Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester City

0 Comments

•Aston Villa has managed just nine shots on target in six league games this season, fewer than any other side. Only Burnley have scored fewer than Villa’s four goals. They last had four goals after seven matches in 1979-80.

•Manchester City have only lost one of their last 15 away league matches, against Liverpool in April. They have taken 37 points out of a possible 45 during that run.

•City have registered 19 Premier League victories against Aston Villa, more than against any other team. (BBC Sport)

Aston Villa will welcome Manchester City to Villa Park tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET. The game is set to air on NBC, with an online stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.

The Villains have faced other top-tier Premier League clubs this season, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. They managed a 1-0 victory over the Reds, while succumbing to 3-0 defeats to both Arsenal and Chelsea. Still, Paul Lambert’s side sees themselves at sixth place in the league standings, two points ahead of Manchester United, partially due to wins over Stoke City and Hull City.

[WATCH LIVE on NBC Sports Live Extra]

Manchester City has seen a slow start to their Champions League campaign, and aside from a surprise 1-0 loss to Stoke City, Manuel Pellegrini’s team hasn’t fallen that hard, situated at third place in the PL table with 11 points. And last week, the Sky Blues’ offensive attacked at full force after falling down by two goals vs. Hull City, as Edin Dzeko notched a brace.

What they’re saying

Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann on chances vs. Man City (Villa official website):We feel very confident having made the strong start that we have. Our mood is good, the belief is strong. There’s a good feeling among the lads about what we’re trying to do this season. It’s a really good group to be a part of – there’s a togetherness about us and we want to be successful together. The squad is strong, stronger than last season with a really good blend of youth and experience. We’re looking forward to the game against Man City.”

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini on start to 2014-15 (SkySports): “If we win tomorrow, yes, I’m happy (with the start). The only game we lost was here against Stoke (0-1). It was not in our minds that we could lose that game but that can happen in football. I think that, in all other games, we play very well. It is not good to be five points behind Chelsea but, in this moment, we have one point more than last year. Arsenal was maybe six points ahead of us and we didn’t win the first three games away.”

Player absences/injuries

Villa striker Christian Benteke six-month stretch out of play due to a ruptured Achilles is over, confirmed Paul Lambert, so he will likely see time in this match. Unfortunately, striker Libor Kozak is still coping with his broken leg. Captain Ron Vlaar will take rest with a calf injury.

For Manchester City, midfielder Fernando is accessible again following his absence in the past six games because of a groin issue. Matija Nastasić will not appear, and Samir Nasri (groin) is out until the end of month.

Prediction

There’s no reason why Manchester City can’t go into Villa Park and score 2 or more goals en route to a victory, and it’s difficult to envision Cristian Benteke having a huge impact fresh off such a serious injury. Based on last year’s encounter, the Claret and Blues do have a shot to capture a point, but City would have to implode. Manchester City, 2-0.