Pep Guardiola and his Man City charges will focus on football when they welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday at 16:30 GMT, even as they are mired in headline-catching investigations by the Premier League for numerous alleged breaches of financial fair play.
Pep will be looking to bounce back from the tame reverse at the Tottenham Stadium last week and get their title charge back on track.
Aston Villa will look to continue their renaissance under Unai Emery by claiming a win away to the Etihad on Sunday.
Off-Pitch Issues and City’s Inconsistency
With the Premier League launching a stunning investigation into Man City and their alleged numerous FFP breaches, the spotlight will be firmly on Man City on Sunday as Pep Guardiola’s men try to put all the off-pitch headlines out of their heads and concentrate on football and their title defense.
The defense of their title has not gone swimmingly this season, up against a fine Arsenal side setting the pace at the top of the table.
This was demonstrated further by Man City’s 1-0 reverse at Tottenham, failing to capitalize on Arsenal’s loss away to Goodison Park.
The clash with Aston Villa will be a chance for Man City to bounce back and get their momentum back in the second half of the season.
Bouncing Back to Winning Ways for Emery’s Charges
Unai Emery’s revival at Aston Villa got a reality check last week when his side were well beaten at home 2-4 by Leicester. It is the only defeat for Villa in their last five assignments, demonstrating both their revival and the need to keep going.
Emery’s men are 11th on the table with 28 points, 1o points above the drop zone. Emery will be looking to continue his side’s fine vein of form when they meet City on Sunday.
Aston Villa will also seek to avoid two consecutive defeats in the league; a win at the Etihad will be a fine statement of intent from the Villa Park side, and will augur well with their bid to crack the top half of the table.
Apart from the suspended Benjamin Mendy, Man City, and Pep Guardiola will have access to the full complement of their squad ahead of the clash with Aston Villa.
Unai Emery will be without the services of center-back Diego Carlos; the 29-year-old defender has been sidelined with an Achilles tendon rupture since august 11th, 2922. He is expected to be back fit by March 12th, 2023.
Villa will also be without left-back Lucas Digne with a shoulder injury. The 29-year-old fullback has missed 3 matches for Aston Villa since January 13th.
Bertrand Traore (knee injury) is also missing from the selection roster at Villa Park as he has been out since December 28th with a knee problem.
Ederson; R. Lewis, N. Ake, M. Akanji, K. Walker; J. Grealish, B. Silva, Rodri, R. Mahrez; E Haaland, J. Alvarez
D. Martinez; A. Young, E. Konsa, T. Mings, L. Digne; J. Ramsey, B. Kamara, D. Luiz, E. Buendia; L. Bailey, O. Watkins
Man City will look to dominate the ball and possession while setting the match’s tempo. Guardiola will expect his side to make a fast start to the match and dictate proceedings in front of the home fans.
Aston Villa will seek to remain patient and compact. Unai emery will set his side up to be disciplined, defend with a low bloc, but be brave when in possession to move the ball through the Man City defense.
Man City will have too much for Aston Villa; they will win the match and take the three points on offer.
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