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Nervy battle awaits for Man City but will see off safe Villa

Manchester City have won their last five Premier League matches against Aston Villa, with three of the head-to-heads producing five goals and the other two 1-0 victories. Odds of 9/4 say the former achievement can be done again, with the latter scoreline priced at 9/1.

Home side City know that a win (1/6), or even a draw (7/1) – as they hold a superior goal difference over Chelsea and Liverpool – will put them on the front foot going into the final day of the season. They have beaten Villa in all of their last six league games at the Etihad.

The Reds’ agonising recent slip has allowed City to catch up to just one point behind them, with a game in hand, making the Sky Blues new odds-on favourites to reclaim the league title (1/12).

A surprise victory for Villa here, however, and the first time in 90 minutes in all competitions since 2007, would immediately put Liverpool back in charge again and severely dent Manuel Pellegrini’s hopes.

The Villans are now assured of Premier League safety, and City couldn’t be playing them at a better time but, with the pressure now off for the away side and with so much on the Sky Blues, expect a nervy battle.

City will have to fight without leading marksman in all competitions Sergio Aguero, though, after he picked up a groin strain in the win over Everton, so will need to rely on Edin Dzeko again – who scored two that day. Back the big Bosnian to bag a brace or better once more at 5/2, or odds-on at 8/13 to net anytime.

There is better news regarding Yaya Youre, who also left the pitch early against the Toffees, as he is fit to play. The league’s third-top scorer is just one goal away from breaking the 20-goal barrier, and the Ivorian superstar is a 6/5 shot to net anytime.

For Villa, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Joe Bennett are their main doubts.

In City’s last three home games against Villa in the league, they have scored four times or more, so take enticing odds of 7/4 for them to get over 3.5 goals again.