Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa will host Manchester City in the Premier League this Saturday, and they will be desperate to bounce back with a win.
Aston Villa have made a disastrous start to their Premier League campaign, and the West Midlands club have lost four of their first five top-flight matches. Manager Steven Gerrard is under tremendous pressure to get his side back on track, and it remains to be seen whether Aston Villa can pick up a morale-boosting win at home against the defending champions.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have made a reasonably good start to their title defence, and they will hope to continue their winning run against a struggling Aston Villa side. Star striker Erling Haaland has taken to the Premier League like a fish to water, and he has been in scintillating form over the last few matches.
Haaland has already scored nine goals in his five Premier League appearances, and he will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet against a porous Aston Villa back line. Manchester City have an exceptional head-to-head record against Aston Villa in recent seasons having won their last six meetings against the West Midlands club.
The visitors are undoubtedly the firm favourites heading into the contest, considering the respective forms. And ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News and Tactics
Gerrard on Jan Bednarek: “Jan has come to challenge himself, it’s a fresh start for him.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 2, 2022
Aston Villa have just one injury concern ahead of the blockbuster clash against Manchester City on Saturday. Steven Gerrard will be without summer signing Diego Carlos, who is currently sidelined with a long-term injury.
Deadline-day arrival Jan Bednarek is expected to fill in for Carlos and should be handed his first start for Aston Villa against Manchester City this weekend. Steven Gerrard is set to persist with Emiliano Martinez as his goalkeeper. Bednarek should partner Ezri Konsa at the heart of the Aston Villa defence, with Matty Cash and Lucas Diane deployed as the full-backs.
In terms of tactics, Villa will likely prefer a 4-3-3 system, with John McGinn, Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz making up the midfield unit. Luiz was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal on deadline day, but Aston Villa managed to hold on to him in the end. Luiz scored an important goal against Arsenal after coming on as a substitute and is expected to start in place of Ramsey here.
Danny Ings has not been at his best this season, and Ollie Watkins is expected to lead the line for Aston Villa against Manchester City. The likes of Philippe Coutinho and Leon Bailey should start as the wide attackers. Gerrard will need all the pace and creativity he can get against Manchester City’s resolute back four.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Bednarek, Digne; McGinn, Luiz, Kamara; Bailey, Watkins, Coutinho
Pep Guardiola will be without the services of Aymeric Laporte and Kalvin Phillips because of their respective injuries. However, Jack Grealish and Nathan Ake are close to returning to action for Manchester City.
The defending champions are unlikely to make too many changes to their side given their recent run of form, and Guardiola is expected to persist with the likes of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Joao Cancelo as his back four.
Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Bernardo Silva will likely be a part of the midfield three, which is good enough to dominate Aston Villa. Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan will thus get some rest ahead of the onset of Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign next week.
De Bruyne was on the bench against Nottingham Forest, and he is expected to come back into the starting lineup in place of Gundogan. Meanwhile, Julian Alvarez, who scored a brace in the last game, might make way for Riyad Mahrez.
Erling Haaland is once again expected to lead the line for Manchester City having scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the Premier League. The Norwegian international is set to be flanked by Phil Foden and Mahrez, who will add some creativity, pace and flair to the attacking unit.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Haaland, Foden
- Manchester City have scored at least two goals in their last 14 matches (Premier League).
- Manchester City have won their last nine matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
- Manchester City have scored at least two goals in their last nine matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
- Manchester City have been winning at both half-time and full-time in their last five away matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
- Aston Villa have lost five of their last six matches (Premier League).
Player to watch
The 22-year-old Manchester City striker seemed unstoppable against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace in the week gone by. So Haaland is undoubtedly our man to watch for the game against Aston Villa this weekend.
Aston Villa have been quite mediocre defensively, and they are up against the most in-form striker in the Premier League. Haaland will certainly back himself to get on the scoresheet, and it will not be surprising if he manages to score more than once to pile further misery on the home side.
Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester City
Aston Villa will be determined to get their season back on track with a positive result at home against Manchester City. However, the home side are well out of their depth here, and Pep Guardiola’s side have the confidence and momentum with them.
With the kind of form Erling Haaland is in right now, it is impossible to comprehend anything other than a comfortable victory for the visitors here. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Manchester City, taking them ahead of Arsenal before the Gunners’ big game against Manchester United on Sunday.