Media Watch

Media Watch: City tracking Villa ace?

City are back in Premier League action today as we travel to Aston Villa looking to maintain our perfect start to 2020.

There’s no lack of coverage in the media with predictions aplenty, more thoughts from Villa boss Dean Smith as well as a look at what could be a potentially defining period in the game.

And despite Pep Guardiola’s repeated assertion that we will not be doing any business in the near future, there’s yet more transfer gossip surrounding City.

As ever, a pinch of salt is needed….

Opposition view

fourfourtwo.comVilla boss lauds Guardiola

"Villa boss Dean Smith has again reiterated his admiration for City counterpart Pep Guardiola ahead of today’s Villa Park encounter.

He said: “They are some team. I love watching them. After we beat Burnley I went to watch them against Everton and we all saw what they did against Manchester United.

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“Pep is an unbelievable coach. What Jurgen Klopp’s doing this season is incredible but they’re (City) doing it week in, week out.

“They have tremendous players with a tremendous coach. Some players may be coming to the end of an era at that club but it grows their players very quickly into how they want to be.

“They never lose sight of their style and what they stand for.”

Analysis 

Manchester Evening NewsThe 10 minutes that could decide Villa v City

Simon Bajkowski: "Manchester City can win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since the beginning of November when they take on Aston Villa.

"Pep Guardiola's champions are heavy favourites against the newcomers, who are in a relegation battle with 21 points from their 21 games going into this encounter.

"One thing apparent from this season is how significant the last 10 minutes have been to both teams.

“No side has scored more in the final stretch of the game than Guardiola's Blues. Kyle Walker's 86th minute winner against Southampton and Kevin De Bruyne's wonder strike at Newcastle are among the 10 goals that have helped City finish matches strongly.

“In contrast, no side has conceded more than Aston Villa's nine in the final 10 minutes. The Midlands side have dropped points against Tottenham, Arsenal, Burnley, Liverpool and Wolves as a result of their inability to control the end of matches.

“City will hope that they have the game won by the 80th minute, but Guardiola will make sure his team play until the last whistle regardless knowing the opportunities that could open up.”

Predictions

skysports.comCharlie Nicholas’s prediction

“I don't see any real issues for Manchester City in this one. They were strong at Old Trafford, and that was without Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero in the starting line-up. 

“Just watching Raheem Sterling, he could have had a hat-trick against Man Utd. Someone is going to take a thumping and get hurt soon, and I have a feeling it is going to be this weekend for Aston Villa. They may be back in the groove - Aymeric Laporte is back in training and Sergio Aguero is fit and ready, so they are starting to look like they will kick on.

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“We are into the New Year now and City will want to close the gap as well as progressing in the Champions League. Kevin De Bruyne has been up there with Sadio Mane this campaign. What a player he has been. I think Villa be on the wrong end of a hiding.”

Prediction: 0-5

Betvictor.comMichael Owen’s prediction

“Aston Villa picked up a much-needed three points at Turf Moor in their last league game; a victory which saw them move out of the relegation places, but it is hard to see them getting anything from the visit of Manchester City.

“City won the reverse game 3-0 at the Etihad back in October and have picked up 19 points against Villa in the last seven Premier League games between the sides. I would be surprised if Villa were able to buck that trend at Villa Park.”

Prediction: City win and both sides to score

Transfer gossip

Metro.co.ukCity keen on Villa ace?

Sean Kearns: “Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester City with Pep Guardiola already planning for next season at the Etihad, Metro.co.uk understands. 

“City could make up to five signings as Guardiola plots a similar level of incomings as was seen during his second summer in charge, when five new players arrived.

“A centre-back is considered a priority but Guardiola is similarly keen to sign a box-to-box midfielder and Metro.co.uk can reveal that Grealish is under serious consideration. Guardiola was impressed by Grealish in City’s 3-0 win against Villa in October.

“The 24-year-old was given an advanced position on the left of midfield and though it was a difficult day for Villa, Guardiola noted Grealish’s willingness to take the ball in difficult situations and his ability to break the press. Guardiola praised Grealish after the match, describing him as ‘incredible’ but claiming he was ‘too expensive’ for City.

Guardiola will get another chance to see Grealish in action when his City side face Villa on Sunday and he’ll no doubt be looking to impress again as Dean Smith’s side bid for survival.”

Sportsmole.co.ukCity in ‘pole position for Lyon ace

Matt Law: “Manchester City are reportedly at the head of the queue for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.

“The 21-year-old came through the youth system at Lyon and has made 119 appearances for the French giants in all competitions, contributing 20 goals and 22 assists in the process.

“A number of clubs, including Real Madrid, are thought to be admirers of the France Under-21 international, who has scored five times in 23 appearances at club level this season.

“However, according to Calciomercato, the Premier League champions are in pole position to sign the midfielder either in January or at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

“The report claims that Juventus are also showing an interest in a player who is thought to be valued in the region of £68m by his Ligue 1 club.”

That’s all for this morning’s Media Watch – but stay with us as we bring you full coverage of our trip against Aston Villa.

There will be LIVE minute-by-minute text updates in our Matchday Centre so be sure to join us from 2.30pm.

Mancity.com

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