capital One Cup and the Champions League.

The panic button does not seem to have been pressed yet on the blue side of Manchester and Pellegrini’s high-profile stars need to carry the can for what has been a disappointing season, with several big names expected to face the chop if Champions League football is not secured.

The injury news is mixed for Pellegrini ahead of this evening’s game.

David Silva has been given the all-clear following a facial injury and is expected to be available this evening.

Wilfred Bony has recovered from a foot injury.

Former Villan James Milner will return to the squad after suffering a knee problem.

Samir Nasri has a groin problem and won’t feature.

Vincent Kompany is also suffering from a groin problem and is not expected to return for another couple of weeks.

Gael Clichy is another addition to the injury list, alongside Stevan Jovetic.

Match information:

Referee: Mike Dean
Venue: The Etihad Stadium
Kick-off: 5.30p.m.
Tickets: Tickets are no longer on sale to Aston Villa supporters
Last meeting: 4th October 2014 – Aston Villa 0 – Manchester City 2

Predictions:

2-0 – Mark Lawrenson
2-1 – Paul Merson
2-2 – AnneMc

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