An injured champion and an under-the-radar promoted side promise intrigue as Aston Villa visits Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium (Watch Live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Those are the latest blows for City, who is already missing influential center back Aymeric Laporte until the new year.
City has lost to Norwich City and Wolves this season, so they won’t be sleeping on a Villa side which has shown itself capable of challenging anyone.
Manchester City: OUT — Oleksandri Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri.
Manchester City: Ederson, Mendy, Otamendi, Stones, Cancelo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, D. Silva, B. Silva, Sterling, Jesus.
Aston Villa: Heaton, Targett, Mings, Engels, Guilbert, Nakamba, McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley.
What they’re saying
Guardiola on thriving City star Raheem Sterling: “All the credit is to Raheem. We talk as a group, the quality of everyone helps the rest of the players. The credit is to him and the rest of the players. We dream of players getting better, month by month, season by season.”
Dean Smith on Villa’s homegrown hero Jack Grealish: “People thought that maybe [the captaincy] would be a burden for him, being a Villa fan, but from what I’ve seen he likes the responsibility and he thrives on it as well. He said to me that I haven’t seen the best of him yet.”
On another day at another location, maybe you peg Villa to get a point or better. This City teams seems up for the challenge and the fully fit (aside from a black eye) John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi should show the way as long as they kicked the rust off at midweek. City 3-1.