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Match Preview: City vs Aston Villa

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Even after all that's happened, City could be in second place by the end of the weekend.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Coming off of last week's victory against West Ham, Manchester City find themselves two points off of second place, and with a lot less pressure coming into Saturday's match against Aston Villa. With a handful of injuries, and even more episodic adventures of Yaya Toure and agent co-star Dimitri Seluk, the week has not lacked without its now customary eventfulness. But, there's a match to be played.

It seems as if the rhythm that was lost between midfield and forwards was rekindled last Saturday, and that synergy can only be enhanced in The Etihad against Villa. Having won six out of the last seven meetings against The Villains, City looks to secure their place as the campaign begins to see its way out. Missing key components in Captain Vincent Kompany and fullback Gael Clichy, City once again has to rely on a slightly older defensive core fused with Eloquim Mangala, who is finding his place after finally getting consistent playing time. This will be of absolute importance as City face an in form Christian Benteke, who is looking to find the back of the net in his fifth consecutive match for Villa.

Also missing are Samir Nasri and and Stefan Jovetic, but James Milner and Wilfred Bony return to fitness and are available. David Silva, who took a nasty blow to the face, suffered no fractures in his cheekbones, and should be ready to play. Look for City to thrive against the villains, and maybe, just maybe they will climb a few notches in the table.

Predicted Lineup:

Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Navas, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko

Predicted Substitutes:

Caballero, Boyata, Sagna, Lampard, Fernandino, Milner, Bony