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Match Day 12 Preview: City @ Aston Villa

City take a trip to the Midlands to face an unexpected team at the bottom of the table, Aston Villa

David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester City face an Aston Villa side who are free falling into relegation with no parachute in sight. Villa have only won victory this season, which came in their first match of the campaign, and have recently fired Tim Sherwood and brought in French gaffer Remi Gardé. Gardé last managed Lyon until the end of the 2013-2014 season, but in his first full match as manager for Villa, has a mountain of work on his hands. It's a plus for Villa fans that Gardé did win his first match with Lyon in 2011, 3-1 against Nice.

City on the other hand, come into Sunday's match high off of a convincing victory against Sevilla in Champions League play, and would love to enter the international break on top of the league heading towards the crucial holi day fixture congestion.

City will once again be without the services of David Silva and Sergio Aguero. However, Gael Clichy and former Villa standout Fabian Delph are healthy and expected to be on the squad. This is Delph's first game against Villa since leaving the club in a rather dubious fashion and will likely be well received when he takes the pitch at Villa Park. Kevin De Bruyne, who sat on the bench to start the match against Sevilla is likely to be in a starting place, Wilfred Bony is undoubtedly a shoe in to start up top.

This is a match City should win easily. Manuel Pellegrini is quite aware of the pitfalls of playing for a desperate team, and stated that Villa players would be looking to impress their new manager against the Blues, "Always when you have a new manager, you have some reaction. They're at the bottom, they have a new manager, so they have the motivation not to be relegated. It will be a tough game."

For a history of the two well linked clubs, click here.

Tidbits (via FourFourTwo):

Former City players Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair are expected to play Sunday.

Manchester City have won seven and lost one of the last eight Barclays Premier League games against Aston Villa.

The Villans have failed to score in five of the last seven league meetings with the Citizens.