After a major wobble between early November and early December, Man City have since regained their composure and have now won eight of their past nine fixtures in all tournaments.
This spell includes seven victories by a margin of at least two goals, most impressively against Arsenal, Leicester and Man Utd, so they should have far too much firepower for relegation-battling Villa.
Dean Smith’s men may have at least temporarily escaped the clutches of the drop zone with two wins from their last three league outings, but each of their six victories in the top flight this season have come against teams currently residing in the bottom half of the table.
They’ve lost nine of 10 games against top-half sides, and having shipped at least two goals in all but one of these, including a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture so this should prove a fairly comfortable afternoon for their visitors.
Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s side have bagged at least two goals in all but one of their 10 league trips this season, with the exception at Anfield as they’ve averaged a whopping 2.7 goals per game on the road this term.
However, at the other end clean sheets remain elusive as home or away, they’ve now seen both teams find the net in a massive 16 of their last 18 in all competitions.
That includes eight of their past nine road trips, as they’ve won four of the last six by either 3-1 or 4-1 scorelines.
A major factor in City’s inability to shut teams out has been the absence of key centre-back Aymeric Laporte.
In league action alone, the Citizens have conceded an average of 1.04 goals in the 26 games he’s missed since he signed for the club in the January transfer window of 2018, compared with just 0.62 in the 47 he’s started.
Fortunately for City the Frenchman will be back before long now, but while he could play a decisive role for them in the cups, the league is a lost cause with Liverpool having taken advantage of City’s Achilles heel – the lack of cover in place for the departure of Vincent Kompany.
Man City To Win And Both Teams To Score
Villa look well placed to score then, especially given they’re top scorers amongst the bottom half of the table.
Following Wednesday’s stalemate with Leicester in the League Cup but excluding their trouncing of Liverpool’s U23s in the previous round, the hosts have seen both sides find the net in eight of nine clashes with the current top seven domestically across all competitions.
That includes five losses despite scoring from seven such league matches, all coming in the league and is in all probability how this one will end too.
In fact, Man City have now won despite conceding in five of their last seven, and not just against top sides Leicester and Man Utd, but also when facing lower league outfits Oxford Utd and Port Vale.
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