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Villama Preview: Manchester City v Aston Villa

Aston Villa travel Manchester to take account of Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut. With Manchester City distracted by off the field indiscretions, it’s all fair play as Aston Villa look to take advantage.

It was a stunning loss to Leicester City, one in which few played well aside from Emi Buendia, but let’s move on to more current and pressing issues. Villa travel north to Manchester this weekend. Manchester City, a club currently beset with allegations of violating Financial Fair Play, will be a distracted (hopefully) and massively talented (definitely) outfit. Their last match, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, was a 1-0 loss to a 10-man Spurs. Prior league excursions faired better, with a 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium that proceeded another Etihad win over Spurs by a score of 4-2.

The entire squad, or close to it, could qualify as “players to look out for”, but you’re obviously going to want to watch Erling Haaland at striker. Midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish also merit attention. A few changes can be expected following last week’s 4-2 loss, but not many. Emi Martinez returns in goal with the center-back partnership of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza in tow. Flanking them will be Alex Moreno to the left and Matty Cash to the right. I’m far more confident in playing Moreno over Lucas Digne than I am starting Cash. City is a match where having someone as experienced as Young is an asset, but I’m not sure how much longer you can sit Cash on the bench. It’s a tough call, a toss-up, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Young listed as the starter on Sunday’s team sheet. In defensive midfield, Boubacar Kamara shakes off a stinker of a performance against the Foxes to partner with Douglas Luiz. To their left will be Emi Buendia and, coming back from injury, John McGinn on the right. Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey will partner at striker. Hopefully we’ll get to see some Jhon Duran as well.

PREDICTION: City should be distracted, but “should be” and “will be” are two different things. I think Aston Villa plays well, Boubacar Kamara gets back on track, but it isn’t quite enough. 2-1 to City.

Aston Villa Training and Press Conference
Ashley Young has certainly been favoured for the starting right-back spot under Unai Emery, but should Matty Cash be given a chance against the defending champions?
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images