Manchester City vs Aston Villa – Saturday 3pm
Tickets Sold Out
Last season Man City 4 Aston Villa 1
Referee Jon Moss
City – Gael Clichy hurt his back against Spurs and missed the midweek game for France but could be available on Saturday. Joleon Lescott and James Milner could return after back and hamstring injuries. Nasri is over the ilness which kept him out the win over Spurs. Mario Balotelli will hope he at least makes the bench after being dropped by manager Roberto Mancini last weekend.
Villa – Darren Bent, Chris Herd, Charles N’Zogbia and Joe Bennett remain sidelined for Villa, but Eric Lichaj and Nathan Baker are available after suspension and injury respectively.
If Mario Balotelli plays a part tomorrow v Aston Villa he will be making his 50th PL appearance for City.
City have taken a whopping 86 points from the last 90 available at home in the Premier League.
City have already scored more equalisers (7) in the Premer League this term than in the entire 2011-12 campaign (6).
Edin Dzeko has scored 8 goals in his last 16 substitute appearances compared to 3 goals from his last 19 starts.
Edin Dzeko may not want to be seen as a ‘super-sub’, but the label fits as 5 of Dzeko’s 6 league goals this season have come as a substitute and 3 have proved decisive in winning matches, against Fulham, West Brom and Spurs.
Former Villa star Gareth Barry clocked 7.31miles against Spurs, the most out of any player on the pitch and the fourth highest by a player in a single game all season.
City have scored the most goals (8) in the last 15 minutes of Premier League matches this season.
City have scored 34 goals at home against Aston Villa in the PL era. They have not scored more against any other side.
Roberto Mancini entered the press conference wearing a David Platt mask, to the amusement of the congregated journalists. They have described him as tetchy and uptight in recent press conferences, with Platt taking last week’s ahead of the Spurs game. If this stunt was aimed at lightening the mood then it worked. He was asked about Luis Suarez after reports emerged linking him with City. Mancini said:
We have a good team and don’t need to buy any players in January. We can’t buy Suarez or another player because we have four strikers and Suarez plays for Liverpool.
Speaking about Mario Balotelli, who was dropped for the Spurs game last Sunday, Mancini said:
Mario didn’t play because it was my choice. I have 20 players and if there are some players that don’t work well, they don’t deserve to play. There were other players that worked better than Mario and they deserve to go on the bench.
See the full press conference via the video below.
Paul Lambert reaffirmed his commitment to young players during his press conference. Villa signed five players in the summer who are 23 or under, and results have been mixed. Lambert said:
I know I need to get results but I’d rather a team that is giving everything. I think they are all growing into it, the young lads. If you look at the average age, it is a very young side but that is great for the future.
If we keep growing together, we’ll have a right strong side. I couldn’t ask for any more, not just the effort but the way they have played. It’s my way. I’ll not deviate from my way. You speak to other managers and take advice from them. It would always be my decision. Yes, I love to win but the project is long term.
Inside the Opposition
Our feature – Inside the Opposition – this week sees us speak to Damian Dugdale, owner of the The Villa Blog. He gives his opinion on Villa, City, Stephen Ireland, and more.
Arsenal v Tottenham (12.45pm)
Liverpool v Wigan
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Newcastle v Swansea
QPR v Southampton
Reading v Everton
West Brom v Chelsea
Norwich v Manchester United (5.30pm)
Fulham v Sunderland (4pm)
West Ham v Stoke (8pm)