Man City vs Aston Villa Predictions, Odds, Picks | Premier League Match Preview

Man City vs Aston Villa Predictions, Odds, Picks | Premier League Match Preview article feature image

Michael Regan/Getty. Pictured: Erling Haaland.

Man City vs Aston Villa Predictions

Wednesday, Apr. 3
3:15 p.m. ET
Man City Odds-350
Aston Villa Odds+850
Over / Under
-225/ +175
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Man City are three points back of league leaders Liverpool with nine matches to play in the Premier League season, and the Cityzens will need to start stacking constant wins if they want any chance to chase down the Reds and second place Arsenal. That quest begins on Wednesday at home against Aston Villa, who are challenging Tottenham for fourth place and looking relatively comfortable in their race for Champions League next season given that England is extremely likely to get five spots next year.

The Villans had a comfortable 2-0 win at home against West Midlands rival Wolves on Saturday, but they face new injury questions that continue to test their depth and ability to control matches. Villa beat Manchester City 1-0 in the reverse fixture, and the Cityzens didn't attempt a shot on goal after the 15th minute. It was City's worst performance of the entire season, but Villa's current defense will struggle to keep out a fully healthy and functioning Manchester City attack.

Find my Man City vs Aston Villa prediction and Premier League match preview below.

Man City

Manchester City went with a quite passive lineup defensively in the matchup against Arsenal on Sunday, but Pep Guardiola won't need to be nearly as conservative with his choices against an Aston Villa side that offers very little pressing intensity out of possession. Villa rank 11th in passes per defensive action, which is very low for a team in the top five in the Premier League.

City opted not to start Jack Grealish or Jeremy Doku, instead lining up with a double pivot midfield of Rodri and Mateo Kovacic, four center backs on the backline and Bernando Silva plus Phil Foden as the two wide forwards. Neither player is a natural wide outlet or a player that's going to stretch a defense over the top, and the very narrow City tactical approach is what failed them in the first matchup against Villa.

City have more key players fit for this match — Rodri, Doku, De Bruyne and Grealish all missed the first matchup, and the sheer quantity of attacking talent can overwhelm a Villa defense that has slipped considerably in the second half of the season. Wolves weren't able to punish Villa because all of their key attackers were out, but the lack of midfield ball winning and solidity in Villa's defensive structure makes them quite vulnerable to City's possession dominance and late arriving runs into the penalty area from midfielders.

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Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins, Boubacar Kamara and John McGinn's absences for Aston Villa are key losses for their ability to pull off the away upset and get a result here. McGinn and Kamara were a quality double pivot. When you combined Kamara's ball winning with McGinn's ball carrying in the center of the pitch, Villa were able to hold up in and out of possession against superior sides decently well. Villa built this team around being good in possession and maintaining a high line out of it, and Kamara was one of the few defense-oriented players in the side. It's no surprise that their defensive metrics have declined considerably as teams have adjusted to the high line and as Kamara has remained out through injury.

Watkins has been especially reliable for Unai Emery's side, as he's produced nearly three shots per match, created 0.49 xG per match and totaled 16 goals and 10 assists while playing every match for Aston Villa this season.

The Villans have had excellent attacking outcomes when all three of Watkins, Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby are on the pitch together. The question is whether or not they can withstand the Watkins injury – he's likely back for the weekend — to continue to outscore their porous defense. Given Manchester City's elite quality in possession, it seems dubious to expect Villa to come try to play its classic high line and catch City offside repeatedly.

However, I'm not convinced Villa have the personnel to effectively defend in a lower defensive block style. They also are really poor on set piece defense, which has cost them goals against quality sides all year long. Villa rank dead last in xG per set piece allowed and 17th in big scoring chances conceded.

Man City vs Aston Villa


It's rare that I lay a big spread favorite in the Premier League, but Villa enter this away match really shorthanded without three of their more important players. Their defensive metrics continue to slide into solidly below average in the last two months and Manchester City's attack should be able to expose Villa consistently at home.

It's true that Manchester City have struggled to beat fellow top sides — they haven't won against Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea in the league this year — but it's difficult to see Villa hold up enough defensively to stay within a goal on the road.

Pick: Manchester City -1.5 (-130)

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