While City may be struggling, Villa are in disarray having only won three league matches all season to leave them eight points adrift of safety with 10 games to go.

Manager Remi Garde acknowledges that facing City and high-flying Tottenham in their next two matches is far from ideal, but urged his players to stick together and fight for survival.

“We are now coming into games against teams at the top of the table at the end of the season, which is not a good thing because points are crucial for them as well as us,” he told the club’s official website.

“But in football you never know. Sometimes games are going in a way that no one has expected before.

“We must ensure we are not focused too much on our opponents – we have to focus on what we can improve and what we can do.

“I said to them [the players] that in difficult situations like this one we have to stick all together. This is the first thing we have to do – and if we don’t do this, we have no chance.

“It’s already very difficult outside the changing room and I don’t want anyone in the group to add problems within us. We will stick together and look to win the next game.”

That will be an extremely tough ask, as City have won seven and lost just one of the last nine league clashes with Villa.

Villa, who held City to a 0-0 draw in Garde’s first game in charge in November, have failed to score in six of the last eight league encounters against them.

City will check on Yaya Toure’s foot injury ahead of the game after he missed the Liverpool defeat, while Villa are not expected to welcome any of their injured players – including Jack Grealish (ankle) – back in time to>