City will definitely be without Aymeric Laporte (suspended) and Ferran Torres (foot), and there are doubts over Kevin De Bruyne (Covid), as well as Phil Foden and Jack Grealish who are recovering from knocks.
“We are in an emergency for the intensity of the squad,” manager Pep Guardiola said.
“We have few people. I never complain, I never miss the players who cannot play for any reason and I trust a lot the players. When one is out, another one comes in.
“But to sustain it in December - the toughest month of the year - the fact is we are in trouble because we have few players. We have just 15 or 14 players and we are in a difficult position because a lot of players play a lot of minutes.”
Grealish has been out since the international break, with Foden also missing the last couple of matches, and while they are back in training, the City boss was cautious about how much the pair could feature against Villa.
Guardiola said: “In the training sessions, for Jack (on Monday) was his first minutes with the team. For Phil too.
“Maybe they can play but not a lot of minutes. We will see with the doctors and physios.”
De Bruyne has now tested negative for Covid-19, but will need time to get back up to full speed.
Guardiola said: “Kevin still didn’t train. He’s negative from the last test but he could not train.
“People who have had Covid explain that it’s draining, tiring and takes time. He is a player who needs to be fit for his top form, or he cannot show it.”
Predicted Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, Silva; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus.