Manchester City on Sunday, an opportunity for Vassilevat and Pepe Reina

So, that result against Leicester was a surprise. A nice surprise and one I didn't see coming. And it's put us in a very good position for the second leg at Villa Park. And you all know my views on silverware. And if we can get past Leicester the team we would likely meet in the final is the team we play on Sunday.

And we all know they are decent. I mean, they've spent more money than most and while they've made money also, they've still spent it. They've still got those players that have cost a lot of money. But we need to look at Leicester the other night to how we might approach Sunday.

You see, not starting with a recognised striker is possibly what we might do this weekend even if it means another match that looks like Leicester. But it worked and with Drinkwater maybe starting too, it might look different.

But I think Manchester City are different to Leicester. They have more quality and they'll do more damage against us if we set ourselves up this way. I'm also fairly confident this isn't why we brought Drinkwater in. I think also with Wes out and Kodjia seemingly of little interest to the manager, it's possible we might even see the young Vassilevat start. We're not going to get anything against Manchester City if the ball is in our half most of the time.

But the Leicester result should give us reason for optimism and the manager wasn't entirely happy with the performance. He's had a couple of days and if we can just use the wingers and if we do start with a striker and we can get crosses in, we give ourselves a chance. It's more than that, but it's not much more. And the rest, we have most of it in place.

In other news if you hadn't heard it looks like Pepe Reina will be joining on loan until the end of the season on Monday.


Match facts from the BBC


  • Aston Villa have lost nine of their past 11 Premier League meetings with Manchester City. Their only victory in that run came back in September 2013.
  • City have kept a clean sheet in eight of the last 10 league encounters.
  • They have beaten the Villans by an aggregate score of 11-0 in their last three matches in all competitions.

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa have earned six points from their past three league games, which is two more than they managed in their previous nine.
  • Dean Smith's side have only managed one point from their 10 matches against teams who begin this matchround in the top half of the table.
  • Villa have won only three of their 49 Premier League matches against the reigning champions, losing the last 11 in a row.
  • They have scored 27 league goals this season, as many as they managed in the whole of their most recent season in the top flight in 2015-16.
  • Jack Grealish has carried the ball a league-high distance of 5,624 metres and has created an unrivalled 24 chances following a ball carry this season.
  • Grealish has scored six league goals in 19 appearances, equalling his career-best tally set in the Championship last season.

Manchester City

  • Manchester City have dropped 19 points in 21 league matches this season. They dropped 14 points in the whole of the 2017-18 campaign and 16 points in 2018-19.
  • City have been trailing for five hours and seven minutes in the league this season, which is 22 minutes more than they had in their previous two campaigns combined.
  • Under Pep Guardiola, City have lost three of their four Premier League away games in January, winning only against Huddersfield last year.
  • They have conceded 14 goals in 10 away league games this season, three more than they did in 19 games on the road last term.
  • Since the start of the 2011-12 season, no player has scored more Premier League goals against newly-promoted teams than Sergio Aguero's 31.