Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Friday December 21 2007
22nd December 2007
City make the trip down the M6 maotorway to their favourite away ground in the country wherewe have secured more wins against Villa than we have against any other club and are potentially on a five match unbeaten run at Villa Park.
ity's narrow one nil victory at the City of Manchester Stadium in September was part of our magnificent home form, but travelling away has not been so kind to City and even though Villa's home record is not great, City will have to perform much better if they are to get anything out of this game.
'I think City have done terrifically well, and despite the fact they had big money to spend in the summer, things had to be done quickly and it's difficult to get people to gel quickly, so it's great credit to the manager.
'They are where they deserve to be. Whatever their home or away form it doesn't matter because their overall points tally has put them where they are.
"It's a really big match for us to try to challenge the sides up around us and they have been in or near the top five all season.'
Villa defender Olof Mellberg added: 'Manchester City are definitely a good side. They've had that reaction Sven and the whole club wanted when he took over.
'They've done well and they're up there on merit. They're a team we're probably looking to battle with for a place in Europe.'
There is a real chance of the two Bulgarian International Petrov's facing each other on opposing sides as Stiliyan looks to have recovered from a hamstring injury.
Central defender Curtis Davies is also pushing for a starting place after recovering from a broken nose.
With England short on quality attacking options, surely it will not be long before this local lad makes the grade up to the full team as he has strength and pace and can finish well.
City will likely be without Michael Johnson as he struggles with his abductor injury and so Geovanni could start in his place.
tephen Ireland serves out his last game of his three match ban.
assell and Bianchi look to continue as City's attacking options with Martin Petrov and Elano linking up with them as Hamann continues in his holding role.
hether Garrido will retain the left back role is another matter but good news in that Joe Hart has been confirmed as City's No1 for the foreseeable future.
After a quiet game against Spurs I suspect he will influence the game far more tomorrow.
City have won the last three league games at Villa Park and produced probably their best display all season when they completely out played Villa to win three one with Vassell scoring his usual goal against his former club, although he could not find the net against Villa in September.
Lee Mason - Not a regular premiership referee, but this is his second City match this season when we beat Derby at home and he booked Hamann, Johnson and Petrov. Up until last weekend Lee had kept his red card in his pocket but then he sent two Burnley players off.
Although City have had travel sickness this season; I feel the Vassell factor will help secure City yet another victory over Villa by a narrow margin. 1 - 2 to City.
City Home to Blackburn on December 27th with a 7:45pm kick off.
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Date:Friday December 21 2007
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