Aston Villa will take some comfort in the two wins they’ve picked up in their last three league games, but I only see this fixture with Manchester City going one way. The new 3-4-3 formation which adopted by Villa has certainly solidified their defence, but it won’t be enough to keep City at bay.
The title may well be out of their grasp at this early stage, but Pep Guardiola’s side will continue to rip teams apart, with Aston Villa being one of them this weekend.
As you’d expect, they’re as short as 1/8 to win the game, but I really don’t see Dean Smith’s side causing City’s defence any problems.
Villa haven’t scored a single goal against them in their last four attempts, and were dealt a major blow on New Year’s Day with Wesley’s ACL injury. With McGinn on the sidelines too, Rodri and co simply have to thwart Grealish’s efforts and they should get a clean sheet. That’s why I’m backing Manchester City to Win to Nil @ 11/10.
There’s every chance that Raheem Sterling will be given a rest for this game, which should guarantee Riyad Mahrez a starting berth. The Algerian has five goals in 11 starts for the reigning champions but netted in the recent win over Manchester United, and I’m confident he will kick on now for the rest of the season. Every left-back in the country knows what Mahrez wants to do when he picks up the ball on the right-wing, but so many of them still can’t seem to stop it.
Matt Targett’s return to the Villa squad is a welcome bonus, but if there is any rust in his legs, Mahrez’s tantalising dribbles will simply be too much for him. Once he glides past Targett, he can bend it into the corner with his wand of a left boot, so I’m backing Riyad Mahrez to Score Anytime @ 5/4.
Villa have conceded an average of 18.3 shots per game this season, the single worst record in the Premier League. Against a clinical side like City, this really doesn’t make for good reading.
Belgian maestro Kevin De Bruyne is averaging three shots per game at the moment, and has seven goals in 19 league games. With Tom Heaton suffering a season-ending injury, De Bruyne will be very keen to test the gloves of Ørjan Nyland, so I’m backing Kevin De Bruyne to have two or more shots on target @ 13/8.
- City To Win to Nil @ 11/10
- Riyad Mahrez to Score Anytime @ 5/4
- Kevin De Bruyne to Have 2 or More Shots on Target @ 13/8