Citizens aim to extend unbeaten run


Manchester City will aim to return to the top of the Premier League table – for 24 hours at least – when they make the trip to take on Aston Villa on Saturday evening.
The champions put six past Nottingham Forest without reply in midweek, while Steven Gerrard’s side went down 2-1 to early pacesetters Arsenal.
Steven Gerrard can take solace in the fact that he will not be the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season – that unwanted honour belongs to Scott Parker – but the 42-year-old has admitted that he is fearing for his future in the Villa hotseat.
The Citizens have continued their theme of scoring at least twice in a Premier League match to rack up a league-leading 19 in total so far this term, and not since March’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace have City not found the back of the net at least twice in the top flight – a remarkable streak of 14 matches.
Now aiming to make it 18 games unbeaten in the Premier League, Man City could only win 2-1 at Villa Park last term before the final-day drama that unfolded at the Etihad, as Gerrard’s side failed to hang on to a 2-0 lead and ultimately lost 3-2 before the title celebrations commenced.
Villa demonstrated a greater sense of urgency in the second 45 minutes, the scoreline certainly flattered Gerrard’s men, who have now suffered three straight Premier League defeats – all to London clubs – and can only boast three points from a possible 15 so far.
Such dismal fortunes leave the Lions below the dotted line in 19th, and while there is still a lot of football to be played in the coming months, the early signs of discontent can be heard across the West Midlands as Gerrard desperately tries to find the formula to best the champions.
Now without a clean sheet in 10 Premier League matches dating back to April’s 2-0 victory over Norwich City, Villa’s defensive frailties could certainly be exposed by City’s in-form marksman Erling Braut Haaland, whose name has already been etched into the history books.
With Liverpool faltering in the early stages of the new season, only Guardiola’s former student Arteta has managed to glean more points with his side in their opening five games, and City’s 13 points sees them sit two behind the table-topping Gunners, who are not in action until Sunday against Manchester United.