Aston Villa v Man City

Last updated : 21 January 2011 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa's record signing Darren Bent will make his debut, although another new recruit, Jean Makoun, is still awaiting international clearance.Ashley Young is available again after a ban, but Emile Heskey serves the last game of his three-match suspension.

Manchester City will recall Gareth Barry, Edin Dzeko, Nigel de Jong and Kolo Toure after they sat out the FA Cup win over Leicester in midweek.

Mario Balotelli remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Aston Villa

Suspended: Heskey (one match)

Injured: Delph, Ireland & Young (all knee)

Manchester City

Injured: Balotelli (knee), Richards (back)


Just when Manchester City thought that they had the monopoly on big-money signings in this transfer window, Aston Villa took one look at their own lowly league placing and realised it was time to throw caution to the wind and splurge an astonishing £30m on Darren Bent and Jean Makoun.

They are having problems, but Darren Bent has a record close to one goal every two games and he will make a big difference and I think this will make our task on Saturday even harder

Man City boss Roberto Mancini

January is traditionally a month for financial prudence, and given that Villa had signed only one player in the previous two transfer windows combined, the shock decision by owner Randy Lerner to loosen the purse strings speaks volumes for the perilous position that the club finds itself in.

They are currently only out of the bottom three on goal difference, and desperately need Bent's goals to propel them away from a potential relegation battle that would have seemed unthinkable at the start of the season.

Bent's first task is to try and breach a City defence that has suddenly gone from impregnable to porous. After keeping three successive clean sheets in the league, they have conceded five goals in their two games against Wolves and Leicester - much to the annoyance of manager Roberto Mancini.

It is a problem that Villa boss Gerard Houllier is all too familiar with as his side have conceded a whopping 39 goals this season. City brutally exposed their defensive fragility when the sides clashed over the festive period, with Mario Balotelli helping himself to an easy hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing.



• Manchester City have only lost two of their last 18 league and cup meetings with Villa (W12, D4, L2).

• The Villans have beaten City at home just twice in 13 Premier League encounters at Villa Park.

• Manchester City scored four goals from just six shots on target when they beat Villa 4-0 in December.

• Villa have conceded five penalties in their last five league games against City.

Have your say on this match

Aston Villa

• Villa have only won one of their last 10 league matches, taking six points out of a possible 30.

• They have gone 12 matches without keeping a clean sheet and conceded 26 goals in that period.

• Aston Villa have dropped 14 points from winning positions in the league this season.

• Richard Dunne made 352 appearances for Manchester City.

Manchester City

• Since Carlos Tevez joined Manchester City at the start of the 2009/10 season, the Argentinean has scored the joint-most goals in the league along with Didier Drogba (37).

• Only 5% of City's goals have been scored from headers, the lowest percentage in the top flight.

• They have won six penalties this season, the highest total in the division.

• Gareth Barry played 440 games for Aston Villa between 1998 and 2009 and James Milner made 100 Premier League appearances for the Villans prior to his transfer last summer.


Aston Villa

Downing: 6 goals (5 league); Heskey: 6 goals (3 league)

Manchester City

Tevez: 16 goals (14 league); Balotelli: 8 goals (5 league)


Referee: Howard Webb

Assistant referees: Dave Bryan & Darren Cann

Fourth official: Mike Dean


Aston Villa (D1-1 v Birmingham, a): Friedel; Walker, Dunne, Collins, Clark, Albrighton, Petrov, Reo-Coker (Bannan 71), Downing, Carew (Delfouneso 71), Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Marshall, Pires, Cuellar, Hogg, Baker.

Manchester City (W4-3 v Wolves, h): Hart; Zabaleta, Toure (Lescott 51), Kompany, Kolarov, De Jong, Barry, Adam Johnson (Silva 84), Toure Yaya, Tevez (Milner 81), Dzeko. Subs not used: Given, Boateng, Vieira, Jo.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport