Manchester City will clash heads with Aston Villa at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, hoping to pick up a positive result and win their sixth Premier League title since 2012. The Villans will be coming into the match on the back of a 1-1 stalemate with Burnley, whereas the Citizens recorded a hard-fought 2-2 draw with West Ham United on May 15.
Defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker returned to training on Thursday morning, so they have strong chances of featuring in the weekend clash.
“We have incredible doctors and physios,” – Pep Guardiola revealed.
“They have trained today. We will see tomorrow. It is good for us to have them back.”
However, Ruben Dias remains sidelined with an injury. Apart from these, there are no further concerns within the squad.
There’s plenty of bad news on the injury front for the Villans, as Ezri Konsa could be unavailable for up to four months due to a severe knee injury.
Leon Bailey and Kortney Hause are also ruled out of the trip to the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola will probably opt for the 4-3-3 formation with several tweaks from the last game. In defence, Nathan Ake might get the nod over Fernandinho, whereas Phil Foden looks likely to make his way back into the starting eleven.
This is a must-win game for the Spanish tactician if he wishes to secure his fourth Premier League title in five years. The numbers favour the Citizens – Villa have lost their last 11 league games at the Etihad besides keeping just two clean sheets in the last ten successive league matches.
On the other hand, Steven Gerrard is also set to continue with his preferred 4-3-3 formation, with Ollie Watkins expected to lead the line for the visitors on Sunday. While the Liverpool legend never won a Premier League trophy with the Reds, he has the opportunity to win one for the Reds by making the Manchester club drop points this weekend.
“It is more difficult (to win the Premier League),” – Said pep when asked about the weight of the fixture.
“There are lots of weeks, games, struggles with injuries and bad moments, tough opponents.
“The success is being there all the time in the last five years except the year when Liverpool were unstoppable.
“It’s every day, when you fight the Premier League and fight until the end, it gives you happiness.
“You are happier when you win and you win. It’s not a cup, it’s a routine.
“Doing a routine is most difficult in our lives. If you are not happy, you want these great experiences. Premier League is routine.”
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Ake, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne; Grealish, Foden, Mahrez
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez; Digne, Chambers, Mings, Cash; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Ings, Coutinho; Watkins
Manchester City 3-0 Aston Villa