The words Aston Villa and three points haven’t appeared in the same sentence very often this season. The Villains have only taken two points in their last seven away games and face Manuel Pellegrini’s side who have only lost once (to Chelsea) at home.
With Villa finding life on the road more taxing than listening to Joey Essex it’s hard to see anything other than a City win. But there are a couple of straws for the Villa faithful – and Liverpool fans – to clutch at.
Paul Lambert’s side have taken 10 of their 38 league points against the top four (won 3 and drawn 1), and have risen, very briefly, when the occasion demands it.
This included beating the Manchester moneybags 3-2 at Villa Park last September at a time when David Moyes was still the Chose One at Old Trafford and Spurs’ fans were wondering where the Gareth Bale transfer money had gone.
Liverpool fans may take some comfort that Sunderland began their Houdini act with a 2-2 draw at the Etihad four games back – but there could be more tears on Merseyside tonight if the City goal machine cranks into gear early doors.
There’s no value in the Citizens win-draw-win price of 1/6f but evens in the win to nil market is a bit more tempting. City have kept eight clean sheets in their 17 home games so far and their last three league wins against the Villains have all been without reply from the Birmingham side (0-1,5-0,0-1).
If Lambert intends to go for a win rather than just park the bus – that could leave Villa’s with a weaker defence than Max Clifford’s as City surge forward.
With 19 goals scored and just two conceded against the Midlanders in their last six home meetings – City fans will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s 5-0 win to calm their frayed nerves.
The Citizens are now the highest-scoring English team in history (150 goals in all competitions to date) and are just four goals shy of 100 Premier League strikes this season. Two more wins will also give them the best home record in the Premier League in 2013/14.
Sergio Aguero is absent but midfield rock Yaya Toure can become just the second central midfielder since Frank Lampard (22) to get 20 league goals in the Premier League.
Toure is the Citizens’ top scorer in the division this season and with Sergio Aguero absent will have licence to roam.
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