|Manchester City will move within three points of Arsenal if they beat Aston Villa at the Etihad on Sunday, is there anything Villa can do to stop them? (Photo credit: Inside Sport)|
Manchester City missed a golden opportunity to get closer to Arsenal last weekend, matching the Gunners’ loss to Everton by recording an identical result at Tottenham, now they have another one, will they take it?
Talks of unrest in the City team has been laid to rest by the manager as he reiterates his decision to stay at the Etihad in the wake of the dramatic FA charges of corruption against the club. The assurances given by Pep can help his team to fire on all cylinders.
Aston Villa lost at home to Leicester City last weekend and will hope to be spoilers for the champions when they visit the Etihad on Sunday; the last game of last season comes to mind with City eventually overcoming the Villa adversity to become champions.
There’s so much quality in the Villa side, while man for man in all positions you can easily confirm the superiority of the hosts but Villa isn’t too far away in that regard. Unai Emery lost every game he played against City as an Arsenal manager, can he change that story here?
Riyad Mahrez seems to be the leading light on the wings for City, he’s played more games this season than he did in the past and he will be key on Sunday. Erling Haaland is the first name on the sheet but he blanked at Tottenham, he hardly goes two games without a goal.
Villa can rely on Ollie Watkins’ industry and the trickery of Leon Bailley. Emi Buendia has been preferred in the hole behind the strikers while Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz are the chosen ones in the middle of the park, can they subdue Rodri?
City’s champions league engagement will wait another week as they will be taking on Arsenal on Wednesday in a game that could be the title decider as early as mid-February. If the champions record three points against Villa, a win against Arsenal means they go level on points with the Gunners.
Villa can stop City, they have beaten Tottenham this season and recorded strong result in hopeless games but they will have to stay disciplined, avoid unnecessary bookings and stay composed, they’re the least favorite in this game.