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Manchester City eyeing top two spot as they visit Villa

Manchester City (odds-on favourites with Coral at 1/2 for victory) are looking to gain further ground on Premier League leaders Chelsea, as they attempt to put their midweek Champions League blues behind them.

Hosts Aston Villa (6/1 to win and pull off what would be their second giant killing of the season), meanwhile, have stumbled a little over the last few weeks, after a bright start to their campaign.

Paul Lambert’s men have endured an incredibly tough schedule of late, with trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge, as well as an encounter with Arsenal, and have taken only three points from those nine.

The Villans can take heart from their recent record against City, though, after defeating the reigning league champions 3-2 at Villa Park last term. Andreas Wiemann, who has been an able deputy for the injured Christian Benteke, netted the winner on that occasion and is 9/1 to be last to score again.

Austria international Wiemann is certainly keen to repeat last campaign’s heroics and claim City’s scalp once more. Speaking recently, he stated: “That win last season at Villa Park was a fantastic moment in the season.

“We were clinical on the day, we took our chances and we were rewarded with a great win. It was a really good afternoon and it would be great to experience that feeling again.”

In their pursuit of a perfect three points, Villa may have an ace up their sleeve, with last term’s top scorer Benteke potentially fit enough to play a part from the bench. The Belgium international recently returned to hit home in a Premier League Under-21s game, and is available at 10/3 to make an instant impact and get a goal anytime against City.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men, meanwhile, are without Samir Nasri, whilst Stevan Jovetic and Fernando are also doubts.

Last time these two sides met, the Sky Blues smashed Villa 4-0, and they are 20/1 to repeat that scoreline again, after Lambert’s side conceded six goals in their last two outings. Under-fire Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure was on hand to net twice in two games against the Villans last term, and is 15/8 to fire home anytime again and silence his critics.

All eyes will also be on Sky Blues stopper Joe Hart, after the England number one briefly lost his place to Pellegrini’s summer buy Willy Caballero.

Hart was reinstated for the crucial Champions League clash against Roma, and is likely to start at Villa Park, but it appears Caballero will be given a fair crack of the whip and chance to impress this season.
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With the pressure mounting on his first team place once more, and rumours circulating over his contract at the Etihad, Hart is 23/20 to be inspired by the uncertainty and help City keep a clean sheet.

Despite only winning four Premier League games out of seven so far this season, Pellegrini’s side are still in touch with the top of the table. Dropping more points at this early stage, though, could see the Sky Blues effectively surrender their title, if the gap with Mourinho’s men is to widen much further.

City will need their main men, Sergio Aguero (7/2 to score two or more), Edin Dzeko (18/1 to hit a hat-trick) or lucky Frank Lampard (9/2 to pop up and score last) to click into top gear and keep the momentum rolling.