Manchester City will play host to the Villans in the late kick off on Saturday. The reigning champions are a point behind the third place Manchester United and with a win against Aston Villa they would be ahead of them until United play Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.
It would have been an easy and straight answer if one was asked a few months ago that who would win between Villa and City at the Etihad. City were in sparkling form while the Claret and Blues were struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. Now with the change of realm at Villa Park, Aston Villa seem to be a totally transformed side. Aston Villa aren’t struggling in the relegation zone and have defied all the odds to reach the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 30th.
After knocking out Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, Sherwoord iterated that his side won’t their form for granted and they’ll fight till the end.
“We need a couple of wins to be sure and if we can get that done, we will return for the FA Cup final very, very happy. We have the momentum. We have to bounce into our remaining games now.” He added: “We have got a lot of hard work to do in the Premier League. We realise that. But the confidence is there. The league form has been alright. It’s just that teams at the bottom keep on winning and you’re not getting away from anyone.”
The recent victims to Villa’s resurgence were Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool. Even the North London giants Tottenham tasted a 1 – 0 defeat at the hands of their former employee’s team at White Hart Lane. In their last eight games in all competitions, Villa have won five, drawn one and lost two. Pellegrini’s men have a worse recent record. In their last eight matches in all competitions, they have won only three and lost five. By the standards they have set for themselves it has been a very tough time for the Manchester City faithful.
After the win against the Hammers, the Manchester City boss claimed that he won’t get the sack if City finish in top four, but it could be a different case if the Citizens don’t qualify among the European elites.
“You are wrong if you think that, at this club, you are out if you don’t win the title”, said Pellegrini. He added: “[But] If we miss out (on the Champions League) then maybe it will be different because that would not be the same thing. If that happens, the analysis of the season will be different. Not to play in the Champions League is a disaster.”
City will be without their skipper Vincent Kompany, but David Silva will return despite leaving the match against West Ham on a stretcher following a head injury. Clichy, Bony, Nasri, Jovetic and Milner are also doubtful for the Saturday’s crucial must win match. For Villa, Carlos Sanchez and Aly Cissokho would be available for selection.
Man City possible lineup:
Hart; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov; Fernando, Fernandinho; Silva, Toure, Navas; Aguero
Aston Villa possible lineup:
Guzan; Bacuna, Okore, Vlaar, Richardson; Westwood, Delph, Cleverley; N’Zogbia, Sinclair, Benteke
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