Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 2012: Preview and TV schedule

Richard Heathcote

Aston Villa continue their difficult run of games as they travel to Manchester to face the English champions.

Manchester City face what ought to be a relatively straightforward task when they take on Aston Villa at home.

The Villans have struggled so far this season under new boss Paul Lambert, and have a difficult run of fixtures, having played Manchester United and now facing the English champions followed by Arsenal.

Despite throwing away a 2-goal lead at home to lose 3-2 against United in their last encounter, Lambert spoke after the game of how well his team played, and will be buoyed by their first half performance, though his side's defending will need to improve if they are to hope to pick anything up from this encounter.

Manchester City are likely to be forced to deploy a more regular 4-2-3-1 formation thanks to defensive injuries preventing a deployment of the back three that Roberto Mancini has been experimenting with this season, although he has plenty of attacking players fit, with David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli all fit and ready to start. With his side currently wedged tightly between Manchester United and Chelsea in the table, City cannot afford to slip up here, and will be expected to win comfortably.

Manchester City injuries and suspensions

Out: James Milner (hamstring), Joleon Lescott (back), Micah Richards (knee.) In doubt: Samir Nasri (illness), Jack Rodwell (hamsting), Matija Nastasic (knee).

Aston Villa injuries and suspensions

Out: Richard Dunne (groin), Chris Herd (knee), Charles N'Zogbia (knee), Joe Bennett (knee). In doubt: Darren Bent (ankle).

Manchester City are suffering from several injuries, with their defence particularly suffering with Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards' absence and Jack Rodwell and Matija Nastasic potentially unavailable. Samir Nasri is also suffering from an illness but could still be fit to take part.

Aston Villa have a similar number of injury problems, with Darren Bent suffering a mysterious injury in their last match which could keep him out. Richard Dunne, Charles N'Zogbia, Chris Herd and Joe Bennett are all set to miss out for the visitors.

Match Date\Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET

Venue: The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

TV: Fox Soccer Plus (U.S.), Sportsnet World (Canada)

Online: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.)

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