Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City face Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in the late kick-off on Saturday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side kick-off the game in fourth position in the Premier League table and not even guaranteed a place in the Champions League for next season.
The Citizens are currently six points clear of fourth-place Tottenham, but Liverpool could move within four points of the reigning champions.
Usually that lead would be enough to keep the Citizens confident of achieving a Champions League place. However, in recent months City’s results have not always been predictable, as they have suffered a few slightly unexpected results.
City have lost four out of their last six games in all competitions, but last time out Pellegrini’s side claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium.
Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero is one of the Premier League’s outstanding talents. The 26-year-old is currently joint-top scorer in the Premier League on 20 goals alongside Tottenham’s Harry Kane, despite missing a spell earlier in the season through injury.
Aguero had gone six Premier League games without scoring, prior to his derby double at Manchester United in a 4-2 defeat. By Aguero’s standards that was a big goal drought.
However, Aguero now has three Premier League goals in his last two games. His goals are vital for the Citizens. His goal draught coincided with City’s poor run of form and his team dropping out the race for the Premier League title.
Aguero needs to continue his in the similar vein as in recent games and help the Citizens pick-up wins to claim a vital automatic Champions League spot for next season.
Depending on what reports you read Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini could be a dead man walking at the moment. The minimum requirement for City you would expect for the Chilean now would be an automatic Champions League spot.
Even that may not be enough to save Pellegrini’s job at City. The Citizens have been linked with moves for a number of other high-profile bosses, including outgoing Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and Napoli’s Rafa Benitez.
Pellegrini knows his team should have the quality to finish in the top four and should really be challenging for the title. His players have at times let him and the club down. All he can do now is set-up his team the best he can and hope that his players can start to rediscover their best form.
Aston Villa have endured a poor Premier League campaign, but in recent weeks things have got better under former-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood. Last weekend the Villans confirmed their place in the FA Cup final against Arsenal, after defeating Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley.
Villa have also scrambled away from the Premier League relegation zone and are now six points clear of the dreaded drop zone. Sherwood seems to have changed the mood at the club from the Midlands and they are not the pushovers they were earlier in the season under Paul Lambert.
Villa are not quite clear of the relegation zone and are still in need of points to confirm their place in the Premier League for next season. The Villans may be underdogs, but City’s confidence is fragile.
In Belgium international striker Christian Benteke Villa have a striker who has scored eight goals in his last six Premier League appearances. The former-Genk striker is now being linked with a big money move to Manchester United this summer.
City have not exactly been solid in defence in recent games and the 24-year-old could be a major threat to that fragile City defence on Saturday. He certainly has the ability to trouble those City defenders.
Pellegrini’s side have to be fancied to claim victory in this clash, after winning the last seven home games against the Villans. Anything other than a home win would be a major blow for the Chilean and his reigning champions.
Will Manchester City claim a victory over Aston Villa?