Manchester City v Aston Villa

Last updated : 27 December 2010 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa forward Emile Heskey is a major doubt after limping out of the defeat by Spurs with a twisted ankle.

Injured pair Ashley and Luke Young are also both unlikely to be involved, but fit-again captain Stiliyan Petrov could make his first start since October.


When these two sides last met, eight days before the end of the previous season, Aston Villa were above Manchester City in the table and level with fourth-placed Tottenham. Seven months on, Villa have been eclipsed as City's Blue Moon rises.

I am happy about this first year. We need to improve again, we need to work, but if we can do this we can get to the top

Man City manager Roberto Mancini

Fifteen points now separate the clubs, with Manchester City two points off the top and Villa only a similar margin above the bottom four. While the Midlands side have fallen from the Premier League's glass ceiling, City look certain to break through it.

A win in this fixture will put City top of the table for the first time since August 2007, at least until Manchester United play in the evening fixture. Manager Roberto Mancini has dealt with criticism, player unrest and soaring expectation in his first 12 months in charge, but he begins his second year at Eastlands in confident mood. So he should, as long as the talismanic Carlos Tevez continues to make dummies out of the opposition.

Conversely, Mancini's Villa counterpart Gerard Houllier has been beset by teething troubles since inheriting a squad that had enjoyed three successive top-six finishes. The Frenchman has been hindered by injuries, but he has also upset some supporters and senior players and presided over a disastrous spell of 10 points from 12 matches.



• Manchester City have only lost two of their last 17 league and cup meetings with Villa (W11, D4, L2).

• City have won seven of their last eight home league matches in this fixture, the exception being a 2-0 defeat in April 2007.

• Gerard Houllier has lost only one of seven previous Premier League matches against Manchester City - Liverpool's 2-1 home defeat in May 2003.

Have your say on this match

Manchester City

• City have only lost one of their last nine league matches, winning five.

• Roberto Mancini's side are yet to register a comeback victory this season. They have lost three of the four games in which they have conceded the opening goal, and drawn the other.

• Gareth Barry played 440 games for Aston Villa between 1998 and 2009.

• James Milner made 100 Premier League appearances for Villa prior to his transfer last summer.

Aston Villa

• Villa have only managed four points from eight away games this season - only bottom side Wolves have fared worse.

• The Villans have lost all six league matches this season in which they conceded the opening goal.

• They lost both matches immediately after Christmas last season - a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal and a 1-0 home defeat by Liverpool.

• Richard Dunne made 352 appearance for Manchester City.


Manchester City (W3-1 v Newcastle, a): Hart; Boateng, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov, Barry, De Jong, Milner, Yaya Toure (Vieira 83), Silva (A Johnson 69), Tevez (Balotelli 85). Subs not used: Given, Richards, Zabaleta, Jo.

Aston Villa (L1-2 v Tottenham, h): Friedel; Lichaj, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock, Albrighton, Delph (Pires 74), Hogg (Petrov 46), Downing, Heskey (Delfouneso 39), Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Guzan, Reo-Coker, Clark, Bannan.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport