Manchester City made their overwhelming attacking presence count against Aston Villa as they put the Midlanders to the sword at the Etihad. They were forced to wait until the second half after a lethargic first 45 minutes, with Raheem Sterling putting them into the lead early on in the second period. David Silva made it two, before Ilkay Gundogan made it three and confirmed that Villa would be leaving Manchester with nothing.
Fernandinho received a red card for receiving two yellows, and while that isn’t going to mean all too much in the grand scheme of things, it’s quite clear to see that City aren’t quite firing on all cylinders as much as they were not so long ago. In short, there’s still a long way to go before they can consistently battle Liverpool and claw back at their lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was disappointed, to say the least.
“We started quite well in the second half, and City’s first goal is just a lump from the goalkeeper. Tyrone Mings should do better and he knows that then but a top player like Raheem Sterling puts it on the back of the net.
“But I would question City’s second goal: I think Raheem Sterling is offside and he impedes the goalkeeper from making the save.”
Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, was fairly happy with his team’s performance on the whole.
“Aston Villa played very well in the first half and we played not so good. They are newly promoted and played with real spirit, attacking the channels well.
“But the second half, I don’t know if we played good because we scored early or it was because we played differently, but we won. It was a special second half, we were another level.”
Manchester City face a double-header against Southampton over the next week or so, with one game in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup. Based on recent evidence, Saints fans probably shouldn’t hold out too much hope for anything other than two batterings. Aston Villa are also in Carabao Cup action against local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, before returning to Premier League action against Liverpool.
Manchester City: Ederson (8.5), Mendy (7), Stones (7.5), Fernandinho (5.5), Cancelo (7), D.Silva (8.5), Gundogan (8.5), De Bruyne (9), Sterling (8), Jesus (7.5), B.Silva (7.5), Foden (7), Angelino (6.5), Aguero (6)
Aston Villa: Heaton (6.5), Guilbert (6.5), Engels (5.5), Mings (6.5), Targett (6), Nakamba (6.5), Trezeguet (7), McGinn (6.5), Luiz (6.5), Grealish (6), Wesley (6), Davis (6), El Ghazi (6)
Referee: Graham Scott
Goals: Sterling, Silva, Gundogan
Yellow Cards: Fernandinho x2, Gundogan, Grealish
Red Cards: Fernandinho