Manchester City vs Aston Villa– Pre-game Assessment

Wednesday, April 3, 20:15 – Etihad Stadium

Referee: Darren England

This season seems to be defined by injuries – even to goalies.  As our Villans head to the Etihad Stadium to face the perennial champions, Manchester City, they find themselves with everything to play for.  Rather than being pessimistic at the lack of the injured Ollie Watkins, Jacob Ramsey, Boubacar Kamara, and Matty Cash (as well as the suspended John McGinn), they can take heart in City’s woes. 

The light blues are missing Ederson, Ake, and Walker, all worldclass players, have tied two games in a row, and are losing ground to Liverpool.  In fact, our Villans are one of only two of the Premier League’s top ten teams winning their most recent games (the other being the Reds).  Having Spurs, Man U., West Ham, Newcastle, Brighton, and Wolves all lose ground on us is very reassuring.

With a two-point advantage and a two-goal differential advantage on Spurs, a single point against Man City would be a huge benefit to us going forward.  It could be somewhat reminiscent of our game in December when we hosted Man City and a goal by Leon Bailey won us the game 1-0.  Fortunately, Bailey is still uninjured and dangerous, and likely to be our most potent threat again.

I expect us to play a very controlled game and wait for the opportunities to counterattack.  With Diaby, as well as Bailey, able to score against any team, City will have to be careful. 

Of course, we will need Emi to make an outstanding save or two and that will add to the anxiety of the home fans and the team.  While we will miss the great running of Watkins, Duran offers the capability to hit a wonder goal and he can also make himself quite a nuisance.

Anything is possible.  Certainly, a point is well within our grasp.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Manchester City (1) vs Aston Villa (1)

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

Aston Villa: (4, 4, 2) Martínez, Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne, Bailey, Tielemans, Luiz, Rogers, Diaby, Duran

Subs: Olsen, Lenglet, Moreno, Zaniolo, Iroegbunam, Chambers, Kesler-Hayden, Kellyman, Marschall

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