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Man City can strengthen Premier League top four status as Aston Villa visit

Manuel Pellegrini has five matches left to convince his employers that he is worthy of staying for at least another season at the Etihad in charge of defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

His side are odds-on at 2/7 to take three points off Aston Villa this time out and, while the league title is realistically out of sight with Chelsea showing no signs of letting up, finishing above fierce rivals Manchester United could be the difference between the Chilean keeping his job.

He will be hoping that Yaya Toure can produce the type of form from previous games against the West Midlands club. The Ivorian has scored in his last three meetings with Villa, and is 7/4 to net anytime.

In the reverse, City ran out 2-0 winners, with Sergio Aguero adding to Toure’s opener, and the Argentinian is 11/4 to break the deadlock against Tim Sherwood’s side, and will have one eye on topping the Premier League goalscorer charts, being currently tied on 20 strikes with Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

Last time out, City put an end to a streak of two matches unbeaten, running out 2-0 winners over West Ham, with Aguero adding to a James Collins own goal. James Milner, who has carried City at times this term, and who is out of contract in the summer, is 2/1 to score anytime against his former club, while Spanish schemer David Silva is available at 9/2 to break the deadlock.

The visitors, though, will still be on a high after their excellent Wembley win over Liverpool in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, especially with scorers in that match, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke in top form.

They are superbly priced at 6/1 and 11/4 respectively to net anytime, and the whole team will have the belief that they can go to the Etihad and leave with all three points. A belief that has been instilled marvellously into them by Sherwood since he took over in February.

“We certainly have belief we can go to Man City and get something, we believe that,” Sherwood said.

“There is an expectancy amongst our supporters now. We felt that certainly at Wembley, that they expected us to go there and get something and we did.

“We have to take a lot of confidence from that. I keep telling the boys not to be scared.”

Villa’s manager also said he spoke to youngster Jack Grealish (5/1 anytime scorer) after pictures emerged of the 19-year-old inhaling laughing gas.

“I’m not pleased obviously. I spoke to Jack, I explained to him his behaviour can’t be tolerated by the football club, we can’t condone that behaviour,” Sherwood continued.

“It doesn’t matter how young he is, he is now in a responsible position as a professional footballer, he’s got to make sure it won’t happen again, he’s assured me it won’t.”