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City and Mancini aim for Victory against Villa

Manchester City’s demanding December period comes to end on Tuesday as they face an Aston Villa side who are hovering a little too close to the Premier League relegation zone.

Gerard Houllier’s men were on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline on Boxing Day at home to Tottenham and find themselves stuck just four points above the bottom three. After collecting just ten points from the last 12 matches and just four from eight away games, a trip next to Chelsea is something Houllier would have preferred to avoid, let alone a tricky visit to Eastlands.

Veteran forward Emile Heskey looks unlikely to be involved after limping off on Sunday, whilst Ashley Young is still unavailable for selection. Stiliyan Petrov made a second-half appearance in the Villa midfield that is seriously lacking experience, and should be considered a favourite to start this time around.

City, on the other hand, enjoyed a much better post-Christmas game, beating Newcastle 3-1 with Gareth Barry playing an influential role; scoring one and subduing the home team throughout. The England midfielder is 20/1 to score the first goal of the match, or 13/2 to find the net at any point during the match, with a Blues 2-1 win priced at 15/2.

Defender Kolo Toure is set to return for Roberto Mancini’s side after completing his one-match ban. He will replace Joleon Lescott who started against Newcastle. City have won seven of their last eight home league matches in this fixture, which is highlighted in the odds of 11/10 for a home win. 15 points separate the sides in the league, however Blues boss Mancini is well aware how quickly situations can change:

“It has been a strange season because there isn't at the moment one team which has 10 points more than anyone else” Mancini stated. “Every game is difficult for each team. We must only continue to improve if it is possible.”

A win against the Midlands club will put City top of the Premier League for the first time in three and a half years, whilst nearest rivals Manchester United do not kick-off until later in the evening. It may be worth remembering that the last time City had that opportunity, they lost at home to Everton.

Bet Highlight

A home win is more than expected, so stick to the scoring odds: 2-0 is currently 6/1, whilst 4-1 is a higher 22/1.

Premier League 09/10:

Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester City

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