Aston Villa v Man City preview

05 October 2009 09:50
Two teams looking to crack the Premier League's 'big four' meet at Villa Park on Monday as Aston Villa host Manchester City. With Liverpool losing for a third time this season, both teams have an opportunity to strengthen their UEFA Champions League credentials. In-form City could climb into third spot with a victory at Villa Park while Martin O'Neill's side are three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. Villa's 4-2 over City last season ended a run of five successive league matches without a home win over City, who have only failed to score once in their last 10 visits to the Midlands club. Villa news City will need to keep a watchful eye on Gabriel Agbonlahor after he netted a hat-trick in last season's 4-2 victory over City on the opening day of the season. Curtis Davies (shoulder) remains a long-term injury victim for Villa so Richard Dunne and James Collins will continue to build their partnership at the back with Stephen Warnock at left-back and Carlos Cuellar on the opposite flank. O'Neill needs to decide whether to keep Fabian Delph in his starting line-up following their defeat to Blackburn or draft in Emile Heskey up front and push Agbonlahor out wide. The game comes too soon for right back Luke Young who has been recovering from a thigh strain whilst also being given compassionate leave following the death of his half-brother. City newsHughes has a welcome selection headache with star striker Emmanuel Adebayor available again following a three-match ban. The Togo international is likely to lead the line, although it remains to be seen whether Hughes opts for a two or three-man attacking line-up. Adebayor could be supported by Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy, however, City's boss could go with two up front and play the attack-minded Martin Petrov or pacey Bellamy on the left wing. If Hughes goes with three in midfield and attack then Stephen Ireland is likely to take on a left-sided role with Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips, although Nigel de Jong would provide attitional support for the back four. Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson made their first appearances of the season in last Monday's 4-2 win over West Ham, although they will likely remain on the bench. Micah Richards could come in for Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, although the game comes too soon for Brazil international Robinho (foot/ankle). Possible starting XIsVilla: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Milner, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Young, Heskey, Agbonlahor City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Barry, De Jong, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor

Source: SKY_Sports