Manchester City vs Aston Villa preview: Guardiola launches impassioned defence of club after PL charges

By Ric Turner, Fri 10 February 2023 16:51

Manchester City vs Aston Villa preview: Guardiola launches impassioned defence of club after PL chargesBoss criticises rivals and is convinced club will be proven innocent again

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

Competition: F.A. Premier League

Date: 4.30pm, Sunday 12th February 2023

Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Referee: Robert Jones Assistants: L Betts, I Hussin Fourth Official: C Kavanagh VAR: J Gillett

Odds: City 1/4, Draw 11/2, Villa 11/1

Tickets: Sold out

TV: Sky Sports

Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Squad (from): Ederson, Ortega, Carson, Walker, Dias, Ake,Laporte, Akanji, Gomez, Lewis, Phillips, Gundogan, Grealish, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Foden, Palmer, Perrone, Haaland, Alvarez, Mahrez

Injured: Stones

Doubtful: Foden

Suspended: None

Form guide: LWWWL

Aston Villa

Manager: Unai Emery

Squad (from): Martinez, Olsen, Sinisalo, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Moreno, Chambers, Young, Digne, Bednarek, Luiz, McGinn, Buendia, Coutinho, Dendocker, Ramsey, Kamara, Watkins, Duran, Bailey

Injured: Carlos, Traore, Steer

Doubtful: Dendoncker

Suspended: None

Form guide: DLWWL

Phil Foden has returned to training after missing last Sunday's defeat at White Hart Lane due to an apparent illness. John Stones remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

Friday's press conference was dominated by questions about the Premier League's charges against the club, for alleged breaches of financial rules dataing back to 2009.

Manager Pep Guardiola was in a bullish mood and launched an impassioned defence of the club at the end of a tumultuous week:

"The club proved they were completely innocent [in 2020]," said Guardiola.

"What's happened since Monday is the same as what happened with Uefa. We have already been condemned.

"You have to understand that 19 teams in the Premier League are accusing us without us having the ability to defend.

"We are lucky we live in a marvellous country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

"We didn't have this opportunity, we are already sentenced. I am fully convinced we will be [proven] innocent."

City won their last home game against Villa 3-2, with goals from Ilkay Gundogan (2) and Rodri sealing an incredible comback to help the Blues win the 2021/22 Premier League title. Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva. Overall City have won 79 of the 178 games played against the Villans, with 42 draws and 57 defeats.

Predicted line-up: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Ake, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Frealish, Foden, Haaland

Score prediction: City 3 Villa 1