Aston Villa returns to Premier League action eight-teen days since their last game in a narrow defeat to Premier League table-toppers Manchester United. Ironically they return to action to United’s Manchester rivals Man City at the Etihad. The game was originally scheduled for the first game of the season but was postponed due to City’s late finish to the last campaign.
Villa have had their preview two games against Tottenham Hotspur and Everton postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club where nine first-team players tested positive. The postponements have resulted in Villa now facing 6 games in the next 17 days!
It’s an unusual season though and as John McGinn stated following the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, they shouldn’t moan as they are in the lucky position of being able to do something they love to do, while so many at-home can’t.
Villa will come up against Man City as they have hit a run of form. Pep Guardiola’s man have won their last four Premier League outings and are undefeated in their last 7 (Since early November). In fact, their form has been so impressive, a win could see them return to the top of the Premier League.
Dean Smith’s men are a different opposition to the one that got brushed aside by this City side last season. Although it will be a very difficult fixture, its one that we shouldn’t fear and providing we are at our best, anything is possible.
It is unclear who exactly contracted Covid-19 apart from Egyptian International, Trezeguet who confirmed it on his personal social media channels last week.
Smith stated that those who did test positive, have now returned and will be monitored but did confirm Jack Grealish and John McGinn were not one of those players and even went on to say some of the players were able to use it as a bit of a winter break.
Ross Barkley is expected to be available for selection after Smith confirmed he would be available for the postponed Tottenham game over a week ago. Wesley continues to step up his return as he is back in training amongst the first team but is yet to have any game time yet.
Aymeric Laporte will be unavailable despite returning to training on Monday. The game is thought to come to soon for the Spanish International. Sergio Aguero has been ruled out with Covid-19 and is still in isolation.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Dan Robathan. Fourth official: David Coote. VAR: Andy Madley. Assistant VAR: Simon Beck.
DID YOU KNOW
Jack Grealish has been involved in twelve goals this term, scoring five and assisting seven. It is the joint-highest by a VIlla player after 15 Premier League games along with Dalian Atkinson’s tally back in the 1992/93 season.
Villa have won five of their last eight Premier League fixtures on the road (D1, L2).
Man City have won 14 of their last 15 games at home against Aston Villa.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Man City v Aston Villa will be shown live on BT Sport in the UK.
As positive as I feel about Villa right now it is hard to look past a Man City win. They look to be steamrolling the league in a quiet fashion as most of the media talk about their Manchester rivals and Liverpool.
A similar performance to the one we witnessed against Manchester United would be a good one.
Man City 3-1 Aston Villa