Aston Villa v Manchester City: Premier League – live! | Premier League


Key events

8 min: De Bruyne drops deep, quarterbacking from the right-back position. He very nearly releases Gundogan down the middle with a smoothly struck rake. Not far away at all, but the pass is a smidgen too strong.

6 min: Konsa looks to pick a pass, but he’s hassled and harried by Haaland, who closes down the options and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. Villa eventually ship possession and City start that possession thing they do.

4 min: … so having said that, City should be leading. Haaland holds the ball up down the inside-right channel and lays off for Gundogan. He lets Silva take over. Silva flicks further down the channel to release Walker into the box. Walker could roll across to tee up Haaland, but has a blaze himself instead. He’s within his right, but hoicks over. What a chance! Villa cut open with absurd ease.

2 min: Watkins tries to send Bailey clear down the right. Ederson comes out to clear his lines, in a slightly unsure but ultimately successful fashion. Villa will be happy with their confident start.

29 sec: Digne crosses dangerously from the left. Dias gets a small flick to ensure the ball doesn’t drop anywhere near Watkins or Bailey. That would have been quite the eye-opening start.

Villa get the ball rolling. City will attack the Holte End during this first half. Meanwhile, Phil Grey is in a mischievous mood: “If Haaland scores two, do you think Pep would have the cojones to sub him? Or the collons, if that’s what it is in Catalan.”

The teams are out! Villa wear their traditional claret and blue. City sport third-choice neon lime. Anticipation crackles around Villa Park. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes!

Pep Guardiola talks to Sky. “When we came here last season we won so tight. We won 3-2 at home and everyone knows how difficult it was. There are qualities in Villa and physicality. I trained players in Barcelona who improved when they were 29 and 30. Imagine at 22 how Erling Haaland can improve.”

He also confirms that Manuel Akanji misses the match today because his wife has just given birth to a baby boy.

Steven Gerrard speaks to Sky Sports. “Douglas Luiz has my backing. I’m well aware of the talent he’s got. He’s a bright boy, he understood the situation. Between ourselves, his representation and the player, we’ve known the situation throughout the summer and there’s been respect on both sides. We couldn’t lose the player in the final moments of the window, and our owner stayed strong. Just like the Carney Chukwuemeka situation, our owners have sent a message loud and clear. It goes without saying we’ll have to work extremely hard out of possession, but it’s important we have technicians in there who can keep the ball and play through the counter press. Manchester City are a world-class outfit, and we’ll have to get everything perfect to have an outside chance.”

He also reports that Leander Dendoncker has tonsillitis.

Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 victory over Fulham this afternoon means Manchester City kick off in third spot. Aston Villa start the match in the relegation places.

Aston Villa make one change from the side that went down 2-1 at Arsenal. Douglas Luiz replaces Emiliano Buendia, who drops to the bench. New signing Jan Bednarek is on the bench, but Leander Dendoncker isn’t in the squad.

Manchester City also make one change. It’s the same team that started the 6-0 rout of Nottingham Forest, but with Kevin de Bruyne instead of Julian Alvarez. Former Villa favourite Jack Grealish returns to his old stomping ground on the subs bench.

The teams

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Ramsey, Kamara, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Watkins, Bailey.
Subs: Ings, Buendia, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young, Bednarek, Coutinho, Olsen, Archer.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Joao Cancelo, Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Foden, Haaland.
Subs: Ake, Grealish, Ortega, Alvarez, Gomez, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand.

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

Preamble

Should Erling Haaland score three or more goals this evening, he’ll become the first player in England’s top flight to notch hat-tricks in three consecutive matches since Liverpool’s Jack Balmer in 1946. Three against Portsmouth, four against Derby, three against Arsenal, en route to Liverpool’s fifth title, since you ask. Would you bet too much money against Haaland matching his Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest hauls against this disorganised and dispirited Aston Villa side? No, us neither. Haaland chases a little bit of history from 5.30pm BST. It’s on!



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