If one looks as this game from a historical point of view, it is clear to see that Aston Villa are the stronger outfit with the Villains being a consistent performer in this division for many a year. However, following the investment in Manchester City, the tables have turned completely and while City are busy chasing the title, Villa found themselves in grave danger of getting relegated.
To say the past couple of years have been disappointing for Villa is an understatement. Not so long ago they were regarded as a significant force in the Premiership and while they have never been challenging for the title, they were at least been situated in the upper reaches of the table. However, things have abruptly changed and Paul Lambert has it all to do if he is to keep the Villa Park outfit in the division. They currently sit in the bottom three and while goal difference is the only factor keeping them down there, they still have an inferior goal difference to other sides which means they are at a disadvantage. Despite their frailties, recent form hasn’t been too discouraging. They may have lost their last game to Arsenal, yet before that they had beaten West Ham and recorded a draw with Everton. Furthermore, their recent home form isn’t too bad either, with the club winning three of their last five at Villa Park.
Manchester City on the other hand have endured a poor season by their own standards and many believe that Roberto Mancini’s days could be numbered by the end of the campaign. Following Manchester United’s victory on Saturday, City now find themselves fifteen points adrift of their rivals and this surely means that their title bid is over. Recent Premier League form is mainly to blame for this predicament, with Mancini’s men winning just one of their last four in the league. Such a record certainly does not correlate with a team who are attempting to keep their title and the FA Cup might be their only avenue out this term.
As for team news, it’s mixed for the home side as Paul Lambert prepares to potentially be without two players. Ron Vlaar is a doubt as a calf problem hinders him, while Darren Bent is almost certain to miss out through a foot injury. On a more positive note, Shay Given could feature following a groin issue. It’s a similar story for Manchester City meanwhile, with Vincent Kompany expected to be absent due to a calf injury. Gareth Barry appears to have fully recovered from his ankle problems though and could be involved.
Even though both of these clubs sit at opposite ends of the table, we think Aston Villa could use their home form to their advantage and record a point. It won’t be easy, but our prediction will be a 1-1 score line for Monday evening’s game.