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Aston Villa surprise weakness could be exploited by Man City to offer Premier League title race boost

The business end of the season is here for Manchester City - time to hit top gear.

Pep Guardiola has an awkward challenge to navigate tonight in Aston Villa, who still have plenty to play for as they sit in fourth place. Don’t underestimate Villa, they’ve proven to be a dangerous side.

Villa have beaten Chelsea and Tottenham away from home in the league this season. Unai Emery’s side are the fifth-highest scorers in the division with 62 goals, just one fewer than City's 63, so be in no doubt that Villa will look to get on the front foot and play attacking football.

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Ollie Watkins has been ruled out with a hamstring injury meaning they have lost one of their biggest threats up front. Their talisman has bagged 16 goals and 10 assists so far this campaign.

With City likely to dominate the ball, it could leave them in trouble if Villa launch a quick counter-attack. It’s the kind of game where something could be conjured up out of nothing.

Remember the game at Villa Park? Leon Bailey scored a deflected strike but his purposeful running created the opening for himself to take the effort on. He needs no encouragement, and it’s imperative that whoever he’s matched up against shows him onto his right foot as much as possible.

Emery’s team have had plenty of joy when pressing the opposition high this season, so it’s vital that City are clean and crisp on the ball in the middle of the park. Rodri will be the anchor, and the rest of the players need to take care when in possession. John McGinn, who’s suspended for tonight, nearly profited from Bernardo Silva carelessly

Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk