Villa perspective: David Grimble, Up The Villa
Ron Vlaar was a big miss as we lost our last game 2-1 against Arsenal, as it meant that Nathan Baker had to move from left-back to the centre. Baker has quietly had a very good season, but Vlaar offers more experience in the middle. The Dutchman has returned to training, but Paul Lambert has been coy about his chances of playing here.
Despite falling into the bottom three, we haven’t been playing too badly of late. We finally look like we might create something going forward, and the 2-1 win against West Ham a couple of games ago was absolutely massive. We looked like we might steal a point last time out against Arsenal, but once again our horrible knack of conceding late goals meant we left the Emirates empty handed.
We were thoroughly embarrassed in the reverse fixture earlier this season, losing 5-0 at the Etihad. We did shock them in the league cup though, before falling at the hands of the mighty Bradford City. Last season they did the double over us, but the year before we were in a similar position near the bottom, playing at home in a televised game and won 1-0. A repeat of that would do very nicely.
Carlos Tevez to score first at 4.75. He seems to like playing us, and even though the odds are relatively short, his movement could cause our young defenders plenty of problems.
Andreas Weimann to score at 4.75. He’s had a great season, and with the side looking more dangerous going forward, the price on offer represents decent value for someone who knows where the goal is.
Red Card given at 5.00. A bit of a left-field bet, but Aston Villa rather surprisingly have one of the worst disciplinary records in the league. With Fabian Delph likely to start and pretty much guaranteed at least a yellow card, I think this represents a good price.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester City (12.50)
City perspective: Ric Turner, Blue Moon MCFC
Brazilian defender Maicon has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury, and joins fellow right back Micah Richards on the treatment table, whilst captain Vincent Kompany is still struggling with a calf injury and may not be risked. Other than that, the Blues have a clean bill of health and no suspensions. Carlos Tevez is pushing for a recall after a superb goal last weekend, and Gareth Barry is available for selection again, but manager Roberto Mancini will be tempted to stick with the team that performed admirably against Chelsea.
The 2-0 victory against Rafa Benitez’s side arguably represented our best performance of a hit-and-miss season, and gives us confidence for the remainder of the campaign. Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia excelled in midfield, whilst Yaya Toure looked far more comfortable in an advanced role and capped off a fine performance with a superb individual goal. Sadly it’s too little, too late in terms of retaining the title but the Blues will be keen to ensure they finish second, with Spurs lurking menacingly.
Our overall record against Villa is good, with 66 victories and 40 draws out of the 162 games between the two clubs in all competitions. Earlier this season the Midlands side were comfortably dispatched 5-0 in the league, but Villa knocked City out of the League Cup last September. Villa Park has been a relatively happy hunting ground for City over recent years, with just two defeats in the last 11.
City to win at 1.47. Villa are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, but City’s tails will be up after the victory over Chelsea
Yaya Toure to score first at 7.50. The big midfielder could be playing in a more advanced role again, so this looks good value.
Sergio Aguero to score two or more at 5.50. The Argentine hasn't hit the heights of last season, but should relish the chance to test Villa's young backline.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 1-4 Man City (22.00)