Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 15:00
– City and Villa took part in very contrasting endings to their matches last weekend. Manchester City were pushed all the way by Spurs before coming from behind to win at home, while Villa led Manchester United 2-1 before capitulating to a 3-2 defeat.
– Edin Dzeko may not want to be seen as a ‘super-sub’, but the label fits as 5 of Dzeko’s 6 league goals this season have come as a substitute and 3 have proved decisive in winning matches, against Fulham, West Brom and Spurs.
– Dzeko now has six goals so far this season, averaging one every 71 minutes and 10 seconds and getting them from just 25 efforts at goal
– Former Villa star Gareth Barry clocked 7.31miles against Spurs, the most out of any player on the pitch and the fourth highest by a player in a single game all season. Aleksander Kolarov also put in an impressive shift, covering 7.3 miles, sitting just behind Barry in 5th in the individual distance covered charts this season.
– The overall City performance of 68.66 miles covered in the game is the most by team in a single fixture this season, trumping Southampton’s 67.85 miles v Fulham
– Barry has been City’s hardest worker in 3 of his 7 games in the league this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and will undoubtedly want to put in a hard working performance against his former club.
– Sergio Aguero was also on target against Spurs with his third Premier League goal of the season, and more are surely on the way as the Argentine striker has an impressive shots on target percentage of 64%.
– Aston Villa looked to have dealt Manchester United their 3rd league defeat of the season until a dramatic comeback broke Villa hearts. It was a performance, however, which Villa can build on and will have given players and fans belief they are heading in the right direction.
– A loss at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon could see Villa in the relegation zone, if Reading beat Everton at home.
– The manner of the loss to Manchester United last weekend would have been hard to take, however Villa can take heart from their performance, particularly as 7 players in the side Paul Lambert fielded were 23 or younger, including 22-year-old Enda Stevens who made his full league debut.
– Another young player, Ashley Westwood, covered the most ground in the game with 7.16 miles, the tenth highest by a player in a single game this season and the most by a Villa player, breaking his own record of 7.01 miles from the previous game.
– Goals either side of half time from Andreas Weimann, the Austrian’s first league goals of the season, looked to have set up a famous win in front of a sell-out crowd, before United turned the game on its head in seven second-half minutes. Weimann had previously had 14 attempts at goal though he had an impressive 71% on target, showing that if his team mates provide the opportunities he will test the goalkeeper.
– Fellow striker Christian Benteke is showing a similarly impressive eye for goal, getting 63% of his efforts on target.
– Ron Vlaar was unfortunate to concede an own goal in the game as he has been one of Villa’s stand out performers this season. The Dutch defender has made the 2nd most clearances in the league with 32 in 11 appearances including an incredible 11 against Manchester United, the most by a single player in a game this season.
– Vlaar is also joint 5th in the league for blocks (11), behind James Collins (15), Ryan Nelson (14), Ashley Williams (13) and Olsson, Gary Caldwell and Carols Cuellar who have each made 12 blocks.