Aston Villa vs. Manchester City: 4 Key Battles That Will Decide the Contest
This was City in their finest form; unbeaten in the league still and top of the table a point ahead of their city rivals Manchester United.
Two goals each for Argentinian pair Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez sealed the game as a contest in the second half, but with the Citizens struggling for form, could Roberto Mancini's side record yet another convincing victory?
With Aguero and Tevez key last time, the Italian will be hoping they can they produce the goods and help the Blues overcome Paul Lambert's men again, this time at Villa Park.
A win would certainly do wonders for their confidence, but the Villains are looking to secure three priceless points to ensure their survival in the Premier League. They have already beaten City this season in the League Cup.
Here are the key battles which could see this game also swing in their favor.
Brad Guzan vs Sergio Aguero
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He may have cost Manchester City a club record £38 million, but Sergio Aguero has proved to be worthy every single penny.
The 24-year-old striker, who has hit 32 goals in just 56 Premier League appearances since joining from Atletico Madrid, has been a revelation since being brought in.
Likened to his step-father Diego Maradona with his tendency to run at defenders with pace and precise dribbling, Aguero is a danger man in the final third. His form has been hit lately due to issues off the pitch, but Roberto Mancini will be hoping Aguero can find form again at Villa Park.
The man in his way, Brad Guzan, may have other plans, however.
Perhaps the American has been spurred on both former Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel, now at Tottenham. Either way, Guzan has forced his way past Shay Given to become the first choice goalkeeper.
The 28-year-old's shot stopping ability has enabled him to become one of the key men under Paul Lambert, although it represents how poor their season has been.
The defenders in front of him have let him down once too often this season, and he'll be hoping they can make a decent showing when they lock horns for the third time this campaign.
Christian Benteke vs Vincent Kompany
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Widely seen as the nearest English football has to Didier Drogba, Christian Benteke has certainly hit the ground running at Aston Villa.
It's just too bad his teammates have not.
The 22-year-old Belgium international, who has hit 11 Premier League goals in 24 games since his £7 million move from Standard Liege last summer, has attracted interest from clubs due to his impressive showings for the West Midlands club.
Even Manchester City are said to have run the rule over the highly-rated forward, but Benteke seems happy enough to stay at the club, as long as they stay up.
Facing up against his compatriot will be no easy task, however, with Kompany renowned as one of the most solid defenders in the league at present.
With both way above six feet and possessing bulky frames, it could be an enticing battle. Benteke likes playing on home turf, and this could see him triumph in the "Battle of the Belgians."
Fabian Delph vs Yaya Toure
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His career may have stagnated for some periods of time, but Fabian Delph is finally back on track. But he faces a man who could quite easily send him straight back into the dark days. Meet Yaya Toure, everybody...
His £6 million move from Leeds has previously looked to be something of a flop, with Delph suffering from injury problems since his transfer two years ago.
A capable passer of the ball, the 22-year-old is able to spread the play well, although his slight frame means he can be outmuscled in the midfield.
And that's where Toure can mark his influence in the game. The Ivorian is a massive presence in the City midfield, often making charging runs forward and scored against Chelsea in a 2-0 win on Sunday.
Toure is at times guilty of going quiet in the big games, but when on form, he is one of the best in the world in his position.
Villa will be praying he has an off day...
Charles N'Zogbia vs James Milner
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It would be accurate to say that James Milner and Charles N'Zogbia know more than what the usual teammate relationship consists of.
After playing together at Newcastle United, the pair went their separate ways, with N'Zogbia opting for regular football at Wigan, while Milner eventually made the move to Aston Villa.
Hard-working Milner is the prime example of how work rate can get a player into a team filled with world class players. The England wide man will be the first to admit he's slightly out of depth in a team inundated with stars, yet he never fails to impress.
N'Zogbia on the other hand is more of a luxury; when he's on song, there aren't too many better technicians with a left foot like his.
But the Frenchman needs to have more influence in games for Aston Villa. He has the potential to play a Hatem Ben Arfa-type role against City providing he makes a good start.
Either way, whoever succeeds in this battle could be the provider for the winner. It's left vs right, and it's on ladies and gentlemen.