Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Villa vs Man City

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Remi Garde has already declared he isn’t a magic man, but he’s going to have to conjure up something pretty good if his new team are going to avoid a thrashing this Sunday. The Villans managed to threaten Tottenham for a short spell in their last match, but that was about it—Spurs dominated, and City will probably do the same. Rock bottom in the table and their morale shot—Garde needs to stop Villa leaking goals and start scoring them instead. Manchester City arrive having seen off Sevilla in the Champions League and will be looking to roll over Villa in a routine win. It’s hard to see an upset being on the cards.

DEFENDER

Joleon Lescott

Lescott managed to keep Harry Kane fairly quiet last time out, even though the Spurs man did score. Against his old team though, Lescott will have to pull a real performance out of the bag, and there are question marks over whether he can actually make a difference any more. For West Brom he was solid and dependable but for Villa he’s too often been a liability. Lescott has made just over a tackle per game since joining—an indicator that he is susceptible to speed since he’s relying on clearances and interceptions to win the ball back. What Villa need is his experience and nous as a defender to help them break their losing streak—but is Lescott still the man to do that on the big stage?

MIDFIELDER

Fernandinho

The Brazilian midfielder’s goal against Sevilla may not have looked all that impressive—but his speed and effort to get into position was indicative of his great play this season. City made Sevilla look very ordinary, no mean feat—and it was largely down to the great play of Fernandinho. Aston Villa have no one in their squad, never mind their first XI, that can match Fernandinho in midfield, so expect him to be heavily involved in everything good that the Citizens do.

STRIKER

Raheem Sterling

The young Englishman has really learned how to finish this season, with his goal midweek a brilliant highlight of his talent and composure. With the passing excellence of some of his new teammates, Sterling has been able to focus on accelerating past defenders into goal-scoring positions. He is looking more and more like a natural fit in this side—I may have been sceptical as to whether he was worth the blockbuster fee paid, but he doesn’t appear to have been a ‘galactico’ type signing just for the sake of making headlines. Sterling is the real deal.

HONOURABLE MENTION

David Silva

I love writing about David Silva because it’s an opportunity to really wax lyrical. He is such a magnificent playmaker—he could probably play for any team in the world, and we are lucky as fans to have him plying his trade in England.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.