Villa v Man City stats: Guzan the man in form ahead of clash
Having left a raft of players out of the squad in the Capital One Cup in midweek there should be a number of first team stars returning to action against City on Saturday. One of those will be Brad Guzan, whose penalty saving heroics helped Villa keep their second clean sheet of the season at Norwich last time out.
The American shone in what was a hard-fought victory for Paul Lambert's side and made nine successful claims from crosses as the Canaries looked to get the ball into the box as often as possible. That total is the most by any keeper in a Premier League match this season and, indeed, a full four more than any other tally thus far. It was even enough to better the record that he held alongside Stoke's Asmir Begovic of eight last season, doing so in the game at Newcastle a year ago.
Such impressive figures helped Villa's keeper on his way to a magnificent WhoScored.com statistical rating of 9.01, which is his best average in any league match under Paul Lambert. With Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring Man City side the visitors this weekend, Villa fans will be hoping that Guzan can recreate his performance against the Manchester outfit from last season.
His six saves and three successful cross claims in the home fixture back in March saw the shot stopper earn a rating of 7.96 from WhoScored.com, which was only beaten by his home display against Reading last November (7.98). While the away team will be heavy favourites going into the game, it's worth considering that City have only scored more than once on one occasion in their last 6 visits to Villa Park, with that match ending in a 4-2 win for the Villans back in 2008.
At the other end much of the focus for Villa will be around the necessity to replace the threat of Christian Benteke, who is set to be sidelined for around four to six weeks. While the Belgian attempted at least one more shot per game than any other teammate last season (3.1), the side have shared out the shooting responsibilities more evenly this time around thus far. In fact, both Andi Weimann and Aleksandar Tonev have had more shots per game than Benteke in the current Premier League campaign (2.2).
Meanwhile, although Gabby Agbonlahor may have only averaged one shot per match this season, Villa's longest serving player has only scored more goals against Everton and Blackburn in his career than he has against Villa's opponents this weekend (5), including a brace in the 4-2 cup win at the Etihad this time last year.
While it's fair to say that most neutrals will have their money on Pellegrini's men this weekend, having put up a stern test for Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool already this season, Lambert's young side have the capacity to cause an upset.
Find yet more statistics on Aston Villa and the rest of the Premier League, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings at WhoScored.com. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.