By Rafe Arnott, Sabrina Eaton and Tim Booth, Washington Post
Manchester City will continue its Premier League title defense Saturday when it plays Aston Villa. The game at Wembley kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN. The D.C. market can watch the game live on NBCSN.
Aston Villa is the second most-watched club in England, behind Manchester United. That’s because of the popularity of its manager, Steve Bruce. He is credited with rejuvenating Aston Villa’s game (if that’s possible), and leading the team to 13 wins and three draws in 2016-17.
Manchester City, on the other hand, looked stronger in 2016-17 and the organization is adjusting to life without its biggest stars — David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling. But with the club’s status as the highest-spending in England, they are now the favorite to repeat.
The winner of this game, however, is not guaranteed to make the next round of the Premier League. Watford, Burnley and Stoke are the bottom three teams in the league. A win in England does not necessarily mean a trip to the top level of European competition or the Champions League.
Aston Villa scored in a penalty shootout to beat Wolves in its previous game, and Man City scored three minutes into the second half in a 1-0 win over Everton. Manchester City has won both of its playoff meetings with Aston Villa. The two clubs last met in the 2010 FA Cup final, when Villa beat Manchester City.
In today’s second game of the day, Crystal Palace will host Huddersfield. Huddersfield is the biggest surprise team in England. Four of the club’s players play in England’s top league, and five are on the roster.
You can watch all of the Premier League games this weekend on ESPN. There is also a live stream of every game on ESPN3. If you want to catch the men’s volleyball match between Penn State and U.S. team on ESPNU, watch this game first.