The Argentina forward, who has been sidelined with a groin injury, could replace Mario Balotelli in Roberto Mancini’s starting line-up at the Etihad Stadium as the Italy striker serves the final game of his three-match European ban.
Mancini’s side take on derby rivals Manchester United in the league at the weekend, but the City manager insists that his team will not look beyond the Champions League showdown as they look to secure their first win of the group stage.
“It is important for us to concentrate on Villarreal,â€ said Mancini, whose side are currently third in Group A with one point. â€œIf we can beat Villarreal, and I don’t think it’ll be easy, maybe we will have a better chance to go through to the knock-out stages.
“If we donâ€™t beat them, it will be difficult. Certainly it would be impossible to finish top of the group.
“After Villarreal, we have four days to recover and to prepare for the derby. We donâ€™t really need to prepare for the game with United because we know they are a top team, and I donâ€™t think we need to prepare any differently. Beating Villarreal is our first target. Then we can think about the other games.”
Mancini, whose City contract expires at the end of next season, also said he is keen to extend his stay at the club – but is in no hurry to thrash out a new deal.
“I would like to stay here for many years in the future but it is not important, my contract,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.
“After this year I have one more year and I don’t have a problem with this. I haven’t talked to the club but at the moment it is not important.”
Elsewhere, City defender Micah Richards is available for selection after being substituted during the 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
â€¢ Roberto Mancini’s side have been caught offside only once to date, the joint lowest total in the Champions League.
â€¢ City’s eight-game tally of 27 goals this term equals the Premier League record set by Arsenal in 2009-10.
â€¢ Villarreal are one of four sides without a group stage goal this season; Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb and Genk are the others.
â€¢ The Spanish side, who ended last season with two draws and two defeats, have won just two of their last 15 fixtures in all competitions.
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