City’s victory at Crystal Palace last weekend, coupled with Liverpool dropping points away at Manchester United, means the gap and the top has closed slightly from eight to six points.
Pep Guardiola’s side must keep winning, though, to keep the pressure on the Reds, with Villa standing in their way this weekend.
Whilst on paper, it would seem like it would be a fairly straight afternoon for City at the Etihad, Aston Villa are in good form currently, winning their last two Premier League games and losing just once since August in all competitions.
To sharpen up your knowledge ahead of this crucial clash for both sides, here, with a little help from Opta, are some of the best facts and stats to take in ahead of this encounter.
City Love Facing Villa
Manchester City have blown Aston Villa away at the Etihad every single time the two sides have met here over the last decade, winning all nine of their last meetings in the Premier League by an aggregate score of 30-4.
Alongside Aston Villa’s inability to even pick up a point at the Etihad in recent years, they have also failed to score in seven of their last nine Premier League meetings with Manchester City home and away, which is a pretty abysmal statistic.
A Pep Guardiola First?
City haven’t lost consecutive home league games since February 2016 and Guardiola has never lost back-to-back home games in his entire managerial league career, which is remarkable considering he has been in management for twelve years.
However, defeat to Wolves last time out at home means City are potentially just one John Stones defensive mishap from this run ending.
Victories over Norwich City and Brighton have meant Dean Smith’s side have won their last two home games lifting them to 12th in the table. In fact, Villa have won more games in their last two matches than they had in their previous 20 in the Premier League, winning just once and losing 16 times in this period.
If they can pull of an upset on Saturday, then it will be the first time since April 2010 that they have won three straight league games, which is what they achieved under Martin O’Neill.
Struggles Against the Champions
A third win in a row looks unlikely though considering Aston Villa are winless in their last 13 Premier League game against the reigning champions, losing ten and drawing three.
Their last victory came in 2009 when they beat Manchester United 1-0, courtesy of a Gabriel Agbonlahor winner.
Another Unwanted Record At Risk
Newly promoted Norwich put on a dazzling show in September to surprisingly defeat City 3-2 at Carrow Road.
If a similar story emerges on Saturday and Villa sneak a victory, then it will be the first time since the 2008/09 season that Man City have lost to two promoted sides in a single season - with West Brom and Stoke beating them that year.
Both Sergio Aguero and Jack Grealish are crucial for their team in the final third. For Aguero, he just loves facing Villa, with the Argentine netting six goals in his last four Premier League games against the Midlands outfit.
Grealish, meanwhile, has been directly involved in four goals in his last four games - scoring and assisting twice – and he has created a further 15 chances for his teammates.
Dean Smith look away now. English managers have won just one of their last 42 away Premier League matches against Man City with the man to achieve this former England boss Roy Hodgson, who, thanks to a wonder goal from Andros Townsend, guided Crystal Palace to a 3-2 victory last December.
In fact, it seems Hodgson enjoys his trips to the Etihad, and he was also the last Englishman to win his first away Premier League match against Manchester City, in April 2008 with Fulham.
Source : 90min