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Is Aston Villa Ready to Tame Manchester City?

This Sunday’s Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Manchester City certainly has the makings of a decisive game in the outcome of the title race. With City’s stuttering away form over the last six weeks seeing them lose three times in the Premier League, would a defeat by Villa on Sunday represent a fatal blow to their title chances?

Clearly Villa this season have been playing a drab brand of football that can in truth explain their abject league position. This for a club of Villa’s stature is simply not good enough. The appointment of McLeish has divided many Villa fans and seven months on we are no nearer a consensus on his status. Nevertheless, Villa in spite of their patchy form, Villa has over the last month or so begun to deliver performances that should in truth have given them greater reward than they have accrued thus far. With players of the calibre of Bent, Ireland, Given and a rejuvenated Robbie Keane, Villa should pose some serious questions of a City rear-guard which has looked suspect over the last month or so. While accepting that the suspension to Kompany robbed them of their talisman for four games, this cannot explain the general malaise that has crept into City’s play in recent times. Gibson’s goal for Everton saw him standing on the halfway line with Richards prior to the goal, yet by the time he reached the edge of the box, Richards was strolling back to see his team concede.

As potent as City have been as an attacking force over the last month or so, Silva hasn’t been at his best nor has Aguero, while Dzeko hasn’t been firing on all cylinders for what seems like an age. This brings me to a certain Mr Tevez. If ever there was a time to call for the return of the gifted and mercurial Argentine, then Sunday would be the perfect opportunity for him to return as they have been lacking a spark that he could undoubtedly provide. Conversely, on the Villa side with Keane departing to sunnier parts in a few weeks, they need to make the most of his tactical nous while they still have him on board. Villa during their emphatic victory over Chelsea at the end of December demonstrated that they possess the qualities to challenge the strongest of Premier League teams, so why not adopt the same approach for City on Sunday?

With Ireland beginning to look like a player again after two years in the doldrums, what better place to showcase his obvious ability then against his former employers who cast him aside when the oil money was pumped into the club? With a solid structure Villa should now be aspiring to be where Newcastle are, on the brink of Champions League football. Yet, they are instead a few defeats away from being dragged into a relegation battle that a squad of their talent should be nowhere near. The time has come for Villa to illustrate that this season will not just be another confined to the past, forgotten in an instant. They now need to stand united and play a brand of football not like the puke football the home fans have been subjected to on many occasions this season. For the talent available to them their approach should be positive and if they adopt such a positive outlook to Sunday’s crucial encounter then by Sunday evening, perhaps the Villa supporters may be rejoicing on the appointment of Mr McLeish after all.

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  1. Mark

    February 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

    If angry Man Sh*tty fans could fly, this place would be an airport.

  2. scrumper

    February 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Mancini has a problem (nice one I grant him). If Silva doesn’t get enough of the ball to control midfield then City suffer. This happens everytime he plays Silva and Nasri together.

    I know they’ve missed Kompany but Silva makes it all happen.

  3. Mufc77

    February 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Should be a interesting game Sunday especially if utd get a good result on Saturday. While the pressure will increase Sunday they should have enough to beat villa without to much trouble. Villa is one if those teams that can come out and score 2-3 goals in the first half or they could concede 5 in the first 30 min.

    city have dealt with the pressure of being top all season but this will be a huge test for them, knowing they could potentialy lose top spot for the first time since mid oct might take it’s toll on some of the players. If ever they needed Kompany fit it’s this week as having your team leader on the pitch is vital.

  4. Garry Robinson

    February 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Wow, what a poor ‘column’. Where do I start. Ok,these are only my honest and hopefully objective opinions, Firstly how is it journalists in general(probably mostly) never say something akin to, ”Is this where City prove their worthiness to be champions?”.Always negative comments. Yourwords about Richards however do ring true. In seasons past this was always his problem. But for the rest on City’s attack, well Silva is still arguably the best player still , in the Premiership.I would have Aguero everytime as even when he doesn’t score he more than justifies his place with team play running off the ball, link-up play , chances produced and effort That certainly cannot be said of Dzeko, has he ever fired on all cylinders? Take the Spurs game out of the eqation and the two he got at United (where he had the opportunity to score 3 others that he miserably squandered !) his scoring rate is not what you would hope for in a striker that cost what he did and the trouble it took to get him. He does not have a good first touch , his passing is at times apalling, average at best, he certainly does not hold the ball up well, and you could not accuse him of great speed or for that matter chasing the ball down. I think he has broken down City moves more than the opposition has. Harsh you may say.Just my opinion. Granted City have not been so prolific lately,down to poor play or the opposition getting so many behind the ball and stifling them? Lets get onto Tevez.I realise it probably was a tongue in cheek comment, but how do you suggest getting him back for Sunday??? He has not been at City since Sept(?). Also there is not a snowballs chance…that he would be anywhere near fit.How many times has he been ready at the start of a campaign? So how could he possibly be ready after 4-5 months without a competative game?
    Ireland, obvious talent? Never known a more inconsistant player or would that be his consistancy?Disguarded when City came into money? No, he was let go for many reasons , Milner coming City’s way partly I understand due to his own overinflated opinion of his abilities.Even then he was whining about a 2 million loyalty payment, then roundly slagging City off. He was heard to mention about Milner, ‘Grass is greener , and in for a shock’. Yeah Stephen lets look at things now. Almost off-loaded to Newcastle, then on return warned by his next manager McLeish to buck up his ideas. Now how many times has that happened to him? Much as ‘you lot’ love mentioning City’s wealth it would be better for you to mention that even before that he had not nailed down his own place in the squad also his attitude was not far from petulent when he didn’t get his own way. His performances in latter days at City were not consistant . So to say the influx of money was the crucial time for Ireland is rubbish.Funny when he got there Houlier dropped him…why? Same old, same old…his committment.Not to mention his off-field antics . Go on you can mention Balotelli ha ha . He would make a difference if only he spent more time on the pitch than in the papers 🙂

  5. Nonsense

    February 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

    In a word….no

    Only my opinion, we’ll see.

  6. Gary

    February 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Villa still has problems at the back and teams will always score against them. Unless they tighten up at the back I don’t see Villa beating teams like City that have a good defensive record themselves. Villa will find it difficult to score more goals than they let in against better opposition.

  7. Harold

    February 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I stopped reading when I got to the suggestion of Tevez being recalled for the game this weekend. Bringing a player back who has been sitting on another continent for months, not training or hardly kicking a ball is not the answer. City are badly missing Yaya Toure. Unfortunately Villa are so poor under McLeish I don’t know if they will be able to capitalize on this. I can see City dropping 2 points this weekend, but not 3

  8. Christian

    February 9, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Wow, just wow. Asking for Tevez to come back. Wow. Silva and Aguero not at their best? Perhaps they should have scored more goals against Fulham last week right? City fully destroyed them and that was without Kompany.

    Everton is a club City has historically struggled against so the loss there is hardly a surprise and good on them that they played City as well as they did. The top of the table clubs all struggled during the holiday season. I’ll admit some concern to losing out on the FA Cup, especially to United but the league title is far more important this season.

    I’m really not sure what people expect out of City. Because they began the season with such a flourish I guess they had to maintain that throughout the campaign right? Tevez flakes out, Dzeko’s inconsistencies, Nasri looking to fit in, Balotelli being a madman, Kompany’s suspension, Toure brothers away the majority of January into February, et. all and the club is still in first.

    Yet consistently this site questions their merit and determination. Gaffer will follow this up with his ‘here’s a link to a positive City story’ or ‘feel free to submit your own story’, which is all good and well but honestly at this point I really question the editorial bias of this site. The podcast is great and you have a nice balance of supporters on there but the website is constant in it’s City criticism. While it would be far more interesting to question them critically and with some objectivity I feel that the stories are written from a far more cynical point of view.

    All just my opinion but it would be nice to see a little more balance or at least not a constant negative approach to the table leader.

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