Despite City’s struggles this season, Manuel Pellegrini insisted on giving Mangala a full month on the sidelines to build up his fitness before handing the £32 million pound his debut against Chelsea two weekends ago. The wait appeared worthy for City fans however, as the French International put in a man of the match performance against Chelsea. Mangala was instrumental in keeping Diego Costa quiet and keeping his side in the game long enough for Frank Lampard to score a late equalizer.
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It was a different story last weekend however, as Mangala had a very poor game against Hull City. Within a ten minute stretch, Mangala effectively conceded two goals all on his own, firstly heading a cross to his own net and then giving away a penalty for a high footed challenge of Abel Hernandez.
With City unable to afford such performances at the back, Pellegrini faces a tough decision this weekend as Martin Demichelis was given the nod against Roma midweek and performed well. It is likely that the manager will go with Mangala and hope that he and Vincent Kompany can become a solid pairing in the centre of the City defence.
Aston Villa have defended horribly and conceded six goals in their last two Premier Leagues games, against Arsenal and Chelsea. In their previous four league games however, they had only conceded one goal. Such a difference in defensive performances can be difficult to explain. The quality of the opposition is no doubt a reason, but it is also no coincidence that Ron Vlaar missed the last two outings through injuries.
Signed on a two year contract in June, Philippe Senderos performed well in Villa’s opening four games, but he has struggled in Vlaar’s absence. All six of the goals Villa conceded in the last two weeks came from open play, with the attack of Arsenal and Chelsea able to carve through the defence with ease. With numerous rumours surrounding the departure of Vlaar in January, it will be up to Senderos to show that he can marshal the defence in the Dutchman’s absence.
Without a solid defence, Villa could plummet rapidly down the table. They are struggling to score goals, sitting joint second-last in the league in terms of goals scored, only notching four goals in seven games.
As mentioned above, Villa are really struggling for goals this season. Despite this, the attacking play of Fabian Delph has been a bright spot for Paul Lambert. The 24 year old has developed into a quality player in recent years and he was awarded for his exploits in the 2013/14 season by being handed a debut for the English national team against Switzerland last August.
Delph’s form has extended into this season so far where he is playing excellently in Villa’s midfield. He has started all six games for Villans so far this season and has been measured as the best dribbler in the League so far.
Delph has failed to find the net so far this season however, so he will be looking to develop the goal scoring side of his game, it will be interesting if he can start doing so this weekend.
Listen to our Fantasy Premier League podcast here where we discuss Rooney replacements and where the goals will come from this weekend.