City manager Manuel Pellegrini brings five youngsters from the EDS squad along for the ride, including Nigerian starlet Kelechi Iheanacho who is seeking more playing time and another FA Cup start having played alongside Sergio Aguero last time out against Norwich. Having been undefeated in their last five matches, the Blues play a Villa side who have also not lost in their last five. Although they remain at the bottom of the league table, Villa have shown signs of life as they've been able to beat Crystal Palace and draw in a scrappy match against division leader Leicester City.
Remi Garde recognizes that the Villains haven't necessarily been lighting up the net, but has been more than pleased with the team's defensive effort -- With City coming to town, they will surely be tested. These two sides faced once before, in November where a draw occurred in Birmingham, and that may have been an anomaly for City, who had seen four out of their last five contests between the two go their way.
Of course, injuries play a factor in the match, City will be without Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfred Bony, Nasri, Kolarov, Mangala and Kompany - While Villa will be without their starting defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez, Abonglahor, Jordan Amavi, and speedy Adama Traoré.
While Villa were in the Finals of last year's cup. They will be asked to do quite a bit against City in this round, and even though the youth are on the squad for City, expect the quality to shine through as the Citizens seek to advance and continue their ambitions for a domestic treble. Also something to look out for: Fabian Delph's second game at Villa Park since he's exit in the summer.
Aston Villa FC vs. Manchester City FC
Villa Park, Birmingham UK
Referee: Mike Jones
Manchester City Form: WDWDW
Aston Villa Form: DWDWD