Aston Villa will be afforded the chance to start catching up on the rest of the Premier League with their games in hand on Wednesday night, facing Manchester City. Villa have played just 15 league matches this term, four fewer than some clubs, and winning three would propel them right up into the mix of teams in the top four.
It will, however, be a huge task to overcome Man City, who have become the league’s in-form side thanks to a run of five straight wins, the most recent of which was a 4-0 stroll at home to Crystal Palace.
FOLLOW LIVE: Man City vs Aston Villa – Latest updates
Pep Guardiola’s side can move top of the table if they take three points themselves, a point ahead of rivals Manchester United - and perhaps more pertinently, four clear of reigning champions Liverpool.
Villa’s last league game was a 2-1 defeat to Man United which came back on New Year’s Day; since then they have only lost in the FA Cup to Liverpool with effectively a youth side amid a host of postponements which has given rise to their backlog of games, including the home clash against Everton which was due to take place at the weekend.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 6pm on Wednesday, 20 January 2021.
Where can I watch it?
The game will be shown live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Extra 1. Subscribers can also stream the match via the BT Sport app and desktop website.
What is the team news?
Sergio Aguero is still a doubt for City after a long spell of hit-and-miss fitness. Defensive trio Nathan Ake, Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia could all be missing but wouldn’t be likely to return to the line-up in any case due to the form of John Stones and Ruben Dias in recent weeks.
As for Aston Villa, they are likely to be with most of their first-team squad after a period away from the training ground and without matches - though it remains to be seen if Ross Barkley is able to start after two months out. Wesley and Trezeguet are the ongoing injury issues.
MCI - Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Walker, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Sterling, Foden, B. Silva
AST - Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins
Man City - 2/7
Draw - 6/1
Aston Villa - 23/2
Villa’s lack of recent game time will ultimately go against them, whether that’s 90-minute fitness for some players or just the speed and rhythm of play. Against other clubs it might not be such an issue; against an in-form Man City it’ll be near-impossible to keep them out. City 2-0 Villa.