Yaya Touré, 47th minute
Sergio Agüero, 49th minute
Sergio Agüero, 61st minute
Raheem Sterling, 65th minute
If this game was a song…
Writing’s on the Wall – Sam SmithPhoto: Wikimedia Commons
The Oscar-winning song at the last Academy Awards is apt for City’s performance, as it seemed from the early minutes that the goals were definitely going to come—the writing was truly on the wall. However, in the first half it felt very much more like Leonardo Di Caprio’s wait for an Oscar, as City squandered most those chances. Alas, class prevailed in the second half and four City goals appeared!
10th minute: Fernandinho lofted an exquisite ball into the box, giving Aguero the opportunity to showcase his world-class ability. The Argentinian expertly controlled the ball and followed up with a touch and shot at close-range that somehow Brad Guzan managed to tip onto the crossbar.
13th minute: Gaël Clichy had another great performance, highlighted by his fantastic cross in the first half putting it on a plate for Wilfried Bony. Unfortunately Bony couldn’t convert this into a goal—possibly due to his lack of match fitness.
23rd minute: Aguero and Bony combine in the box playing between the defence, for Aguero to release a surprisingly powerful shot. Guzan up to the job.
25th minute: This was Villa’s only chance of a goal in the match really, as Jordan Ayew managed to pull off a great shot after a game of pinball in the City box. England’s number one, Joe Hart, was a match for the shot.
47th minute: GOAL. Aguero finds himself on the wing and feeds Silva in the box. The Spaniard resisted the crowd’s pleas for him to shoot, as he sets up Toure to score via a deflection.
49th minute: GOAL. Just like buses, you wait all day for one—and then two come at once! Bony played a through ball up to Aguero, which was just too short to reach the Argentinian, but Micah Richards slides in to whack the ball against Aguero’s leg and lift it over Brad Guzan.
61st minute: Substitution: Raheem Sterling ON. Wilfried Bony OFF.
65th minute: GOAL. It took the Englishman four minutes to score, as he tapped in after Silva played the ball across goal. Highlights won’t do this one justice, as City demonstrated incredible team play in the lead-up, passing the ball in and around the box for a few minutes. Sterling will be glad to bounce back after the Liverpool fans hurled abuse at him in the midweek clash between the two sides.
69th minute: Substitution: Kelechi Iheanacho ON. David Silva OFF.
71st minute: PENALTY MISS. It took Kelechi two minutes less than Sterling to have an impact from the bench, as he was played in by a lovely Sterling ball to be tripped by Ciaran Clark. Aguero, however, missed the chance for his hat-trick, striking the post.
Stat of the Game
Yaya Toure’s goal was his 49th in five seasons—more than any other Premier League midfielder.Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Prior to the game, Manuel Pellegrini stated that his team will need to win 9 of the next 11 games in order to win the Premier League trophy again, which seems a fair assessment and nothing too far out of City’s means. In previous years when City have won the league, they have always done so after falling behind—whether it be to Liverpool or Manchester United. Now, however, City aren’t just battling against one side, they are up against four: Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal, and even Manchester United.
City, arguably, have the best players in their squad compared to these other teams, despite how it is lacking in depth—so there is no reason really that City cannot claw this back. City won their second Premier League title while fans famously promoted the campaign “#TOGETHER” on Twitter, Facebook and round the stadium on a match day; if City are to win it, they will definitely need the fans. Do they believe? Well the fans brandished two new banners before the game stating “#CMON CITY’ and “We <3 City,” and they were in fine voice when the Capital One Cup was paraded at the start of the game, so the signs are good that they are believing! Although I have a strong hatred for any use of a hashtag outside of cyber space, it’s these reactions that Vincent Kompany & co will need.
Villa only really fashioned one chance in the game, and only began to exert any pressure in the final ten minutes of the game. City were good, but it was the lack of threat from Villa that saw this game end in a heavy defeat. Teams have escaped before—just look at Leicester last season. Nigel Pearson managed to steer the midlands club from the very bottom of the league, and now Claudio Renieri has them sitting pretty at the top. This isn’t my way of telling you that Aston Villa can win the league next season; it’s my way of asking Villa why they have given up?Photo: Aston Villa of yesteryear Dagur Brynjólfsson @Flickr
When you assess Villa’s squad, it’s not one that would achieve European football, but it is definitely not a team fit for the Championship. The experience of ex-Blues Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott at the back should be a successful partnership, and Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede look like shrewd buys on paper. Villa are an ever-present team in the Premier League, and their club is enriched in history. For instance, Villa Park used to hold Cup Finals, and they’re a team with league titles going back years! It will be a sad day if they go down—and by that I mean, it will be a sad day when they go down. The fans blame owner Randy Lerner (whose name sounds like that of a 80s porno headmaster) for the demise, as they chant for his exit each game. Whatever the problem is, I for one hope it is resolved and the Villains get back into the Premier League in two seasons time.
Fan WatchPhoto: Wikimedia Commons
City fans sang to the Aston Villa fans: “Joleon Lescott, he’s won more than you” as the Brummy centre-back got a warm welcome at his old stomping ground, along with Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair.
Man of the Match
Aguero was back up to his usual tricks in this game, demonstrating his unique talent. You could throw Aguero into a swimming pool of alligators, and he’d still manage to dribble his way out of there. The ball wouldn’t even float—that’s how good he is. In this game he gave the whole Aston Villa team a torrid time, and bagged two goals in the process. His low centre of gravity meant that he could still show strength up against the tall strong Villa players and pick up one of his easiest Man of the Match awards to date. Aguero had three or four chances in the first half that he didn’t convert, such as when his 1-2 with Bony hoodwinked the entire Villa defence and he pulled off a powerful shot from the tightest of angles. Eventually the Argentinian got his goals and was unlucky not to come out with more. Aguero? More like Swaguero (I’m sorry).Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Nicolás Otamendi had another good game at centre-back, as it has become evident that he is a much better player alongside Vincent Kompany. Otamendi has played well all season, however occasionally has shown naivety to the Premier League style of defending, (as is expected in his first season) as he is quick to go to ground on an attacker instead of standing his ground. He’s obviously good enough to learn this and become one of the best in the league, and the last couple of weeks have shown evidence of him improving in this sense. Furthermore, he’s showing an attacking presence too! This may have some of you on the edge of your seat as he bombs forward, but in this match he did it to great effect and was never caught on the break due to his surprisingly quick feet. One thing’s for certain, if City are going to go on and win this league with a run of games, they will need a solid centre-back pairing.
Hold on to your hats boys and girls, this Premier League title run-in is going to be a bumpy ride.