Can Gerrard make it 3 wins out of 3 for new club, Villa? Can City see them off and stay in the fight for EPL top spot?
With two victories out of two under the leadership of Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa welcome Manchester City to Villa Park for Wednesday’s English Premier League (EPL) clash.
The hosts defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 at the weekend, while The Citizens killed off West Ham United by the same scoreline.
Gerrard’s 100% start sees Villa in 13th position in the EPL table, on 16 points. However, Pep Guardiola’s side are breathing down the necks of first-placed, Chelsea, on 29 points and just one adrift of the league leaders.
Villa must continue to manage without long-term injury victim, Trézéguet, who is close to making his comeback for the Under-23s. Meanwhile, Bertrand Traore is said to be “some weeks” away from making a return from a hamstring injury.
Douglas Luiz had only been on the pitch seven minutes before picking up a red card against Palace, but VAR intervened and reduced the midfielder’s card to a yellow, so he is ok to start here.
Luiz could take the place of Zimbabwean, Marvelous Nakamba, in the engine room, and the need for fresh legs should also see Danny Ings and Anwar El Ghazi come into contention for starts in the final third.
It would certainly be interesting to see what kind of reception Jack Grealish might experience on his return to Villa Park, but the creative midfielder is still struggling with an injury and therefore highly doubtful for this encounter.
Kevin De Bruyne is not expected to return from COVID-19 infection just yet, while Phil Foden must be assessed ahead of kick-off, and Ferran Torres’ foot fracture will definitely keep the forward out.
John Stones is sure to return to the backline with Aymeric Laporte suspended for a build-up of yellow cards, while Oleksandr Zinchenko could slot in at left-back or in midfield, should Guardiola feel like shuffling his pack.
Our prediction for this one is 3-1 to the away side, with City winning both halves!