Man City v Aston Villa Preview 2016
There’s little to be cheerful about ahead of a match like this, even if the hosts are in bad form.
Villa continue to surprise even the most optimistic of fans who find themselves facing new levels of disappointment with each passing week.
Add to that Garde’s press conference walk-out and things look pretty bad, but football is always capable of springing a surprise…
Sergio Agüero has scored four times during his last three league matches against Villa
Garde on Man City
“Hopefully we will prove once again, as we did in the home game against City, that football doesn’t always go as predicted.
“If we can get the first goal I feel my players will gain the necessary confidence from that. We have 10 games to go. I have to adapt knowing that we need to win games.”
“We are now coming into games against teams at the top of the table at the end of the season, which is not a good thing because points are crucial for them as well as us.
“But in football you never know. Sometimes games are going in a way that no one has expected before.
“We must ensure we are not focused too much on our opponents – we have to focus on what we can improve and what we can do.
“I said to them [the players] that in difficult situations like this one we have to stick all together. This is the first thing we have to do – and if we don’t do this, we have no chance.
“It’s already very difficult outside the changing room and I don’t want anyone in the group to add problems within us. We will stick together and look to win the next game.”
Pellegrini on Villa
“It must be [a win] because we play at home against a team that is not in a good position – the worst position in the Premier League – but I think the worst mistake we can make is to think we have already won the game.
“We must concentrate and try not to make mistakes. All the teams in the relegation positions are difficult because they try to win in any way. I hope we recover our performance and win three points.”
25 Apr 2015 Man City 3 Villa 2.
Despite an early mistake from Guzan, Villa staged a brave comeback – until a last minute winner from Fernandinho.
Man City – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Villa – Last five matches away: D 1, L 4
Villa have lost each game during the last five encounters at the Etihad.
One to Watch
Sergio Agüero – Despite scoring just once in his last eight league appearances, he’s managed to bag four goals in his last three league matches against Villa.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Just under a year ago, Villa went to the Etihad with Tim Sherwood at the helm and almost came away with a point – even edging the possession stats.
It’s a different situation now though and it looks a complete mismatch on paper.
Of course you never know what’s going to happen when it’s 11 v 11 but we’ve lost seven of the last nine league meetings against Man City, and given our away performances against teams in the bottom 10, the omens aren’t good.
Incredibly, City have won EIGHT successive home matches against Villa in the League since 2007, while Villa haven’t scored in six of the eight last league encounters. Optimistic yet?
As we’re struggling to beat teams like Everton and Liverpool (as well as losing heavily in the process) it’s difficult to envision anything other than a rout at the hands of Pellegrini’s side.
If Villa, who have lost three successive league games, were to get a win, it would go against all logic, quite frankly. Another home loss for Man City would make it five home losses this season, and that amount is as many as they recorded in the last four seasons combined.
That stat shows how standards have dropped for City this season, and you can bet they’ll be like a wounded animal against Villa.
since 2007, City have won EIGHT successive home matches against Villa in the League
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
If you read the news on Villa, it’s difficult to know quite what to believe. Is there a divide in the squad? Do the players expect Garde to leave this season? Who knows.
What we do know is that the players have not performed, and in some respects, it’s a little hard to comprehend.
The last time we faced City we saw a hat-trick from a fairly unproven City player, Kelechi Iheanacho, which shows you how fragile Villa’s confidence is.
Our sometime-captain Micah Richards will make his 200th league appearances if he faces Man City tomorrow (179 of those were for his previous employers).
Hopefully Micah puts in the kind of performance that saw him a one-time regular in the City side – along with the rest of Villa’s experienced players.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Is this the best time to play Man City? Quite possibly. Villa’s woes shouldn’t distract from the fact City have lost three league games in a row for the first time since 2008.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Pellegrini is on his way out, but City’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in week shows that something’s going wrong.
Omens can sometimes have considerable significance in the world of football, so here’s something for Villa fans to cling to. The last time they lost four in a row in the aforementioned 2008/09 season, the fourth opponent was Villa, who beat City 4-2!
Surely that’s too strange to ignore, and if we’ve held City to a draw once under Garde (albeit at home), there’s always a chance of a miracle.
It’s easy to be sceptical of the clichéd soundbites that come from the Villa camp, the “we have to believe” type interviews from players that are a weekly occurrence.
Whether they’re resigned to relegation or not, it must surely be affecting their professional pride. There will surely be one more win this season, so why not end our Premier League ever-present era with a few shock wins?
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