The blues became founding members of the European Super League, then pulled out 48 ours later as the backlash from the fans hit home, and City will now attempt to put those turbulent days behind them at Villa Park.
After surviving relegation last season by one point, Villa have established themselves in the Premier League and are sitting in 11th place, and are one point away from being mathematically safe from relegation.
Villa are in the middle of some poor form, having won just three of their last ten Premier League fixtures. Victories at home to Arsenal (1-0) and Fulham (3-1), together with a 1-0 win at Leeds have been overshadowed by defeats at Liverpool (2-1), and Sheffield United (1-0), with home defeats to Spurs (2-0) and Leicester (1-2). The home form seems so different to that when they beat Liverpool 7-2 in October.
From 14 home games, Villa have won and lost six, with two draws. They have scored 23 goals at home and conceded 19, giving a goal difference of +4 one of ten teams that have a positive home goal difference.
Ollie Watkins is Villa’s main threat up front. The England striker has scored 14 goals from 33 games so far this season. He has had 67 shots from those matches, giving him a shot accuracy of 61%. As expected, Jack Grealish is also up there. The England midfielder has chipped in with 7 goals from 23 matches, while Anwar El Ghazi also has 7.
Assist wise, Grealish leads the way with 10, and has created 69 chances in total, the highest from any in the Villa side. He has attempted 965 passes, completing 801, giving him a pass accuracy of 83%. However, the best accuracy has been achieved by Douglas Luiz with 85%. The former City man has attempted 1,132 passes, completing 961 from 27 games.
Who’s The Boss?
Dean Smith has been in charge of his boyhood club since October 2018, when he led them back to the Premier League. Smith has a win ratio 40%, having won 48 games from 118 matches in charge. It is the highest win ratio as a manager.
Last Time Out
Controversy circled over the blues last time these two met in Manchester when City won 2-0. The blues left it late to open the scoring through Bernardo Silva in the 79th minute. Rodri was offside in the build up and made no attempt to play the ball, however Tyrone Mings tried to control the ball forward, thus effectively playing the ball and making Rodri’s challenge from his previous position legal. The Spaniard the supplied Silva, who scored with a left foot finish. Manager Smith was booked, then sent off for his protests and City went on to make it 2-0 thanks to a 90th minute penalty by Ilkay Gundogan.