Aston Villa welcome Manchester City to Villa Park in an intriguing clash, which could see Jack Grealish face his former team for the first time following his blockbuster switch to City this summer.
Victory could see Villa climb into the top ten if results elsewhere swing in their favour, whereas Man City could go top with a win if Chelsea fail to win away at Watford.
Aston Villa have no fresh injury concerns to report after Saturday’s victory at Crystal Palace as Bertrand Traore (thigh) and Trezeguet (knee) remain ruled out.
Danny Ings (thigh) though is a slight doubt after suffering a minor setback in his recovery on Saturday.
Man City will be without Aymeric Laporte after the defender picked up his fifth booking of the season in Sunday’s win over West Ham.
Phil Foden and Jack Grealish (both knocks) could return but Kevin De Bruyne (Coronavirus), Ferran Torres (foot), Liam Delap (ankle) and Benjamin Mendy (personal) are still ruled out.
- Aston Villa have avoided defeat in just one of their last nine league meetings against Manchester City (D1, L8).
- Man City have dropped four points in their last five league visits to Villa Park (W3, D1, L1).
- City have kept just one clean sheet in their last four meetings against Villa in all competitions.
- Aston Villa are yet to score from a free kick this season in the Premier League.
- A clean sheet here would see Man City’s Ederson claim his 100th shutdown in all competitions.
Since Steven Gerrard arrived at Villa Park during the international break, something positive has changed about the team because they have been more organised and there were quite a lot of selfless moments in creating chances for teammates in Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace.
I also cannot ignore Villa’s improved work-rate in their press and quick movement on and off the ball, which is something which could well cause issues for Man City if Villa are at their best here although they still need to be quicker in closing gaps inside the box.
City meanwhile were simply dominant on and off the ball against West Ham on Sunday in difficult conditions, despite lacking patience to finish off several of their chances whilst a late focus slip cost them a clean sheet.
In fact, West Ham probably were the ideal opposition for Man City ahead of this fixture because I can see Villa causing similar issues here on and off the ball, yet City should be able to out-class them if they’re at their best defensively and able to aggressively press hard on and off the ball.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City
Result: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City