Aston Villa v City: Match Report
By Tom Smart
A Sunday evening in the Midlands demanded the form and resilience of potential Premier League Champions. Before the game Manchester United had a one point lead at the top of the table, having played the day before against fierce rivals Liverpool and winning 2-1 thus increasing overtaking the City in the title race temporarily.
Ultimately, this game was to be one that certainly looked like a banana skin from a City perspective, in a similar manner to the way City fell at the hands of Everton. In a ‘typical City’ fashion, predictions were made about who would score from the Villa side that opposed us. The home side contained Robbie Keane, a player all too familiar with scoring against the Blues and ex-City favourites Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland. Having the lost the fixture in last season’s trip to Villa Park, following a Darren Bent debut goal, City certainly had a score to settle.
Ex-City captain and former Player Of The Year (On 4 Occasions), Richard Dunne
The game failed to come to life for the opening 25 minutes as City dominated possession without really creating a clear opportunity at goal. In the 26th minute however, a corner that Aston Villa failed to clear properly landed in the path of City winger Adam Johnson. Johnson was able to cut inside whilst being approached by Petrov and lashed a shot at goal striking the bottom of the left post and rolling out of play. This was the first real attacking intention of the match that the away side had shown, particularly after dominating possession for the entire first half up to this point.
City continued to heavily govern the possession throughout the remainder of the first half with Milner and Aguero squandering chances that came to them with the game dipping in and out of scrappy spells from both sides that disrupted the fluid nature that City normally play with. A couple of Richard Dunne headers from corners were as close as Villa got up to the hour mark, both caught with ease by Joe Hart.
City were able to break the deadlock in the 62nd minute following a lofted corner into the box provided by Milner. Barry was able to steer his header from the back post, back across goal and into the in anticipation of Joleon Lescott who drove the ball into the ground and past ex-City goalkeeper Shay Given from close range. A well worked goal that the visiting team deserved after dominating such large parts of the game throughout, particularly in possession.
Lescott tucked away his 2nd goal of the season
The game again petered out before the introduction of Aston Villa’s winger, Charles N’Zogbia who’s much needed attacking threat and pace began to seriously threaten the City defence for the first time in the match. In the 87th minute Villa launched an accurate corner into the area meeting the head of Carlos Cuellar before narrowly edging over the bar.
2 minutes later and another corner was to cause the City defence problems as a downward header by Collins found Bent hooking a shot towards goal from range. Hart was able to make an astounding save with his outstretched right hand saving City and effectively saving the points for the visitors.
Villa continued to press into injury time and an over hit through ball played forward by the Villa midfield was chased down by Robbie Keane. Hart was able to collect, however not before losing grip of the ball and quickly grasping the ball with one hand and smothering it with the other milliseconds before Keane arrived and so nearly snatched the ball from the England internationals reach.
The final whistle at last blew for the blue half of Manchester, as City regained their 2 point advantage at the top of the league after a well earned and hard fought display. The final score at Villa Park, Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City.