Manchester City play host to Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime as the Premier League returns to action.
Manchester City will be in high spirits after their 5-1 demolition of Atalanta on Tuesday night, sending them top of their Champions League group with three wins from three. Sergio Aguero bagged a brace and Raheem Sterling scored his second hat-trick of the campaign as City ran riot at the Etihad Stadium.
The Sky Blues will be aiming to put pressure on Liverpool in the title race and can move within three points of their rivals with a victory against Villa, before the Reds face Tottenham on Sunday.
Aston Villa will undoubtedly be in a confident mood as well, after their back-to-back victories over Brighton and Norwich. The newly-promoted visitors will be hoping that they can cause a huge upset this weekend, and will have been inspired by the shock results picked up by Norwich and Wolves against Manchester City this term.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 26 October|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||12:30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Etihad Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1|
Manchester City remain without long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte. However, Pep Guardiola also has a fresh injury to deal with as midfielder Rodri picked up a hamstring injury against Atalanta in midweek, perhaps sidelining the Spaniard for several weeks.
The better news for Guardiola is the return to fitness of Nicolas Otamendi, who had missed last weekend's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
For Aston Villa, Jota is still sidelined with a hernia and Wesley took a slight knock towards the end of Villa's 2-1 win against Brighton, but the Brazilian is likely to make the trip.
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy; Gundogan, De Bruyne, D.Silva, Sterling, Jesus, B.Silva.|
|Aston Villa||Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Nakamba, McGinn, Hourihane, El Ghazi, Wesley, Grealish.|
Head to Head Record
Manchester City and Aston Villa have played 38 times in Premier League history, with the reigning champions having the far superior record, winning on 22 occasions.
Villa have only won seven times against City, and were most recently beaten 4-0 at the Etihad back in March 2016.
Manchester City may already be six points adrift of Liverpool, but they have still shown sparkling form for the majority of the season. They have the equal most clean sheets in the division and have scored 29 goals in nine games, 14 more than Saturday's visitors.
Having said this, Man City did fall to defeat in their previous home outing, a surprising 2-0 defeat to an Adama Traore inspired Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions, with three victories to boast. Villa currently sit in 12th place in the Premier League table and are remarkably improved from their early season jitters.
|Manchester City||Aston Villa|
|Man City 5-1 Atalanta||Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton|
|Crystal Palace 0-2 Man City||Norwich 1-5 Aston Villa|
|Man City 0-2 Wolves||Aston Villa 2-2 Burnley|
|Man City 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb||Brighton 1-3 Aston Villa|
|Everton 1-3 Man City||Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa|
While Aston Villa have begun to grow back in to the Premier League, this may be a step too far. Travelling to the Etihad has been a task of incredible difficulty in recent seasons as Man City continue to assert their dominance on English football.
However, there is hope for Villa as their opponents on Saturday have had their fair share of defensive issues this campaign, with an unsettled back line caused by injury and inconsistency.
Manchester City will know that this is not an easy test, but, the champions are clear favourites. A return to winning ways at Selhurst Park in their previous game will have boosted their confidence to no end and the prospect of closing the gap at the summit of the Premier League will motivate them further.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa