On November eighth, bottom side Aston Villa will welcome table toppers Manchester City to Villa Park. Villa’s new manager Remi Garde will make his debut as he looks to end the Villans eight league match losing streak. He’ll have his work cut out for him as league leaders Manchester City will look to extend their three match win streak. City haven’t lost since late September and are yet to drop points to a bottom half side this season.
City have shown their incredible squad depth in this recent run, as they have been without some key players. Sergio Aguero and David Silva are arguably City’s best two players, but they’ve been able to handle themselves without them. They’ll have to last a bit longer without them as they both look to make their return after the international break. Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta will also miss out and are looking to make their returns after the international break as well.
Not only did Villa lose their eighth straight league match on Monday, but they also lost two players to injury. Both Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Westwood came off with injuries. Westwood is out for this fixture, while club captain Agbonlahor’s fitness for Sunday is up in the air. They’ll also be without Gary Gardner as he recovers from his long term injury.
These two sides have not drawn on their last 13 meetings. Villa have not kept a clean sheet against City in any of their last 10 meetings. They’re also yet to keep a clean sheet at home in the league this season. Only Stoke City have scored fewer league goals this season than Villa’s 10, while no one has scored more than Manchester City’s 26. On the flip side, no one has scored fewer goals at home than the home side (three) and only West Bromwich Albion have conceded fewer away goals than the Citizens four.
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish
After being made to wait for his first England call up earlier this week, Jack Grealish will have a point to prove against City. The 20 year old will be responsible for creating chances with the little possession Villa will get. Ashley Westwood has lead the team in chances created this season with 18. With him out through injury, Grealish will look to step up to the plate and take the role as the team’s chief creator.
Manchester City: Raheem Sterling
After a controversial summer, Raheem Sterling has gone about his business at City relatively quietly. He is City’s second highest scorer in the Premier League and is sixth in chances created in the team. With the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva out, Sterling has been one of the players that has stepped up in their absence to keep them top of the table. They’ll likely be back after the international break, so Sterling and co are going to have to step up one more time.
It’s difficult to see anything other than a City win in this one. The leaders are in good from and will look to keep themselves at the top of the league. While the appointment of Remi Garde could be great for Villa in the near future, it might be a bit too early for him to make enough of an impact to get something off of City.
Prediction: 4-1 City