Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Match Reflection: Villa 0 - 1 Manchester City

Tevez wins the game for City in scrappy encounter

By Aaron Leggott

A mistake from Villa defender Ciaran Clark cost the home side dearly on Monday night as City took advantage to keep the gap at the top of the league at just 12 points.

Before kick off, City knew that anything less than a win was not good enough with United beating Norwich on Saturday. Roberto Mancini made just one change to the side that beat Chelsea, with Carlos Tevez replacing Sergio Aguero, who picked up a knee injury in training.

It was a hard fought win from the Blues, but Mancini's side left Villa Park with some bad news as Jack Rodwell was taken off mid-way through the first half with a hamstring injury - he is set to miss the next month of action. 

In honesty, it was the hosts who made the brighter start to the game, and almost took the lead early in the first half after an Andi Weimann corner met the head of Christian Benteke, but the Belgian's powerful effort was cleared off the line by Tevez. 

City were lacklustre in the first half an hour, and rarely found any success going forward. In fact, the first City shot registered was from Rodwell, as he forced Guzan to tip the ball over the bar. Unfortunately for the ex-Everton midfielder, he stretched his hamstring and had to leave the field.

Mancini decided to bring some invention into the City side and replaced Rodwell with Edin Dzeko, and the Bosnian made an immediate impact. City looked more fluent and threatening going forward and if it wasn't for Brad Guzan, City would have had the game wrapped up before half time. A shot from Pablo Zabaleta was directed onto the post by the American keeper, before he also pushed Tevez's 25 yard shot out for a corner. 

He was to have no chance with the goal though. A seemingly routine throw in for Villa led to disaster, as Clark kept hold of the ball for too long, leaving Dzeko to nick the ball off him. It was a two vs one situation in City's favour as Dzeko squared the ball to Tevez, who dummied Guzan before tapping the ball into the net. 

It was perhaps an unfair scoreline at half time after Villa's early domination, but City showed their class and were rarely troubled after the break. Villa were limited to long range efforts that fell wide of Joe Hart's goal, and despite a shout for a penalty in the 88th minute after Nastasic supposedly caught Benteke, Villa never really got going. 

City had numerous chances to double their lead and actually found the net for a second time, only for Dzeko to be called offside after he pounced on a Yaya Toure effort which deflected off the post and into his feet. 

Lambert knows his side were never going to cause much trouble against the Champions, but he can go away from the game with high hopes that his side can avoid the drop if they produce consistently good performances like last night. 

My thoughts

Well, it certainly wasn't a game for the neutral, but City got the job done and that's the main thing at this stage in the season. With Spurs being only two points behind us before we kicked a ball this weekend, it was imperative that we won, and I'm glad we left Birmingham with all three points.

The way we started was quite worrying and against tougher opposition, we would have had a lot more trouble to deal with. But in a way, Mancini will be thankful that he was given the opportunity to switch things after Rodwell was forced off injured, and there is no doubt that Dzeko made a big difference.

Villa were possibly unlucky not to have been given a penalty, but it would have been extremely harsh if Nastasic was penalised in the 88th minute. I feel we were good value for our win despite not being at our best, and as mentioned above the win was key and we go into our next game at Goodison Park in a decent position ahead of Spurs, who play Liverpool this weekend with the Blues on FA Cup duty.

Hopefully Sergio Aguero will be back for the Everton game and partners Tevez up front as I feel that this is our strongest chance of getting a result in Merseyside in a fortnight.


                              City                                                                                      Villa
                              55%                                   Possession                                   45%
                            20 (12)                             Shots (on target)                             10 (5)
                                5                                        Corners                                       6
                               14                                         Fouls                                        10

Player ratings

HART: Didn't have anything to do, and the only shot on target was cleared off the line by Tevez. A quiet game for Hart.   

TSBV rating: 6/10

ZABALETA: Solid defensively and was unlucky to be denied a goal after his shot was deflected onto the post. A good display from the stand in captain and a contender for player of the year. 

TSBV rating: 7/10

KOLO TOURE: With Kompany out, people would have been forgiven for thinking that City would struggle to fill his void. But Toure produced another great performance at the heart of the defence and was deservedly awarded MoTM by Sky.   

TSBV rating: 10/10

NASTASIC: He's finally starting to be noticed by people who don't follow City closely, but they have certainly taken their time. Before the Villa game, the Serbian had a tackle accuracy of 96% as well as a passing accuracy of 89% and it wouldn't surprise me to see those stats improve before May... a great prospect!   

TSBV rating: 9/10

CLICHY: Not his best game in a City shirt as he often gave the ball away and struggled with the pace and trickery of Weimann on occasions. Will be happy with a clean sheet though.   

TSBV rating: 6/10

MILNER: Milner gave another consistently sound performance and it is hard to justify why he shouldn't be given a starting place for every game this season. Would've got my MoTM if it wasn't for his showboating attempt in injury time.    

TSBV rating: 7/10

GARCIA: Not his best game but he didn't have much to deal with in all honesty.      

TSBV rating: 6/10

RODWELL: Rodwell was really unlucky to be forced off due to injury but he can be glad of his performance up to that point. However he has to hope for his own sake that he can stay clear of injury next season otherwise he could be seeing himself leave the club sooner than he had hoped for.

TSBV rating: 6/10

YAYA TOURE: Unlucky to hit the post towards the end of the game but had a solid game supporting Silva, Dzeko and Tevez during the game.   

TSBV rating: 7/10

SILVA: Silva wasn't at his absolute best (like the whole team to be fair) but didn't have a shocker. Will be hoping to be more influential in the upcoming games     

TSBV rating: 6/10

TEVEZ: This performance from Tevez reminded me of what he was like before his self imposed exile last season. As the lone man, I was a bit sceptical beforehand over what we were going to expect off him, but he delivered a tireless performance and in all honesty could have easily had a hat trick to his name had Guzan not been on fire.    

TSBV rating: 9/10


DZEKO: Made a great impact after replacing Rodwell as City pushed further up field almost immediately. Worked hard alongside Tevez and was very self less in passing the ball to Tevez for the goal when he could have easily tested Guzan himself.   

TSBV rating: 8/10

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

1 comment:

  1. Colin Is The King8 March 2013 at 16:28

    Very bad luck for Rodwell, and, on the whole I agree with you regarding our performance.
    I thought Nasty just shaded Kolo personally, and I think you are maybe a mark too high for Tevez.

    Confidence to have a shot is one thing, ignoring team mates when better positioned (Silva) is another.