Venue: Villa Park
Date: 30 January 2016
Kick off: 15:00
UK TV: Not on TV.
Went to training on Tuesday, inflatable bananas on Wednesday. And on Thursday and Friday I trained again, inflatable snakes on Saturday. Took a rest on Sunday.
Fabian Delph’s life has certainly changed since ditching the slums of the relegation zone and embarking on a pursuit of silverware. Delph departed Aston Villa in a way that only his mother could forgive, taking to the camera to pledge his future to the club he had captained in last season’s FA Cup final and then holding up a Manchester City shirt just a week later. It made fantastic viewing for us City fans – we can’t help but enjoy being in the thick of a little controversy – but for the Villa faithful, and the neutrals who value loyalty over trophies, points, their children, their wives and sometimes their own life, this was a heinous act. Now, with a trip to Wembley, a Champions League last 16 tie and a run in that could see us win the Premier League title to look forward to, it’s probable that Fabian isn’t that arsed.
Delph will meet the angry, inflatable snake wielding mob for the second time this evening as we take on Villa in the 4th round of the FA Cup. We’re in for that, too, and Delph will be hopeful of piling more misery onto the side he steered to last season’s final against Arsenal.
Villa are rooted to the bottom of the league but haven’t lost a game since the 2nd of January. They’ve only won one league game since then and were forced into a replay against League Two side Wycombe, but it’s clear that Rémi Garde is tightening his side up a little. That could be a slight worry for us. Even when Villa’s defence was at its most penetrable in November, we failed to hit the back of the net with 13 attempts. Sergio Agüero’s return to form and Kelechi Iheanacho’s impressive record in cup football this term should mean we put our chances away tonight.
Although I feel it’s time to give Sergio a little break with De Bruyne’s injury and Bony’s lack of fitness in mind, it is possible that Manuel will go with the pair later today. Sergio has played every single minute of our last three games and is probably due an injury, so it would probably be wise to give those monstrous legs of his a rest.
Kevin De Bruyne confirmed via his Twitter account that he will be out for the next 10 weeks.
Just got back from the specialist. I’ll be out for around 10 weeks.
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) January 28, 2016
That’s a huge blow for us. Creativity has been a real concern over the last couple of months and no one provides more of it than Kevin. On the bright side, though, the Silva-De Bruyne conundrum has now been (temporarily) solved and we could see David waving his wand once again in the number 10 role he excels in. I’m not surprised that Manuel won’t be going into the market – I think it would be a different story if we’d seen Sergio or Otamendi, two incredibly important and irreplaceable players in their positions at this moment in time, pick up a similar injury – but I am a little concerned about how we’ll cope without Kev’s ability to provide a goal or an assist on such a regular basis.
We’ll also be without Kompany, Kolarov, Mangala and Nasri, but the first three of those names are expected to return to training next week. Villa could welcome back Gabriel Agbonlahor, who had reportedly set his eyes on a move to a Turkish club that rhymes with his quirky surname, from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Alan Hutton and Carlos Sánchez both miss out with hamstring injuries.
Unless Micah and Joleon have a proper ex-City player stormer of a performance which I’ve seen too many times in the past to rule out, I don’t see any problems for us tonight. We’ve progressed in our last three cup meetings against the Villains and can see an exciting Raheem Sterling performance sending us on our way towards another cup final. I’m going for a 2-0 win.
Have a lovely day.
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-01-29″ default_css=”true”]