Aston Villa v Manchester City – Match preview and team news

Relegation-threatened Aston Villa welcome defending champions Manchester City to Villa Park knowing that just a point will lift them out of the relegation zone at the expensive of Wigan, while three would bring them level on points with Southampton.

City meanwhile arrival in the Midlands with their title hopes hanging on by the skin of its teeth with Manchester United’s thumping victory over Norwich on Saturday extending their lead over the Citizens to a mammoth 15 points ahead of City’s game in hand with Villa.

Villa manager Paul Lambert will be keen to avoid another 5-0 hammering like the one handed to them by City at the Etihad back in November. That drubbing saw the Villains drop into the relegation zone for the first time this season, a position they have found themselves in and around ever since.

Lambert is hopeful of calling upon club captain Ron Vlaar again after the Dutchman sat out the defeat at Arsenal last week with a calf injury. Elsewhere, striker Darren Bent, who scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over City two seasons ago, is doubtful with a foot injury while Shay Given is fit to face his former club after a groin problem.

Roberto Mancini has not quite given up on the Premier League title just yet, particularly after their morale-boosting victory over Chelsea last week. However, the gap remains large and failure to take three points away from Villa Park will surely spell the definitive end for the Citizens in their faltering quest to retain their title.

However, they will probably have to do so without captain Vincent Kompany who continues to suffer with a calf problem. Gareth Barry is fit to face his former club, while Maicon and Micah Richards miss out with knee injuries.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v Man City

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