The Citizens presently lead Liverpool by one point at the top of the table, with the Lions still having a chance to finish in the top half.
- Kyle Walker and John Stones both returned to squad training earlier this week amid initial worries of missing the remainder of the season.
- If Stones is well enough, he could replace Fernandinho at center-back, although Walker may not be risked. Meanwhile, Guardiola will be without Ruben Dias due to his current hamstring injury.
- Guardiola made no substitutions at the London Stadium and may choose to maintain Grealish in the starting lineup against his former club, while Raheem Sterling might return if penalty hero Riyad Mahrez is replaced.
- Ezri Konsa, a Villa defender, has begun his 16-week recuperation from a catastrophic knee injury, and he is joined in the treatment room by Kortney Hause, who is dealing with an abdominal condition.
- Due to a foot ailment, Leon Bailey has an uphill struggle to make himself ready, and Gerrard may be tempted to make a few of changes, starting with Bertrand Traore or Philippe Coutinho replacing Carney Chukwuemeka.
- While Hause and Konsa are out, Cal Chambers will continue to join Mings at the defense, while Danny Ings, another former Liverpool player, might give some welcome fresh legs in the final third.
Stones and Walker’s potential and unexpectedly swift returns are gold dust for City, whose offensive talents are never questioned before they face a porous and depleted Aston Villa defense.
With a top-half finish looking increasingly unlikely, Villa is playing for dignity this week, and the out-of-form Lions should expect a thrashing at Etihad Stadium as City hold the trophy aloft in front of their adoring supporters.
Our prediction is Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa.
Manchester City: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Grealish;
Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Coutinho; Watkins, Ings;