Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday March 2 2013
Planet Blue, by now accustomed to playing catch up continues the quest to bridge The Stretford Gap...
'I think the season is mathematical. I was not strong in mathematics in school. 11 games to play, 33 points, everything is possible. Last time we won the title, 6 games to go, 8 points gap. We talked about this last week. When you are 12 points behind it is normal that if you don't lose or don't win and Man United win the next game will be difficult. We should try to win always. It doesn't change our ways.'
'We are certainly playing well enough. The players believe because of the way we they are playing. We have belief in ourselves that we will always be OK. The way they are playing, honestly I can't ask for anymore. We have got big games, massive games still to come. There will be a lot of twists and turns over the next couple of months. People ask if it's now three teams from four but there are a few teams who will be looking over their shoulder. You always find a surprise somewhere.'
Pablo Zabaleta :
'I remember when we were on the bus the day after we won the title. A lot of people in Manchester, a lot of them just crying. That means a lot when you see that as a player, you feel great, because you know we are doing our job. We know we have great, fantastic players but probably we have to be stronger as a group to be one of the top teams in Europe.'
Matt Lowton :
'We've shown we can do it in a number of games recently and we believe very strongly that we can. We've got to stay positive, we've got to make sure we go into every game and start it right because the quality will come through.'
LATE FITNESS TEST:
The 21 year old Austrian's contract talks appear to be up in the air, but in this correspondent's sky blue eyes Villa would do well to get a grip and secure the player's signature before the end of a campaign fraught with struggle that could end up in the unknown. A Villan since he was 16 years old, he led the line with aplomb last year when often the only fit striker and has been a repeated stand out performer in an awful season.
LATE FITNESS TEST:
This 19 year old lad is City's signing of the season. You don't make your debut at the Bernabeu stadium without having something special about you. To give us a greater idea of just how good Nasty is, City have won 70% of the games that he has started. It's a massive enough compliment alone to suggest that his presence has gone a long way to negating the impact of captain Vincent Kompany's absences through injury.
THE NUMBERS GAME:
City have scored 4 or more goals in 3 of the last 5 league games against The Villans.
Christian Benteke has scored more league goals than anybody else in the top flight so far this year with 6.
Villa and the curse of March. They have lost more league games in March than any other side in Premier League history. That's 35 to be precise.
As with last season, City continue to boast the top flight's strongest defence with 12 clean sheets thus far.
HEAD TO HEAD:
League: 58 City Wins, 38 Draws, 51 Villa Wins
League Cup: 1 City Win, 3 Villa Wins
FA Cup: 6 City Wins, 2 Draws, 2 Villa Wins
Total: 66 City Wins, 40 Draws, 56 Villa Wins
THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME:
Sa 17Nov 2012 Man City 5 - 0 Aston Villa PL
Tu 25Sep 2012 Man City 2 - 4 Aston Villa CC
Su 12Feb 2012 Aston Villa 0 - 1 Man City PL
Sa 15Oct 2011 Man City 4 - 1 Aston Villa PL
FORM LAST 6 GAMES ALL COMPETITIONS:
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
CLASSIC CITY TUBE: Aston Villa v Manchester City, Apr 23rd 1991
mcfcvideos: 'David White scores four and sets up another on a memorable night at Villa Park…'
BETTING: Villa 13/2 Draw 7/2 City 1/2Racing Post Soccerbase
TV COVERAGE: Sky Sports 1
Mike Dean from the Wirrall, 4th Official Howard Webb -Last Season: Mo 15Aug 2011 Man City 4 - 0 Swansea, We 21Dec 2011 Man City 3 - 0 Stoke, Sa 04Feb 2012 Man City 3 - 0 Fulham, We 21Mar 2012 Man City 2 - 1 Chelsea, Su 13May 2012 Man City 3 - 2 QPR -This Season: Su 23Sep 2012 Man City 1 - 1 Arsenal, Sa 22Dec 2012 Man City 1 - 0 Reading, Su 13Jan 2013 Arsenal 0 - 2 Man City -2011/12: 43 Games, 146 Yellows, 5 Reds -2012/2013: 29 Games, 103 Yellows, 4 Reds.
Johnny On The Spot: What has transpired to be our title hangover season became a must win campaign for weeks so no change to the backdrop, but City's last two performances have shown the type of grit, flair and determination that bode well for a run of tough games, not least of them tricky away trips like this mission to Villa Park. The fact remains that if City bag an early goal, invariably they settle rapidly and take full control. Yet against sides who set up to not concede as I believe Lambert will prioritise on Monday night, they also still have the capacity to keep at it. The season's achilles has been when ultimately unable to break sides down. When it has gone right, much of the late shows have been put down to stronger fitness levels than our opponents and considering how much is at stake for Villa here I think this could be a key factor. No side has conceded more goals in the final half an hour of games this season than Villa, whereas only Reading with 14 have scored more goals in the final 15 minutes than City who have netted 13. Taking a further step back, The Villans haven't kept a clean sheet in 11 league games and I cannot see them living with the type of threatening form Mancio's 'Ground Attack' (copyright Pedmachine) Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tévez are charging about into. The pair of them have scored 111 goals for City between them. 24 have come this season and the signs are that they are firing together again. Villa 0 City 3
all times East Manchester
Sa 09Mar 17h30 Barnsley, The Etihad, FACQF
Sa 16Mar 12h45 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 30Mar 15h00 Newcastle, The Etihad, PL
Mo 08Apr 20h00 The Rags, The Swamp, PL
Mo 15 Apr 20h00 West Brom, The Etihad, PL
Su 21 Apr 13h30 Spurs, White Hart Lane, PL
Sa 27 Apr 12h45 West Ham United, The Etihad, PL
Sa 04 May 15h00 Swansea, The Liberty Stadium, PL
Su 12 May 15h00 Reading, The Madejski Stadium, PL
Su 19 May 16h00 Norwich City, The Etihad, PL
City vs Wigan To Be Rearranged
Date:Saturday March 2 2013
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