Aston Villa v Manchester City - Five players under the spotlight

Title contenders Manchester City travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.

Villa will be severely weakened by the absence of top goalscorer Christian Benteke who limped off during the win against Norwich City with a hip injury.

City will be looking to take advantage of his absence to take control of the game and build on their impressive win against rivals Manchester United last time out.

I expect nothing except an away win because Manuel Pellegrini’s side seem to be settling in to his style of play and look a formidable challenge in the title race.

Paul Lambert will be happy to take anything from the game but he could be fearing the worst for his team.

Last Meeting:

Odds: Aston Villa 13/2, Draw 10/3, Manchester City 8/15

Aston Villa 0 – 1 Manchester City – March 4th 2013, Villa Park

A close encounter was settled by a Carlos Tevez goal just before half time and allowed Man City to close the gap to Manchester United to 12 points. City dominated the game and in truth it should have been won by more than one. The loss put Aston Villa back into the relegation zone and started a real fight for survival.

Five players to watch on Saturday:

Sergio Aguero

The Argentinian striker scored twice last weekend in the win against Man United and he will be looking to build on this performance. He has had typically excellent start to the season, he will be a handful for any defence and Aston Villa will be no different. Villa’s defenders will have to be on top form to keep him out.

Yaya Toure

The Ivorian powerhouse dominated the Manchester Derby continuing his imperious form to start the season. You have to have a strong midfield to deal with him and seemingly no one has managed to do it so far this season. If Villa want to take anything from the game they will need to keep Toure quiet, easier said than done it must be said.

Libor Kozak

After joining from Lazio in August, Kozak would have not thought that he would be thrust into the spotlight so quickly. He will be expected to try and replace the injured Benteke, he started well scoring his first goal for his new club against Norwich last Saturday but with the Belgian out for up to six weeks he will be looked at to carry the striking load.

Gabby Agbonlahor

Agbonlahor has had a resurgence in form so far this season as he has looked dangerous in the Villa attack. His speed will always trouble defences and he will have to work hard against City taking any chances that come his way because it is vital they are clinical if they want to get anything out of the game.

Ron Vlaar

The Villa captain will be vitally important to his sides chances on Saturday, he has been in good form this season and his teammates will be expecting the same in this game. Villa will be defending for most of the game, being disciplined and keeping their shape will be crucial. He marshals defence well and comes up with the odd goal, I’m sure Paul Lambert has identified him as an indispensible part of his squad.

image: © mollyig

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