Manchester City moved three points closer to the Premier League title with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory away at Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.
It was initially a lightning start in the Second City as John McGinn steered home within the first 20 seconds before Phil Foden equalised with a fantastic team goal. The visitors completed their impressive turnaround as Rodri nodded home but it was not all good news however, with John Stones being awarded a straight red card just before half-time.
However, Pep Guardiola’s men were not at a man disadvantage for long as Matty Cash picked up two quickfire bookings and indeed his own marching orders shortly after the break, allowing the Citizens to depart with victory.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
Nightmare for Stones
Despite all of the praise that Manchester City defender John Stones has earned this season, he is also capable of a catastrophe every once in a while. His performance at Villa Park on Wednesday was just that.
He at first failed to prevent the quickfire opening goal, just not quite managing to cut out a long ball from Tyrone Mings which found its way through to Watkins. Indeed, the Villa forward was then able to roll it across for McGinn to score.
Stones’ evening then got worse just before the break as he crunched in on Jacob Ramsey near the half-way line, the challenge initially earning a yellow before it was upgraded to a red via consultation from VAR. Stones will certainly hope to be back to his best ahead of the Carabao Cup final this weekend. Manchester City can be backed at early odds of 1/4 with Betfair to win that game at Wembley Stadium.
The game with everything
The clash at Villa Park was just about the game with everything. There was a strike within the opening minute, an impressive turnaround, VAR intervention and a red card. The only thing that was missing was a penalty kick. Bearing in mind that was just in the first-half of the game indicates how exhilarating it was. Madness then continued after the break as Cash tearned his own sending off for two extremely silly bookings.
Considering the importance of the match for both sides, it was fantastic to see a game of football break out, especially with the backdrop of the Super League collapse still going on. That is certainly credit to each team.
One of those players who was key to a lot of what occurred throughout the 90 minutes was Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva as the Portuguese turned in an excellent showing at Villa Park.
The former Monaco man was key to both Manchester City goals, teeing up each of Foden and Rodri for their strikes. He at first arrowed a low cross in that was coolly slotted in by the former before his excellent ball was then nodded in by the latter, taking his personal season count to five goals and nine assists in all competitions so far.
His evening’s work was not completely finished there though as he continued to be a threat for Pep Guardiola’s troops. He produced three key passes throughout the game, whilst his pass accuracy rate of 94.6% was only bettered by two players in the Manchester City starting line-up: Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Silva then will certainly be delighted with his fantastic night’s work.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7); Targett (6), Mings (5), Konsa (6); Cash (5); Nakamba (6) (Barkley (5), 63′), Luiz (6), McGinn (7); Ramsey (6) (Davis (6), 46′), Traore (5) (El Ghazi (5), 75′), Watkins (6).
Manchester City: Ederson (6); Zinchenko (6), Dias (6), Stones (4), Walker (6); Rodri (7), Gundogan (6), Silva (7); Foden (7), Mahrez (6) (Fernandinho (N/A), 90′), Jesus (5) (Laporte (6), 46′).
Goals: McGinn (1′), Foden (22′), Rodri (40′)
Referee: Peter Banks
Yellow Cards: Gundogan (44′), Cash (54′, 57′)
Red Cards: Stones (44′), Cash (57′)
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