Aston Villa vs Manchester City: City to bounce back from FA Cup disappointment?

Pep Guardiola’s men return to league action looking to take another step towards the league title.

When: Wednesday, April 21, 20:15 GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event

Best bets

Ilkay Gundogan to score anytime at 23/10 (Paddy Power)

Manchester City to win 3-0 at 9/1 (bet365)

Phil Foden to score at 2/1 (Unibet)

Ten points to secure the title

After losing in the FA Cup after a tight game with Chelsea on Saturday, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said, "Now it's Aston Villa - we need ten points and we need the first three. And then final of Carabao Cup and then semi-final versus PSG."

This very much summed up the importance of every game for Manchester City in this hectic season. The loss in the semi-final against Chelsea now means that the Cityzens have one less competition to think about, but are still fighting on three fronts - for the Premier League, Champions League and the EFL Cup.

Man City's star midfielder, Phil Foden
Man City's star midfielder, Phil Foden

The aforementioned fixtures that Guardiola described take place over a period of eight days and will certainly define their season. After losing their last league game against Leeds United, it is vital that Man City do not drop any more points as they aim to wrap up their inevitable league success as quickly as possible.

Guardiola has made no secret of wanting to win every competition and visibly showed his disappointment after Saturday's loss.

They are 2/7 (Sky Bet) to win the EFL Cup, in which they face Spurs in the final and 5/4 (Sky Bet) to win the Champions League.

Last three Premier League meetings

Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa (January 20, 2021)

Man City struggled past an Aston Villa outfit who had not played a game in almost three weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club.

Villa held out until the 79th minute when Rodri, who was seemingly in an offside position, stole the ball from Tyrone Mings and the attack ended with Bernardo Silva scoring from outside the box.

Aston Villa's manager Dean Smith was sent off for his protests and was not there to see Ilkay Gundogan dispatch a penalty past a diving Emiliano Martinez to wrap the game up.

Aston Villa 1-6 Manchester City (January 12, 2020)

Sergio Aguero became the all-time highest scoring foreign player in the Premier League era - surpassing Thierry Henry's record. His hat-trick in this match helped City move up to second in the league table.

Riyad Mahrez squirmed a shot in at the near post to open the scoring. Then, the Algerian struck again after a defensive lapse, leaving Villa in a poor position.

Aguero's first goal was an excellent strike from range into the top corner of the goal, making it 3-0 and it was four before half time when a pinpoint cross from Kevin De Bruyne was slotted away by Brazil international Gabriel Jesus.

Man City stamped even more authority on the match as Aguero danced into the opposition box and side-footed a shot past a helpless goalkeeper in the Villa net.

Yet another defensive mistake left the Argentine in on goal once again and he did not give up his chance of a 12th hat-trick.

Dean Smith's lacklustre side managed to pull one goal back from the penalty spot through Anwar El Ghazi.

Manchester City 3-0 Aston Villa (October 26. 2019)

It took Pep Guardiola's men until the second half to break the resistance of their Midlands opposition, when Raheem Sterling netted only 20 seconds into the second period.

This came after a fiery half-time team talk from the Man City boss, who was far from impressed with their showing before the break.

Tyrone Mings miraculously cleared a deflected effort over his own bar to keep the score at 1-0.

This though, only delayed the inevitable as David Silva guided a Kevin De Bruyne cross into the goal to double City's number of goals for the day.

Ilkay Gundogan rounded off the scoring five minutes later with a scissor kick. A slight dampener was put on the home team's day when Fernandinho was sent off on 87 minutes for a second bookable offence.

Premier League head-to-head

Played: 41

Aston Villa won: 7

Drawn: 9

Manchester City won: 25

Aston Villa scored: 36

Manchester City scored: 83

Villa aiming for a top-half finish

Dean Smith's team currently occupy 11th place on 44 points, but do have games in hand on all other top-flight teams.

Realistically this means that Aston Villa could finish as high as 6th or as low as 14th, meaning that the rest of their season is hardly a dead rubber, with plenty to play for.

The absence of influential playmaker Jack Grealish has slowed Villa's progress, but a top 10 finish would signify a successful season overall for the Villains.

Dean Smith took encouragement from Villa's recent defeat to Liverpool
Dean Smith took encouragement from Villa's recent defeat to Liverpool

If this is to be the case, Smith's side need to show an upturn in form after only defeating Leeds and Fulham in the past two months and have a lack of firepower at present.

Villa will be determined to not let their season peter out and have plenty of chances to pick up points against the likes of West Brom and Crystal Palace before the end of the campaign.

Scoreline prediction: Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester City

Manchester City will be without key player Kevin De Bruyne for their trip to Villa Park, but that should not prevent them from making amends for their defeat at the weekend. Pep Guardiola named a much-changed line-up and is expected to revert back to his strongest team for this important league game.

Kevin De Bruyne has extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium
Kevin De Bruyne has extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium

Players such as Phil Foden and Ederson should return to bring a comfortable three points back to Manchester. City won this fixture 6-1 last season and Villa have not been victorious against their opposition in the past 10 meetings and little is expected to change.

Villa lack creativity without Jack Grealish and this has also led to a downturn in form from Ollie Watkins, who has 12 goals to his name in the Premier League this season, but did net against Liverpool in the 2-1 defeat. It is difficult to envisage Dean Smith's side carving out chances and they face a tough ask against a side trying to recapture their best form.

Goalscorer bets

Villa have failed to keep clean sheets in any of their previous four Premier League games and so Manchester City form the focus of goalscorers.

Phil Foden scored in both legs of City's Champions League win against Borussia Dortmund and the 20 year-old is in fine form.

The young playmaker is 2/1 to score with Unibet.

Man City's Ilkay Gundogan
Man City's Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan has been in the best goalscoring form of his career, registering 12 goals to date in the 2020/21 season. Without De Bruyne, the German could play a more advanced role and is available at 23/10 to net anytime with Paddy Power.

READ MOREFrom Solskjaer to the Super League: 10 of Gary Neville's most passionate rants

Latest Soccer Videos