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Villa are back in action after nearly three weeks with their first team squad self-isolating, but it remains unclear which players will be available, and they won’t have enjoyed adequate time on the training ground to prepare for this clash.
Their kids had to take on Liverpool in the FA Cup when they last featured and while we wouldn’t read too much into that result, defeat away at Man Utd when the regulars last played ended a five-game unbeaten streak.
Man City can return to the top of the standings with a win here, albeit briefly as neighbours Utd travel to Fulham later on Wednesday.
Their 4-0 hammering of Crystal Palace on Sunday leaves them unbeaten in 15 across all competitions now as each of the past eight has ended in victory, with this more recent streak yielding six clean sheets as only Arsenal and Chelsea were able to register.
The return to form of John Stones has undoubtedly boosted Man City’s resolve at the back and he’s struck up an excellent understanding with summer signing Ruben Dias.
Pep Guardiola’s teams down the years have always been known for their high output, but these two have racked up an astonishing nine clean sheets in the 10 games they’ve started together now as only Chelsea were able to breach them.
There’s no chance of that partnership being broken up here with fellow centre-backs Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Eric Garcia all doubtful or unavailable in any case.
Pep Guardiola has few concerns on the injury front and Sergio Aguero is the only other concern, though there’s an abundance of riches in attack with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres, and Bernardo Silva all in contention.
Man City To Win To Nil
It’s difficult to gauge what level Villa will be at given the unknowns surrounding their team selection, though their youngsters did put up a fight in the 4-1 defeat when hosting Liverpool.
A quickfire three goals across six second-half minutes put them to bed, and of course City have the resources to do the same at any time.
However, the Reds have experienced some horrendous injury problems in defence this term, with 19-year-old Rhys Williams very much at fault for Villa’s goal that day, and City’s more assured backline should help seal another clean sheet.
At the Etihad, City have now won to nil in seven of their last eight in all competitions, while in the league alone they’ve won to nil in 12 of 16 appearances since February.
Their appears to be a settled first choice defensive unit now with Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker both impressing at full-back and Ederson a mainstay in goal, so appear good value to continue their streak.