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A few Man City fans may have prematurely got the bottles of champagne out when Nathan Redmond gave Southampton the lead against Liverpool, but the Reds turned the tie around to ensure that the race for glory would go right down to the final day.
Pep Guardiola‘s side would only need a point this weekend had they secured victory over West Ham United, but a disjointed side went 2-0 behind to Jarrod Bowen‘s brace before Jack Grealish and a Vladimir Coufal own goal rescued a point for the league leaders.
Regardless of what happens during Liverpool’s meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, victory for Man City would see them lift the Premier League trophy for the sixth time in 11 seasons, and a draw would also suffice if Jurgen Klopp‘s side slip up.
Guardiola will certainly not set his side up to draw, though, especially with City now finding the back of the net at least twice in their last eight Premier League matches, and their unbeaten run in the top flight now stands at 11 games.
The Citizens have also eased to three consecutive home wins over Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford and Newcastle United in the past few weeks – scoring 13 goals and conceding just one – and Guardiola’s 100% record of five wins from five on the final day is also on the line here
City could yet be handed a couple of injury boosts ahead of the final day of the season, with Kyle Walker and John Stones both returning to team training earlier this week after initial fears that they would miss the rest of the campaign.
Stones could displace Fernandinho at centre-back if he is fit enough, but Walker may not be risked, and Guardiola will definitely be without Ruben Dias and his new hamstring injury.
Guardiola did not make a single substitution at the London Stadium and may elect to keep Grealish in the starting XI against his former club, although Raheem Sterling could still return if penalty villain Riyad Mahrez makes way.
As for Villa, defender Ezri Konsa has begun his 16-week road to recovery from a serious knee injury, and he is joined in the treatment room by Kortney Hause and his troublesome abdominal problem.
Leon Bailey is also facing an uphill battle to make himself available due to a foot injury, and the quick turnaround should tempt Gerrard into a couple of alterations, starting with either Bertrand Traore or Philippe Coutinho displacing Carney Chukwuemeka.
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Calum Chambers will continue to partner Mings at the back while Hause and Konsa remain out, while Danny Ings – another former Liverpool man – could provide some welcome fresh legs in the final third.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Grealish
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Coutinho; Watkins, Ings