Men's Team

De Bruyne returns for Aston Villa test as City make one change

De Bruyne returns for Aston Villa test as City make one change
Kevin De Bruyne is back in the Manchester City starting lineup for today’s game at Aston Villa.

The midfielder started Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest on the bench, before making an appearance in the second half.

Julian Alvarez, who scored two in a sensational performance against Forest, is the man to make way.

That’s the only change Pep Guardiola has made to his starting XI for today’s game, with Nathan Ake returning to the bench after missing our last two games through injury.


Aston Villa

Starting XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, McGinn, Kamara, Douglas Luiz, J. Ramsey, Watkins, Bailey

Subs: Olsen, Chambers, Bednarek, Augustinsson, Young, Coutinho, Buendia, Archer, Ings


Starting XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Ake, Grealish, Alvarez, Gomez, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand


It’s 4-3-3 for City at Villa Park, the formation which has formed the bedrock of our recent domination of English football.

Ederson is in goal, with his outstanding distribution a key facet in City's build-up play. John Stones, who has been superb in our last two matches, starts alongside Ruben Dias at centre-half in what will be the England man's 200th appearance for City. 

Kyle Walker will look to get forward from right-back at every possibility, as will Joao Cancelo down the left. Indeed, Cancelo's outstanding ability going forward was in evidence on Wednesday when he scored a powerful long-range effort against Nottingham Forest. 

Our midfield three has a little bit of everything. Rodri will play as a holding midfielder, protecting our back four. His ability to be in the right place at the right time continues to amaze.

And just ahead of him are Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, two of the finest passers in the Premier League. They will pull the strings and look to provide chances for our forward three. 

Erling Haaland will lead the line, fresh from two hat-tricks in the space of five days, with Phil Foden to his left and Bernardo Silva on the right. 

It's a side full of quality. 

Our principles are simple: keep the ball as much as possible and win it back quickly when we lose it. 

Premier League
1 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 29 23 3 3 70 27 43 72 WWWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 28 20 4 4 71 26 45 64 WDWWW
3 Manchester United FC Manchester United Man United 26 15 5 6 41 35 6 50 DWWLD
Last updated: 1 April 2023

The Haaland Effect 

The can be little doubt Erling Haaland has had a significant impact on this City side. 

Nine goals already - a record in the competition after five games - including two hat-tricks in his last two appearances is an incredible return at this stage. 

City now have a huge physical presence in the central striker role, with his pace and power adding a new dimension to a team that has won four of the last five Premier League titles. 

It's exciting times. 

Pep on Villa

“It’s more dangerous right now.

“I would prefer Aston Villa to be in a better position in the table. Always they are difficult but tomorrow will be more difficult for the fact they have won one game.

"The quality is there with the manager but with the players. They add Dendoncker and Bednarek, two experienced players.

"I cannot imagine how tough it will be."

Match stats


Aston Villa are winless in their last 11 Premier League meetings with Manchester City (D1 L10), losing each of the last seven by an aggregate score of 22-5.

Manchester City have won 14 of their last 16 Premier League games against Aston Villa (D1 L1), with their only defeat in this run coming in September 2013 at Villa Park (2-3).

Aston Villa have lost 15 of their last 16 Premier League games against reigning champions, with the exception being a 7-2 victory over Liverpool in October 2020. Their seven goals in that game account for almost half the goals they have scored in those 16 games (7/15).

Against no side have Manchester City won more Premier League games than they have against Aston Villa (28), while only against Newcastle (95) have the Citizens scored more goals than they have against the Villans (90).

Aston Villa

Aston Villa have lost four of their opening five Premier League matches in a season for the first time since 1997-98 (also 4). Villa have only lost as many as five of their first six matches in two previous top-flight campaigns: 1919-20 and 1986-87 (both 5).

In 2022, the only current Premier League side to lose more top-flight games than Aston Villa (13) are Everton (15). Since a run of three wins in a row in February and March, the Villans have won three of 16 league games (D3 L10).

Aston Villa have won four of their last five Premier League matches in the month of September (L1), keeping a clean sheet in all four wins, including their last such match in 2021 against Manchester United (1-0).

Manchester City

Manchester City remain unbeaten in their last 20 away games in the Premier League (W15 D5). In the competition’s history, there have only been four occasions of a longer such run: Liverpool (21 in Feb 2020), Arsenal twice (23 in Sep 2002, 27 in Sep 2004) and Manchester United (29 in Sep 2021).

Manchester City have scored 19 goals in their opening five Premier League matches this season, their most ever at this stage of a league season. Only twice have they scored 20+ goals in their opening six league games, scoring 21 in 2017-18 and 24 in 2019-20, both under Pep Guardiola.

Erling Haaland has scored nine goals in his first five Premier League appearances for Manchester City, a record for a player in their first five games in the competition. The fastest a player has scored 10 goals is six matches, set by Mick Quinn back in December 1992. He is also looking to become the first ever player to score a hat-trick in three consecutive Premier League appearances.

Erling Haaland has scored three goals in his two Premier League away games so far, netting twice at West Ham and once at Newcastle. Only four players have ever scored in their first three on the road in the competition – Peter Beardsley, Jürgen Klinsmann, Francesco Baiano and Alen Boksic.