Manchester City-Aston Villa Preview

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola expects to see the best of Jack Grealish this season ahead of a potential reunion with Aston Villa on Wednesday.

City are a point behind league leaders Chelsea after a 2-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday.

Grealish, who left Villa for City in a British record £100-million move ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, has been out injured but could be fit for a potential return against his former club.

Asked when City fans can expect the best of Grealish, Guardiola responded: " He has started perfectly.

"If you analyse games, he hasn't played badly. The way we play and our expectations are different to Villa

"Now he has come back from the international break injured. Hopefully he comes back and step by step finds his form.

"We have six, seven months ahead of us. I don't think we will have to wait until next season to see the best Jack Grealish - I'm thinking this season."

Villa are two from two under the stewardship of new head coach Steven Gerrard following a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace and the former Liverpool midfielder insisted his side will not be distracted by Grealish's return.

"I don't think we will be distracted by it because we've got such a big task to focus on - the strengths of the team we're facing and what we have to do in terms of the game.

"This is his club and it will be when his career is over, because he was here as a little boy and he has come through the academy.

"The club have benefited a lot from what Jack has given and we very much wish him well moving forward for the remainder of his career. Obviously not for 90 minutes tomorrow."

Aston Villa - Ashley Young

Ashley Young registered his 42nd Premier League assist for Aston Villa in their win over Crystal Palace, a record for the club in Premier League history. He has assisted in his last two Premier League appearances, and at 36 years and 145 days on the day of this game, he would become the oldest Englishman to assist in three consecutive games, breaking Chris Waddle's record from 1997 (36y 126d).

Manchester City - Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan both scored and assisted for Manchester City in their 2-1 win over West Ham, the first time he'd done both in a Premier League game since September 2018 against Cardiff City. He has created 19 chances for City in the Premier League this season, a tally only Jack Grealish can better (26).

- Man City boss Pep Guardiola has lost just three of his 64 Premier League games against English managers (W56 D5), with those defeats coming against Roy Hodgson (December 2018), Frank Lampard (June 2020) and Graham Potter (May 2021). Steven Gerrard will be the 19th different English manager he's faced in the competition, only failing to win his first meeting against two of the previous 18 - who both have the first name Steve (Agnew and Bruce).

- 14 of Aston Villa's 18 Premier League goals this season have come in the second half of games (78%), with six of those strikes coming in the final 10 minutes - including three of their four so far under Steven Gerrard.

- Aston Villa have won both of their Premier League games under Steven Gerrard so far - in the club's history, no manager has won either their first three top-flight games, or first three games in all competitions in charge of the Villans.

- Manchester City have won 10 of their last 11 meetings with Aston Villa in all competitions (D1) since a 3-2 loss at Villa Park in September 2013.

- Manchester City have won each of their last 15 Premier League games played on a Wednesday, scoring 36 goals and conceding just six. Only Liverpool (21 on Saturdays between 2018 and 2020) and Man City themselves (17 on Saturdays between 2017 and 2018) have had longer winning runs on a specific day of the week in the competition.

Updated November 30, 2021

@STATS_Football