Man City predicted lineup vs Aston Villa


Pep Guardiola was in good form as he spoke to the media ahead of Manchester City’s upcoming clash with Aston Villa, with a particular highlight his typically sarcastic comment regarding his on-pitch ‘discussion’ with Jack Grealish.

The Spaniard appeared to give the former Villa winger a dressing down after the 0-0 draw against Arsenal, and told his reporters in his pre-match press conference: “I do it for the cameras, for my ego. I’m the most famous person on the team, I need the cameras to go to sleep with incredible satisfaction.”

Guardiola’s wit remains second to none but he’ll need to get serious on Wednesday night when Champions League-chasing Villa head to the Etihad.

Unai Emery’s side are fourth and outclassed City in the reverse fixture earlier this season, when they triumphed 1-0 in front of a buoyant home crowd. Injuries to key personnel will affect things this time around, with Guardiola no doubt keen to right the wrong and put the pressure back on leaders Liverpool, who play on Thursday.

Josko Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol was excellent at the weekend / Michael Regan/GettyImages

GK: Stefan Ortega – With Ederson still out, Ortega will continue in goal having kept a clean sheet and impressing in possession on Sunday.

CB: Manuel Akanji – The Swiss international will shake off Arsenal’s apparent tactical fouling on Sunday to start again in midweek.

CB: Ruben Dias – Dias won’t have to deal with Ollie Watkins’ savvy channel running on Wednesday, but his likely replacement, Jhon Duran, could overwhelm the defender physically.

CB: Josko Gvardiol – Having produced his best performance in a City shirt at the weekend, Gvardiol is a shoo-in on the left side of defence. Guardiola could rein in his attacking license, though.

CM: Rodri – If Stones isn’t fit to start, we could perhaps see Rodri perform a few centre-back duties out of possession.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – The Croatian midfielder performed a fairly unique role last time out and impressed outside of the odd build-up mishap. Expect Guardiola to use Kovacic in midfield again against a Villa side that will attempt to win the ball back high up the pitch.

RM: Bernardo Silva – The free-roaming genius will pop up everywhere and often vacate the right touchline in order to aid City’s ball retention and progression in central areas.

AM: Kevin De Bruyne – De Bruyne hasn’t quite sparkled over the past month having returned from injury with a bang. However, it doesn’t take the masterful Belgian long to hit top gear.

AM: Phil Foden – After a quiet outing on Sunday, Foden will be keen to impress in midweek against a Villa side that will look to condense the space for the likes of Foden to operate in.

LM: Jack Grealish – The probing Brummie was on the receiving end of a post-match lecture last time out – perhaps Guardiola will give Grealish the chance to put what he learnt to use against his former club.

ST: Erling Haaland – Haaland doesn’t have Gabriel and William Saliba to deal with on Wednesday, although the recently-returned Diego Carlos can match the striker in some physical aspects. The Norwegian needs a bounce-back game.

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