Manchester City hosts Aston Villa in round 1 of the English Premier League. The match will be played on Wednesday, January 20th at Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Manchester City is trying to make up for a bunch of lost points at the start of the championship. And the Citizens won the last five games in a row and climbed to the second line. However, this place in the standings does not look like a ceiling for modern Man City – it only is two points behind the leader and has every chance of taking first place even before the end of January. Beyond that, the Citizens will have to play in the Champions League playoffs in February. The roster of Manchester is gradually being restructured and getting younger. Rodri and Cancelo came in the previous season, and Eric Garcia was transferred to the regular lineup. In the current championship, the management has signed contracts with such players as Ruben Dias, Ake, and Ferran Torres. It is the Spanish-speaking newcomers who look like the most promising purchases for the Citizens.
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The last championship was a torment for Dean Smith's charges because they struggled for survival until the last rounds. Now the problems of maintaining a place in the elite have disappeared, and Aston Villa has grown to the status of the middle peasant of the Premier League. The club occupies an intermediate 11th place in the standings. The Lions managed to gain two victories in the last five matches (over West Bromwich and Crystal Palace), and their unbeaten run ended only in the last round. In the FA Cup, the Birmingham team was recently eliminated from Liverpool (1:4). Villa has enough highly qualified footballers, and there is also an opportunity to sign newcomers. This season, its selection service and management have worked perfectly – the club can now count on Traore, Watkins, Cash, Martinez, and Barkley. Mings, Targett, Douglas Louis, Grealish, and Wesley are in excellent condition.
Manchester is in amazing shape and confidently beats its opponents in the Premier League. Aston Villa is a tough and uncompromising team with a strong talent pool. Despite this, Smith's charges are clearly inferior to Man City in terms of skills. The hosts of the arena will habitually possess the ball 65-70% of the normal time and will probably win with a difference of at least two goals.
Prediction for the match: Manchester City to win with -1.5 handicap