Man City vs Aston Villa LIVE: Premier League result and reaction as Phil Foden hat-trick continues title chase

Phil Foden’s sublime hat-trick fired Manchester City to victory against Aston Villa to keep up their pursuit of Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

Mikel Areta’s side went top earlier on Wednesday evening with a win over Luton but the defending champions ensured they remained in touch with a strong 4-1 victory.

While it was a controlled collective performance, they had Foden to thank for a commanding victory. After Jhon Duran had responded to Rodri’s early opener, the England international curled home a free kick to nudge Manchester City in front just before the interval.

Foden then swept home from the edge of the box before producing a magnificent strike from distance to complete his hat-trick and secure all three points. It meant Pep Guardiola could leave Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, with the two stars rested in a hectic fortnight of football.

Unai Emery’s visitors were without an injured Ollie Watkins and suspended John McGinn, and struggled to produce consistent threat. Aston Villa remain fourth, two points ahead of Tottenham, who have a game in hand.

Re-live all the action below, plus get the latest Premier League odds and tips right here:

Man City vs Aston Villa LIVE

  • GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 Aston Villa (Rodri, 11 minutes)

  • GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 ASTON VILLA (Jhon Duran, 20 minutes)

  • GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 45 minutes)

  • HT: Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa

  • GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 3-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 62 minutes)

  • GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 70 minutes)

  • FULL TIME: Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa

Manchester City FC 4 - 1 Aston Villa FC

Phil Foden’s imperious hat-trick against Aston Villa revitalises Manchester City’s title challenge

22:30 , Richard Jolly

If hat-tricks used to be Erling Haaland’s personal domain, a rival is emerging. The Norwegian may have the largest collection of match balls at Manchester City but he had a watching brief as Phil Foden scored his second treble of 2024 and his third in 19 months. For someone who isn’t a striker, Foden is contriving to outscore virtually all of them – if not his Norwegian teammate – and his evisceration of Aston Villa took him into previously uncharted territory. He now has 21 goals for the season, reaching 20 for the first time in his career.

Phil Foden’s hat-trick against Aston Villa revitalises Man City’s title challenge

Phil Foden: I’m loving my football at the moment

22:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I’m just loving my football at the moment. I know I am capable of scoring goals, and today I showed that. I’m delighted.

“I always want to better last season, get more goal contributions. I’m doing more. I see myself as a really technical player and I think I can do that more in the middle. The manager has said before that I will grow into that position because I was always going so quick; I think I’m getting the balance right.

“I always try to arrive in the box. You get at least five goals in the season arriving in the box late. There’s still a lot to improve on. I don’t actually practice free kicks, but I felt confident, and Julian gave it to me. It worked out!”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa

22:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

So Manchester City move to within a point of Arsenal and the summit of the Premier League table, though Liverpool will be back on top if they beat Sheffield United tomorrow night. Pep Guardiola will be pleased to have got through the game unscathed, with a fresh Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne to bring back in.

Rodri speaks to TNT Sports after Manchester City’s win

22:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Today we played amazing from the first minute. We conceded the goal, but we kept pace in the game, and in general it was one of the best of the season.

“We knew that we had to have more players in the box from the game against Arsenal. That was the message from the beginning of the game. I want to help the team as much as possible - it’s not my role to score goals, but I know I can do more in the final third. It’s something I’ve been working on and focussing on.

“Phil Foden has grown every year since I’ve been here. He can score from wherever he wants. He has a special quality - I’m so happy for him.”


22:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 90 + 3 minutes

22:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Almost five! Sergio Gomez clips Josko Gvardiol’s cutback goalwards, but strikes the outside of the post.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 90 minutes

22:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An untimely loss of footing for Leon Bailey, showing off his impressive stride length until his studs fail him.

Into four added minutes...and a great chance for Alex Moreno! The full-back arrives at the far post onto a corner which seems to have cleared everyone, but can’t make contact on the half volley.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 86 minutes

22:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa aren’t chasing overly hard, the legs weary and the task too tall. Brentford, who drew 0-0 in a snoozefest with Brighton earlier, are the visitors to Villa Park on Saturday.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 83 minutes

22:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Manchester City of course have a tight turnaround to Saturday lunchtime’s encounter with Crystal Palace, something that Pep Guardiola was already chuntering about ahead of kick off. Right now, though, the Manchester City manager looks rather more content than his Aston Villa counterpart, Unai Emery cutting an exasperated figure on the touchline as his chase fruitlessly with the hosts calm in possession.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 79 minutes

21:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Matheus Nunes turns in midfield and surges forward, releasing a drive that rises and rises over the crossbar.

Phil Foden’s night is over. He takes an ovation from the crowd as Oscar Bobb replaces him, with Sergio Gomez also stepping in for Jeremy Doku.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 77 minutes

21:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Unai Emery looks to one of his youngsters to launch a dramatic comeback. Omari Kellyman makes his Premier League debut, replacing Nicolo Zaniolo.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 73 minutes

21:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Here they come - Rodri and Bernardo Silva will get 20 minutes or so of rest.

Manchester City 4-1 Aston Villa, 73 minutes

21:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

With no need to deploy either Erling Haaland nor Kevin De Bruyne at this juncture, Pep Guardiola instead turns to a pair of midfield workers, Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic being prepared for introduction.

GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 70 minutes)

21:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A magnificent way to complete a hat-trick!

So, so pure. It’s a superb finish from Phil Foden, rifling into the top corner with a hint of away movement from 25 yards to leave Robin Olsen, and Aston Villa, comfortably beaten. Sublime!

Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa, 67 minutes

21:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A heavy touch from Ezri Konsa allows Jack Grealish to pilfer from his purse, the England international connecting with Bernardo Silva. Silva tees up Rodri on the edge of the area, but the Spaniard passes up a shooting opportunity in the hope of cultivating a better one - something he fails to do.

His work for this goal was rather better:

Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa, 65 minutes

21:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A triple change from Aston Villa as they bid to battle back. On come Youri Tielemans, Callum Chambers and Leon Bailey for Moussa Diaby, Douglas Luiz and Tim Iroegbunam.

GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 3-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 62 minutes)

21:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A second of the night and 20th goal of the season for Phil Foden!

A smart first-time finish but give the credit to Rodri. The Spaniard has been keen to be involved in the final third tonight and rides a challenge to move into advanced territory, showing off some fancy footwork thereafter to create an opening through he can thread a pass. It’s hit at an inviting pace for Foden to strike with his left peg first time and exted his side’s advantage.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 61 minutes

21:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It would appear that Unai Emery will be first to twist - Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans are being readied.

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 57 minutes

21:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No sign of movement on either bench so far, despite a relatively high tempo. There’s still plenty of energy out there, and this is a busy couple of weeks for both clubs, but might we see a change soon? Erling Haaland, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne trot out to warm-up to a cheer.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 55 minutes

21:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tipped over the bar! A brilliant break from Aston Villa, Douglas Luiz finding Moussa Diaby, whose blind ball back to the Brazilian is neat. Luiz strikes it first time and Stefan Ortega is forced into some acrobatics to deny him an equaliser.

Top stop again! Ortega springs into life once more after Clement Lenglet flicks the corner across goal.

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 53 minutes

21:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jeremy Doku tests Robin Olsen again, showing off those sweet feet to create a yard past Lucas Digne but not quite producing the requisite power on his low shot. Olsen gathers.

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 51 minutes

21:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A few half-hearted penalty appeals as Rodri topples in the Aston Villa box, but any contact was outside of the area, and minimal. VAR John Brooks has a quick look and agrees with the on-field call.

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 48 minutes

21:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Bashed away! There’s a suspicion of offside in the build-up but the linesman’s flag stays down even after Jeremy Doku’s fierce strike is battered back by Robin Olsen.

An even better save! Phil Foden slips in Bernardo Silva, but the midfielder can’t beat an onrushing Olsen, who spreads himself and keeps it out.

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 47 minutes

21:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tim Iroegbunam nips in to pinch the pocket of Julian Alvarez to send the visitors forward on a counter-attack, which Moussa Diaby ends with a hurried shot into a Manchester City leg.

Second half!

21:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Back underway at the Etihad Stadium.

HT: Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa

21:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal look to be taking care of business against Luton, 2-0 to the good with time running down at the Emirates. They’ll end the night top of the Premier League.

HT: Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa

21:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Two delightful team goals seemed to have left us level at the break but that Phil Foden free kick sent Manchester City down the tunnel in front. The hosts have threatened throughout with their intricate attacking play, though Aston Villa will be encouraged by how they’ve caused problems in rare forays forward on the break.


21:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 Aston Villa, 45 + 4 minutes

21:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Unai Emery looks furious. He’d have just wanted his side to hold firm until the interval, but that was a silly foul from Douglas Luiz, and a really loose bit of work from the wall. The Basque manager thuds into his seat with a scowl.

Nearly another! A floated cross is headed goalwards by Julian Alvarez, but Robin Olsen manages to palm over the bar.

GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 Aston Villa (Phil Foden, 45 + 2 minutes)

21:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Curled through the wall!

A horrible moment for the Aston Villa ramparts, breached much too easily! Phil Foden takes over on free kick duties for Manchester City but strikes it low and flat, and an appopriately formed protective quartet would simply send it ricocheting away.

Alas, space opens between Nicolo Zaniolo and Ezri Konsa, and Foden’s strike pierces it. Robin Olsen is helpless in goal.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 44 minutes

21:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ezri Konsa hits the deck after a barge in the back from Bernardo Silva, denying Jack Grealish a chance to snare the loose ball.

That’s a foul, too - and it’s Douglas Luiz, who has already been booked. No second card is forthcoming. He was the wrong side of Phil Foden and rather took his legs away - if he hadn’t already beeen shown yellow...

Another shooting chance from 25 yards.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 41 minutes

20:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The tricky feet of Manchester City’s attacking schemers are causing Aston Villa problems, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez all intricate and accurate in their interchanges. Alvarez blazes over the top at the end of the latest allegro adventure.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 40 minutes

20:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Too much oomph. Over the crossbar from the Argentine.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 38 minutes

20:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Douglas Luiz is the second player into the book, a tug on the shirt of Jack Grealish as he jinks away from the retreating midfielder.

A good position, this - 25 yards out at most, just outside Robin Olsen’s right-hand post. Julian Alvarez, you’d think...

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 37 minutes

20:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Smart save! Robin Olsen thrusts out a foot to deny Julian Alvarez after the striker had latched on to a neat passing move.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 34 minutes

20:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jhon Duran shows the other side of his game, working hard to get a foot in 25 yards from his own goal with Manchester City bubbling nicely. But that reserved position means that when Aston Villa attempt to break, springing a counter isn’t necessarily straightforward, Duran not helped by an underpowered ball to him as he tries to hit his stride moving forward.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 32 minutes

20:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A booking for Jack Grealish, furious with the referee when a foul is given against him with Manchester City launching an offensive.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 30 minutes

20:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Diego Carlos sets Moussa Diaby free with a raking pass off his right boot that lands gently at the winger’s feet, but Manchester City regather their defensive shape and prevent him making progress up the touchline. But there might be value in that sort of long diagonal throughout with Manchester City’s wide defenders pushing up.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 28 minutes

20:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The home crowd behind the Aston Villa goal roar for handball after Nicolo Zaniolo squeezes the ball back to his goalkeeper, but it’s squarely off the chest of the Italian, using his frame well to prevent Jeremy Doku from attacking the cross.

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 24 minutes

20:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Volleyed wide! Good technique from Jack Grealish, firing down onto the ball and sending it bounding towards the corner. A yard or so away from the post, perhaps helped by a touch from Robin Olsen which goes unspotted by the officials.

Here is Jhon Duran’s leveller:

Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa, 23 minutes

20:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s a vim and a verve to this game now, Aston Villa striking with virtually their first clear opportunity to remind the hosts and the crowd of their attacking threat. It is their ability to play in many different ways that has driven their transformation - they probably would have started thinking they would frustrate first, but knowing that they had that attacking edge to turn to if they fell behind.

GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 ASTON VILLA (Jhon Duran, 20 minutes)

20:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa level!

It’s another peach of a goal! Aston Villa win the ball back on the edge of their own area and unfurl their front four, Nicolo Zaniolo exchanging with Morgan Rogers in the inside left channel and Moussa Diaby offering width on the right. Jhon Duran slides out to the left and combines with Rogers in a give and go, accelerating beyond Ruben Dias and then beating Stefan Ortega across his body into the far corner.

Manchester City 1-0 Aston Villa, 18 minutes

20:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Unai Emery and Pep Guardiola offer their demonstrative points as Aston Villa are robbed in possession near halfway, allowing Manuel Akanji and Jeremy Doku to come forward. Doku uses the centre-half’s overlapping run to dive inside and release a shot, but it is blocked away.

Manchester City 1-0 Aston Villa, 15 minutes

20:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jhon Duran tries to reply quickly, testing Stefan Ortega with a sharp shot, but the striker had already strayed offside.

GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 Aston Villa (Rodri, 11 minutes)

20:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A lovely flowing move and Rodri sweeps home!

Beautiful build-up play from Manchester City, pulling the left side of Aston Villa’s two banks of four out of shape. Rico Lewis adds an option and Phil Foden pulls back into space, turning to find Jeremy Doku sprinting up the right.

Doku’s cut-back is pinpoint precise, perfectly into the path of Rodri, who finishes with aplomb.

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 10 minutes

20:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A scramble in the Aston Villa box gets the crowd going, Clement Lenglet’s intervention timely with both Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden looking to prod home. Foden seems to be relishing his more central role, pushing up near Alvarez at every opportunity.

Rodri unleashes a speculator from range, but there isn’t the puff behind his effort to test Robin Olsen low to the goalkeeper’s right.

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 8 minutes

20:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A free kick on the right is swung in by Phil Foden, but his inward curve takes it too close to Robin Olsen, swift off his line to gather at forehead height. Solid work from the stand-in stopper, deputising for the poorly Emi Martinez.

Erling Haaland left on the bench by Manchester City

20:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 6 minutes

20:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is a worry for Aston Villa - Jhon Duran is down after a clash with Josko Gvardiol, and there’s limited attacking cover n the bench.

Thankfully, he’s back on his feet soon enough, though rubbing at his ear.

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 3 minutes

20:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Manchester City have begun as expected, it seems, with Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku prodiving the width and Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden more central in front of Rodri and, in possession, inserting full back Rico Lewis.

Nicolo Zaniolo looks to be playing off the left for Aston Villa.

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 2 minutes

20:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Douglas Luiz’s corner is flicked on at the front, but the second head it hits is a Manchester City one. Lines cleared.

First chance! Julian Alvarez ruffles the side netting, latching on to a clever dink from Jack Grealish peeling in from the left and volleying goalwards. Alvarez might have been just offside but couldn’t find the right side of the post regardless.

Manchester City 0-0 Aston Villa, 1 minute

20:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An early fright for Aston Villa as Diego Carlos is forced into some hasty defensive work with four blue shirts pressing hard, but efficent transfers up the field allow the visitors to earn the game’s firsd tcorner. Up the big blokes come - can they test Stefan Ortega?


20:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Darren England peeps his whistle - we are underway at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

20:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The last strands of daylight have just disappeared from the Manchester sky as the two sides ready themselves for action. Third faces fourth in the Premier League - their ultimate aims this season may be different but this is a huge game for both sides.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

19:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Speaking to TNT Sports pre-match, Pep Guardiola suggests that Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are left out for reasons of rest of rotation, with a short turnaround to a lunchtime encounter with Crystal Palace on Saturday. He urges his team to focus on today and forget about the defeat to Aston Villa earlier in the season.

“I prefer to be the hunted,” he emphasises when it is put to him that he might enjoy chasing Liverpool and Arsenal down from behind. Point made.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

19:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And almost immediately, Arsenal are in front, inevitably.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

19:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No goals as of yet in tonight’s other fixtures, with Luton holding Arsenal at bay and Brentford and Brighton similarly scoreless. An Arsenal slip-up would leave the door open for Manchester City to take top spot - though they’d need to score five at least to overhaul Liverpool’s goal difference advantage. We’ll cross that bridge if we get there...

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

19:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The way Aston Villa disrupted Manchester City’s flow in possession was the key to their victory in December, pressing hard and high to really dominate the contest. Will they be quite as cohesive without John McGinn and Ollie Watkins? Nicolo Zaniolo has endured a difficult season but has begun to show glimpses of the talent that once made him one of Italy’s top talents - this feels like a big night for the midfielder.

News of a late change for the visitors - Emi Martinez is unwell, so Robin Olsen steps in to the starting side.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

19:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It will be fascinating to see how Manchester City line up tonight. It looks a versatile front five named by Pep Guardiola, with Julian Alvarez in theory leading the line but the quintet like to move and morph with and without the ball to ask Aston Villa complex questions.

Arsenal up and running

19:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s a busy night of Premier League action, with Manchester City’s fellow title chasers Arsenal also in action. Can Luton cause an upset at the Emirates? They’re already playing in North London - throw it up on another tab and follow along with m’colleague Michael Jones:

Arsenal vs Luton LIVE: Latest Premier League updates

The wrong kind of impact: Why Jack Grealish has reached a crossroads at Man City

19:26 , Richard Jolly

Pep Guardiola had finished a particularly animated display of pointing to his left when he executed a 90-degree pivot to his right on the spot, like a man intent on proving he did not need a turning circle. Jack Grealish looked mildly bemused. It was the end of Manchester City 0 Arsenal 0 and Guardiola, with the impatience of a perfectionist, had again demonstrated he could not wait until he reached the sanctuary of the dressing room to make his point.

Thankfully, perhaps, few can translate his range of melodramatic gestures to understand the message he was trying to convey. Grealish may still be none the wiser. Guardiola deadpanned his way through his explanation of his antics. “I did it for the cameras, for my ego,” he said sarcastically. “I am the famous person of the team so that is the reason why. Always I try to criticise the players there and let them know how bad they are.”

The wrong kind of impact: Why Jack Grealish has reached a crossroads at Man City

Aston Villa team news

19:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Young Tim Iroegbunam starts in midfield for Aston Villa, with Jhon Duran utilised up front in the absence of Ollie Watkins.

Aston Villa XI: Olsen; Konsa, Diego Carlos, Lenglet, Digne; Zaniolo, Iroegbunam Douglas Luiz, Rogers; Diaby, Duran.

Manchester City team news

19:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne drop to the bench for Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola also not feeling that John Stones is yet ready to start.

Manchester CIty XI: Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Dias (C), Gvardiol; Rodri; Doku, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish; Alvarez.

Manchester City vs Aston Villa team news on the way...

19:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Right, with little more than an hour until kick-off in Manchester, both sides will soon be confirming their sides. How will the visitors compensate for the absent Ollie Watkins? And is John Stones ready to return to the Manchester City defence?

Pep Guardiola: John Stones must feel fully fit to start

18:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pep Guardiola said John Stones has to feel fully fit if he is to make his Manchester City comeback as he added Nathan Ake to his defensive injury list.

The Netherlands international will miss Wednesday’s game against Aston Villa, along with captain Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Ederson.

Stones was on the bench for Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal after his abductor injury proved less serious than Guardiola initially feared but he is unsure if he will be able to face Unai Emery’s team. Stones has had an injury-hit season and the City manager is reluctant to risk him if he is not comfortable.

Pep Guardiola reveals latest Man City injury blow ahead of Aston Villa test

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

18:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa won the reverse fixture 1-0 in December, and are bidding for a first double against Manchester City in more than 60 years. The Etihad hasn’t been a happy hunting ground, though - their last 13 visits have ended in defeat.

Leon Bailey fired Aston Villa to victory earlier in the season (Getty Images)
Leon Bailey fired Aston Villa to victory earlier in the season (Getty Images)

Aston Villa hit by huge injury blow with Ollie Watkins ruled out

18:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There will be no Ollie Watkins for Aston Villa tonight, with the striker sidelined by a hamstring issue - though Unai Emery suggested yesterday that the issue is only minor and Watkins could even be back for the weekend.

Aston Villa hit by huge injury blow ahead of facing Man City

Barcelona race to secure Ruben Amorim and leave Liverpool with two alternative manager targets

18:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s shaping as a fascinating summer in the managerial market, with Xabi Alonso seemingly now staying in Germany leaving top clubs scrambling for candidates to fill soon-to-be-vacant positions. Miguel Delaney reports:

Barcelona eye Amorim to leave Liverpool with two major targets

England’s Euro 2024 squad: Who’s on the plane, who’s in contention and who has work to do?

18:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

With the final friendlies before a provisional squad is named done and dusted, only club form will now be enough to force Gareth Southgate’s hand and earn inclusion in England’s Euro 2024 squad. Lawrence Ostlere assesses who should be preparing their passport for a trip to Germany - and who faces a surprisingly free summer.

England’s Euro 2024 squad: Who’s on the plane and who has work to do?

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures – Liverpool, Man City or Arsenal?

18:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Premier League is heading for a classic title race, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal set for a three-way battle as the season enters the run-in.

Manchester City, the defending champions, are aiming to win a fourth league title in a row under Pep Guardiola – a feat that has never been achieved in the history of English football. City blew Arsenal away in last year’s run-in, but the Gunners are back in the fight this campaign and showed a newfound resilience to grind out a 0-0 draw at the Etihad on Sunday and remain above the champions with nine games to go.

It leaves Liverpool leading the way as the run-in truly begins, in what are Jurgen Klopp’s final few weeks on Merseyside. After an epic clash between Klopp’s Liverpool and Guardiola’s City, as the managerial rivals met in the Premier League for the final time, it means the top three have now all played each other twice, and the fate of the title will be decided elsewhere.

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in?

Why Jack Grealish has reached a crossroads at Man City

18:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Any encounter with his old employers always puts Jack Grealish in the spotlight, but, as Richard Jolly outlines, tonight’s game might be of even more importance to the ex-Aston Villa star:

The wrong kind of impact: Why Jack Grealish has reached a crossroads at Man City

Pep Guardiola reveals truth behind on-pitch confrontation with Jack Grealish: ‘I do it for the cameras’

17:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pep Guardiola impishly suggested his “ego” was responsible for a confrontation with Jack Grealish following Manchester City’s goalless draw against Arsenal at the weekend.

City drawing a blank at home against one of their Premier League title rivals on Sunday left them a point behind Arsenal and three adrift of leaders Liverpool with nine games of the season left.

At the full-time whistle, Guardiola was filmed in an animated discussion in the middle of the pitch with Grealish, who was brought on just after the hour mark in a fruitless bid to break the deadlock.

While Guardiola patted Grealish on the head before walking away, the episode has drawn plenty of scrutiny, which the Spaniard playfully took aim at ahead of City’s clash with Aston Villa tonight.

Pep Guardiola reveals truth behind on-pitch confrontation with Jack Grealish

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

17:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pep Guardiola labelled Erling Haaland the “best striker in the world” after the Manchester City frontman was likened to a League Two player by Roy Keane.

The former Manchester United captain made the observation in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports after Haaland drew a blank in City’s goalless draw against Premier League title rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

Keane concurred Haaland, top of the scoring charts after winning last season’s Golden Boot, is in a class of his own in front of goal but added his all-round game is “almost like a League Two player”.

Pep Guardiola hits back at Roy Keane’s criticism of ‘League Two’ Erling Haaland

Good evening!

17:30 , Mike Jones

Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of tonight’s Premier League action as Manchester City host Aston Villa.

Following their 0-0 draw with Arsenal at the weekend Pep Guardiola’s champions know they cannot afford to drop points if they want to keep the pressure on Liverpool in the title race.

City are currently three behind the league leaders, who play tomorrow, and face a tricky task to defeat Unai Emery’s impressive Villa.

For their part, Villa are hoping to to cling on to fourth spot and will extend the gap over Spurs in fifth if they take any points away from the Etihad tonight. They must do so without Ollie Watkins though as the forward has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

We’ll have all the team news, line-ups and updates throughout the evening so stick with us as we build up to kick off at 8.15pm