Boss Unai Emery has warned Aston Villa to expect a wounded Manchester City.
The manager believes City will be united after being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 alleged breaches of its financial rules.
City boss Pep Guardiola feels the club have already proved their innocence and believes the charges have been driven by rival top-flight clubs.
Villa go to the Etihad on Sunday and Emery is wary of the backlash after a week of headlines.
“I’ve played against Manchester City here and in the Champions League, it’s a very difficult match. Maybe it’s going to be more difficult now with the issues they are having,” he said.
“I think they’re going to be together and they are going to try and respond on the pitch against us.
“It’s a very difficult match. Manchester City are building a team to win the Champions League and they are getting close to doing it.
“In the Premier League they have had amazing results over the last few years. Each year it’s Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and this year it’s Arsenal, to be close to them.”
Bertrand Traore is back training with the squad after being recalled from Istanbul Basaksehir while Diego Carlos (Achilles) is close to a return.
Emery added: “I want to play the same matches in the same competitive way at home and away. We are going to focus on this Sunday’s match, trying to get the same performance away as we did before.
“For Sunday, we train for the last time tomorrow and hopefully everyone else is going to be OK to play.”