Aston Villa travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to take on the only unbeaten record in the league when they kick off against Manchester City at 3pm.
Man City team v Aston Villa: Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; Silva, Nasri, Tevez; Aguero
Aston Villa team to face Man City: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Westwood, Bannan, Ireland, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke.
It is daunting task for any team to travel to the home of the Premier League champions, they are unbeaten in 35 home league matches winning all but three of them despite struggling for form so far this season. City have the best defensive record in the league conceding only nine goals in ten games in the top flight.
There is a new dimension to Manchester City this season, although they appear to be struggling with the added weight of expectancy, City have shown more determination than in the past with greater belief and will to win. Eight times City have scored in the last 15 minutes, a habit which has helped them gain an extra 11 points.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has revived the club by giving the clubs youth a chance prove themselves. A mature performance in their timely win against Sunderland was followed by a magnificent performance last weekend aagainst Manchester United, where they gave United a big scare despite losing outing the end.
Seven of last weekend’s starting 11 were 23 or under and Lambert will be looking for his youngsters to push on and adapt to life in the premiership. A repeat of their performance against United is vital if they want to be competitive against the champions.
For Manchester City, James Milner and Jolene Lescott are both in contention after recovering from their respective hamstring and back injuries while Gael Clichy could also be fit after missing international duty due to a back injury. Samir Nasri has recovered from illness and Mario Balotelli will be hoping for a recall after being dropped from the matchday squad last week.
Aston Villa will be without Darren Bent, Chris Herd, Charles N’Zogbia and Joe Bennett who are all still on the injury list. Defenders Erich Lichaj (suspension) and Nathan Baker (injury) are available again after missing out last week.
Ones to watch
Manchester City: Vincent Kompany
Kompany has symbolised City’s struggle for form this season and he will want to show some of last seasons form when he faces Villa’s new Belgian striker Christian Benteke. Benteke is strong, quick and shows good composure the final third, he is as likely to shoot as he is to look upland play a pass. A difficult day beckons for City’s captain.
Aston Villa: Andreas Weimann
Two goals against United last week were a just reward for a superb performance full of energy and pace. If Benteke can hold the ball up as well as he did last week, Weimann will find space in and around him to cause City trouble.
City should win this game, last season it was 4-1 to the home side in a one sided encounter. Aston Villa have the potential to cause problems for City but only if they can find some consistency and replicate last weeks performance.