Men's Team

City make three changes for trip to Villa, Grealish and Foden on bench

City make three changes for trip to Villa, Grealish and Foden on bench
City make three changes for tonight’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa with Nathan Ake, Oleks Zinchenko and Fernandinho all coming into the starting line-up.

England duo Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have recovered from injury and are both named amongst the substitutes.

Grealish has been injured since the November international break, while Foden was forced to miss the wins over Paris Saint-Germain and West Ham.

However, having returned to training earlier this week, the England internationals are named on the bench.

From the side that started Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Ham, Aymeric Laporte is ruled out by suspension while Ilkay Gundogan and Kyle Walker are both unavailable and haven’t travelled to Birmingham.

Kevin De Bruyne is again absent, having been ruled out of selection for the past few weeks after having tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of the November international break, while John Stones is also unavailable tonight.

TEAMS

CITY: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (c), Rodri, Bernardo, Sterling, Jesus, Mahrez
Subs: Steffen, Carson, Mbete, Foden, Grealish, Palmer, McAtee, Lavia, Wilson-Esbrand

ASTON VILLA: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings (c), Targett, McGinn, Nakamba, Douglas Luiz, Buendia, Watkins, Bailey
Subs: Steer, Hause, Tuanzebe, A Young, Sanson, J Ramsey, Chukwuemeka, El Ghazi, Davis

WATCH: Aston Villa v City: Top five goals

Formation

It looks as though City will opt for our 4-3-3 formation though with the usual caveat that such is the flexibility and quality within Pep Guardiola’s squad, our formation could be fluid throughout.

Protecting Ederson – who is one clean sheet away from a century of City shut-outs - in goal is likely to be a back four of right back Joao Cancelo, centre backs Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake with Oleks Zinchenko at left back.

Skipper Fernandinho is set to be deployed in the holding midfield role with Rodrigo and Bernardo also in the engine room.

Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez will most likely form the attacking triumvirate with Jesus potentially the central focal point.

As ever, all will be revealed come kick-off at 8.15pm!

30 Somethings

There will be no lack of extra incentive for Guardiola’s side this evening.

After enjoying a perfect November, City will step out at Villa Park seeking a sixth consecutive win in all competitions to help us maintain our quest to retain the Premier League crown

WATCH: Humble Grealish a good dressing room addition

Furthermore, City need one win to equal our top-flight club record of 30 victories in a calendar year, which we set in both 2017 and 2019.

It won’t be easy against a Villa side which has been re-energised following the arrival of Steven Gerrard as manager.

But City have looked in superb form over the past few weeks thanks to a series of bravura displays – here’s hoping we can maintain that forward momentum!

Facts and Stats

Head-to-head

• City have won the past seven meetings in all competitions, scoring 23 goals and conceding only three.
• A 0-0 league draw at Villa Park in November 2015 is the only time City have failed to win in 11 meetings since a 3-2 top-flight away defeat in 2013.

City

• City are on a five-match winning streak in all competitions.
• We need one win to equal their top-flight club record of 30 in a calendar year, set in both 2017 and 2019.
• City have lost 26% of their Premier League games in December - eight of 31 - under Pep Guardiola. It's our worst record in any month of a standard season.
• However, we're on a run of 15 successive league victories in matches played on a Wednesday since a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City on Boxing Day 2018.
• Raheem Sterling is two goals short of becoming the 32nd player to score 100 Premier League goals.
• Ilkay Gundogan has created 19 chances for City in the Premier League this season, a tally only Jack Grealish can better (26).
Jack Grealish scored 32 goals and provided 43 assists in 213 appearances for Aston Villa.
• City haven’t lost any of their last nine matches in all competitions in the month of December (W6 D3). Across those nine games they scored 15 goals and conceded only two.
Ederson’s next clean sheet will be his 100th for the Club.

Aston Villa

• Steven Gerrard could become the first manager to win his opening three top-flight games in charge of Aston Villa.
• No Villa manager has remained unbeaten in his first three top-flight fixtures since Alex McLeish started with two wins and five draws in 2011.
• Villa can win three consecutive league matches for the first time since they began last season with four straight victories.
• They are vying to beat the reigning league champions in consecutive seasons at Villa Park for the first time since 1975-76 and 1976-77.
• The West Midlands side have scored 14 of their 18 Premier League goals this season in the second half, including six from the 82nd minute onwards.
• John McGinn has already equalled his final goal tally of three in each of his two previous Premier League seasons.

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