Aston Villa are back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon as they head away to take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Unai Emery’s side will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Leicester City last weekend, but it will undoubtedly be tough with City desperate to close the gap on league leaders Arsenal.
This weekend’s host also lost in their last outing, away at Champions League hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur. The days that followed were challenging for Pep Guardiola’s team to say the least, as they have since been met with charges for an almighty 101 alleged Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule breaks.
On the injury news front, City have suffered a blow ahead of the clash as they will definitely have to make do without central defender John Stones. Set to be missing until at least the start of March, the 28-year-old is ruled out with a hamstring injury. The likes of Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake are available to step in.
Meanwhile, England international midfielder Phil Foden is doubtful but could return to face Villa having been sidelined through illness at Tottenham. Key players Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish are all fit and ready to go for the Premier League title challengers.
Emery might have to change things up at right-back with Ashley Young a doubt after he was forced off against Leicester. The 37-year-old went down twice and was replaced by Matty Cash. Loan returnee Bertrand Traore is still out with the knee problem he suffered on loan at Basaksehir, but there is hope he could be back within just a few weeks.
Diego Carlos is expected to return at the end of this month as he is finally in full training after his long-term Achilles tendon injury. Meanwhile, backup goalkeeper Jed Steer, who has now been out for 12 months with a similar injury, could be in contention from the start of March.
Ruled out: Stones (MCI); Carlos, B. Traore, Steer (AVL).
Doubts: Foden (MCI); A. Young (AVL).