A struggling Manchester City host Aston Villa this weekend as both sides look to bounce back to winning ways following disappointing losses in their previous outings. With Pep Guardiola’s side sitting six points behind league leaders Arsenal, the hosts will be keen on narrowing the gap at the top whilst the visitors will look to gain a positive result in a bid to move up into the top-half of the table.
Having registered victories in only three of their last five league outings, City will be keen on securing a compelling three points if they are to close-in on the Gunners in the table this Sunday. With the club in turmoil after being alleged of breaching the Premier League’s financial rules, the hosts will be keen on giving the fans something to cheer against Villa at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
On the other hand, having suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Leicester City in their last league outing, Villa will be needing to bounce back of winning ways this weekend. With only three points separating them and ninth-placed Chelsea, Unai Emery’s side will look to seek advantage of the home side’s vulnerability and inconsistency in the pitch on Sunday.
When & Where?
Venue: Etihad Stadium.
Date: Sunday, 12th February 2023.
Time: 16:30 GMT.
Referee: Robert Jones.
Assistant Referees: Lee Betts, Ian Hussin.
Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh.
VAR Official: Jarred Gillett.
John Stones is expected to be the only player set to miss out due to injury on Sunday while Phil Foden is likely to recover from illness and be part of the match-day squad facing Villa. Guardiola is expected to recall Kevin De Bruyne to the starting line-up after naming the Belgian on the bench against Tottenham Hotspur, while Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez are likely to occupy the flanks on Sunday.
Jed Steer and Diego Carlos remain out of contention due to injury although Bertrand Traore has returned to full-training. Ashley Young’s availability remains uncertain, while Emery is expected to make a number of changes to the starting line-up facing City this weekend.
With both sides needing three points, Sunday’s tie is expected to provide for a mouth-watering battle on the pitch at the Etihad. Having struggle to remain dominant and ruthless in their application on the pitch in recent week, City will be keen on delivering a notable team display whilst the visitors will look to cause an upset this weekend.
Expected to retain control of majority portions of the game on Sunday, the hosts will be keen on delivering a compelling display against Villa. Likely to utilise possession and control as the primary foundations of their approach this weekend, City will look to find an early breakthrough in a bid to pin the pressure back on the opposition. Moreover, with their forwards expected to test the opposition’s defensive resolve, the hosts will be keen on emerging as the dominant side this weekend.
Meanwhile, expected to employ a balanced approach, Villa will look to make the best of their goal-scoring opportunities on Sunday. With the hosts having shown signs of vulnerability in defence, the visitors are expected to utilise their attacking ability on the break alongside seeking opportunities to stretch the opposition and overload the wide-areas this weekend. Boasting potential on converting set-pieces too, Villa will look to retain control in small portions of the game this Sunday.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Amongst City’s key creative outlets in midfield, De Bruyne’s contributions are expected to play a pivotal role in the team’s prospects over the remainder of the season. With Villa likely to employ tactics attempting to nullify his impact on Sunday, the Belgian will be keen on performing to the best of his abilities.
Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
Having scored in each of Villa’s last two league outings, Watkins is expected to trouble City’s defensive line at the Etihad. Boasting notable movement and finishing in and around the 18-yard-box, the striker will be keen on finding the back of the net this weekend.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Aston Villa: Ederson; Rico Lewis, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake; Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa predicted lineup vs Manchester City: Emiliano Martinez; Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Alex Moreno; Boubacar Kamara, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey; Emiliano Buendia, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey.