Aston Villa - Manchester City

Last minute defeat against Blackburn (1-2 on the road) ended Villa’s six-match winning streak in all competitions. Despite the good results lately, the Villans face the same problems as usual, that means ambitions (brake in the top four of English football) and real capabilities (team for 6-7 place). Currently they have two major problems. Strong defence line brings the advantage for the set pieces, but they’re also very slow and always have a lots of problems against fast players. Other problem is a ball transition. Midfield line is tireless, but lack in creativity which cause the strikers are usually cut off from the play. Steve Sidwell has recovered (not fully fit though) and his duty will be a final pass to Agbonlahor and Heskey (more likely than Carew). Attacking line is the strongest weapon. Gabby Agbonlahor has been playing in a great shape, has scored in last four games and deserved Capello’s call for a national team. However, his play will depend from mentioned passing from midfield. Luke Young is unlikely to start his season as he builds up his fitness. Villa have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (five).

Considering players individual qualities, City probably have the best squad in League. £200m summer outlay brought a league start over the expectations. Five wins and unlucky defeat against city rivals from opening six rounds. Mark Hughes is doing a great work and only question is are they capable to keep this pace. Their weakest link is defence line, also. Micah Richards on right flank, despite his obvious talent, lacks in concentration and sometimes makes a mess in front the goal (two goals against United were a result of that). Toure and Lescott maybe worth invested money in them, but they as a central duo need some time playing together to achieve safety in back line. However, I don’t expect City will attack in waves and they’ll have a help from midfield. And here we come to the main advantage for Sky Blue’s. Wright-Phillips, Barry, Ireland (second most important player in the team) and Petrov should make the advantage in midfield and feed with balls their attackers. Emmanuel Adebayor (first most important player) who has scored in all four of his league matches for City returned to the team and will be the main threat. Bellamy and Tevez have been playing in a great shape and the question is who will stay on the bench tonight (I guess Tevez). 

Despite the both teams have a great attacking force, I don’t expect an open game from the start. One point shouldn’t be a failure for both sides. Villa will wait for some set piece, City for some run on the wing or Ireland’s piece of magic. I think visitors are closer to win here, but cover a draw. 1.84 at Pinnacle

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