It’s been an up and down week at Villa Park with the sudden high at the return of Christian Benteke after six months absence because of a ruptured Achilles. Followed by the nasty news that fellow striker Libor Kozak was to have another operation on his broken leg.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart will play his 300th game for the club if selected and City will also be strengthened with the return of the tireless midfielder Fernando.
According to the bookmakers this should be another easy win for the reigning premier league champions but with their below average performances this season and with the possibility of a European hangover, Villa could spring a nice little surprise come Saturday evening.
Surprisingly with no Ron Vlarr, centre back partner Phillipe Senderos has been in superb form at the heart of the defence for Villa and will be hoping for another clean sheet and with the speed of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann they will no doubt be playing on the counter attack. On the other hand City have only won one of seven away games after a European tie, so Manual Pellegrini’s men will be hoping to change that stat and come away with all three points. The game will be either a high scoring City win or a low scoring Villa scalp. Maybe both teams would be happy to walk away with a draw.
City will expect a lot of ball possession and with their skill and overall strength to scored five or six against any opposition, a win will bring them within two points of the top spot but a loss this weekend will leave the citizens possibly eight points behind Chelsea.
Villa is in the middle of a horrid set of fixtures with two defeats from Arsenal and Chelsea, Paul Lambert’s men will be looking to stop the rot and add to those 10 points earned by those early season wins. A win for the villains would push them back into the top four but a loss could leave them stuck in mid table.
Players to watch
Christian Benteke: The return from injury will be the biggest boost for the fans, the players and the manager. Since his arrival two seasons ago, the Belgian as been Villa’s top marksman and undoubtedly kept them in the Premier League single headedly. His strength and power in the penalty box will give Vincent Kompany and co a long and tiring afternoon.
Frank Lampard: Since the former England international ‘s controversial loan back to the Premier League, Lampard has been under the spotlight. He could have easily come back and played a non-part of City’s season but his recent performances from the bench have changed a number of results and shown he is a real professional. The 36-year-old’s impact against his former club Chelsea just shows his goal scoring talents have not left his legs. If he starts or comes off the bench, watch out for Lampard’s late runs into the box and finishing power.
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