As we look ahead to our game with Aston Villa this weekend, one of their most popular players of the modern era has spoken to us to reveal ‘My City Nightmare XI’.

We chat to opposition legends and find out their most formidable sky blue team – created from the players they came up against.

Today, we hear from former claret and blue captain Stiliyan Petrov.


Stiliyan Petrov is one of the most popular players in Aston Villa history, having served them with great distinction during the exciting Martin O’Neill era and beyond.

Petrov became O’Neill’s first signing at Villa Park in September 2006 when he joined from Celtic in the Scottish Premier League.

He scored Villa’s Goal of the Season in 2007/08 with a blockbusting strike in the 6-0 defeat of Derby before picking up both Players and Supporters Player of the Year for his performances in 2008/09.

The following season saw him succeed Martin Laursen as captain as he led the team to their third successive sixth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League and also captained the side to a League Cup final and FA Cup semi-final.

His final season, 2011/12, also saw special moments, his goals against Sunderland, Everton and especially Chelsea proving to be vital ingredients in their successful battle to retain their top-flight status under Alex McLeish, who had succeeded Gerard Houllier.

His biggest test, though, was his battle with leukaemia that he started waging in March 2012, a fight he ultimately won, with big support from the football community.


Overall, he played 219 games and scored 12 goals for the Villans.

Petrov played against a host of fantastic City players during his time with Villa and here he selects ‘My City Nightmare XI’.



Joe Hart, I believe, is one of the best shot-stoppers in the game.

Joe makes himself big, especially in a lot of one-on-ones. He possesses great reactional skills. He is commanding.

He controls the game. He communicates with his defence. He is loud and is a perfect example of how to lead from the back.

FULL-BACKS: Pablo Zabaleta & Aleksandar Kolarov

Pablo and Aleks are similar.

They are both very energetic and possess exceptional stamina.

They can both deliver the ball in a perfect way. They play their natural positions and their transitions are ideal on the ball and off the ball.

CENTRE-BACKS: Richard Dunne & Vincent Kompany

Here we have two very experienced centre-halves in Richard Dunne and Vincent Kompany.

Both of them have great positional awareness. Their positional ability is very good. Both can read the game in a perfect way.

Both are not scared to tackle. Both have presence. 

And, importantly, they can go and head the ball. This is something in the modern game that you need – in your box and in the opposition box.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Gareth Barry & Patrick Vieira

I have got two central midfielders – Gareth Barry and Patrick Vieira.

Gareth Barry is a typical defensive midfielder, who has incredible work-rate.

He can anticipate the possession. He can anticipate the ball. He has an incredible technical close control. His range of passing can dictate the game.

Patrick Vieira is more a modern box-to-box player, who can attack and surprise the defence from deeper.

He has more energy and physicality to go up and down.


I’ve got the little magician in attacking central midfield.

David Silva possesses great vision and he has incredible ball control.

His passing ability is second-to-none. His ability to find space to break lines and to find the right possession and the right body shape can decide games in the final third.

LEFT WINGER : Martin Petrov
LEFT WINGER : Martin Petrov

WINGERS: James Milner & Martin Petrov

James Milner and Martin Petrov are both very aggressive.

They are willing to take people on. They are willing to stay wide and hug the lines.

Every time they have the opportunity, they make sure they pass the opposition and deliver incredible balls into the box.

STRIKER: Sergio Aguero

Up front we have the predator, Sergio Aguero.

I call him No.9 and False 9.

He can play these two positions in the same way. He’s really difficult for the opposition’s defence to mark because he’s always on the move.

He’s a mix of a big No.9 and a mobile, quick forward, in that he can hold the ball, he can run into channels but most importantly he will always find the goal.

He always moves into the right area where he can decide games.

MY CITY NIGHTMARE XI : Stiliyan Petrov
MY CITY NIGHTMARE XI : Stiliyan Petrov