City sweeps home another victory against Gerrard’s Villa

December 2, 2021

It was like watching poetry in motion- the manner in which this Manchester City plays would just want to make you curl up in a blanket and rewind those poetic ramifications on and off the ball time and again with your eyes dazzled until your heart is full. Last week their ice-cold performance midst the heavy snowfall and the pile of snow gathered pitchside which made us neutrals more than inspired but last night their valiant display against a resurgent Villa side under the guidance of one of the maestro of English football in this generation was beyond words.

The presence of royalties on Villa Park last night where an exhilarating experience was savored by the spectators when the away fans had the last laugh as Manchester City beat Aston Villa with a final scoreline of 2-1 in their late evening fixture of the Matchweek 14 of the Premier League. Well, when I talk about royalties you have to understand what I mean here- the first is undoubtedly the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Williams who was in attendance with a Villa scarf placed around his neck cheering along with the home support and the second one is none other than the Portuguese footballing nobility Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias. 

Pep Guardiola and Steven Gerrard

Despite missing some of their key players like Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Ferran Torres, Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Aymeric Laporte to Injury, City had managed the game eloquently and snatched those three points away from newly appointed manager Steven Gerrard and his men. But they could not write off the home team until the last minutes as the revitalized Aston Villa had created a whole lot of menace for the visiting side. The attacking link-up play by Emiliano Buendia, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey (later on Ashley Young who replaced Bailey due to injury), and some glimpses from their skipper Tyrone Mings was in one word stirring as they thwarted the City’s defense line with their penetrative counter-attacks.

Sterling in action

The match kicked off with Joao Cancelo’s stinging drive at an acute angle from a layoff from Riyad Mahrez which warmed up Emiliano Martinez’s hands and was followed by Gabriel Jesus and Rodrigo’s crucial shots. Villa fired up within the opening ten minutes as Leon Bailey’s attempt was the first forward attack from their foray which made Zinchenko more alert.

The breakthrough came for City at around 27 minutes when Raheem Sterling bamboozled his way past John McGinn as he reached the byline and launched a perfect pass for Ruben Dias and he unleashed his left-footed screwdriver shot from 25-yards outside the area as the ball found its way back home.

Ruben Dias’ shot on goal

Gabriel Jesus played Fernandinho’s long-range pass to Bernardo Silva into the pivot of the box as his left volley crashed into the roof of the net and the traveling City fans were stunned by this amazing piece of work and ruptured into the frenzy.

 The second goal came two minutes before the half-time whistle as Gabriel Jesus’ center provided ample opportunity for Silva to send the ball with a first-time volley at the back of the net flooring Martinez.

Silva’s second goal for City

Villa showed spirit and enthusiasm in the face of a dangerously organized and tactically brilliant City and they found their control back in the game only two minutes into the second half when Douglas Luiz’s corner found Ollie Watkins at the middle of the City defense line and the English man made no mistake but stroke the ball past Ederson at the back of the net as Bernardo Silva failed to man-mark him while the set-piece play.

Ollie Watkins’ solitary goal for Villa

The moment when Villa thought they were at the driving seat of the fixture Guardiola’s men searched for a third but their actions were in vain as Jesus’ shot swiveled eight yards out wide. The home team was determined for an equalizer through Tyrone Mings and the substitute Carney Chukwuemeka but they were denied by Ederson. Eventually, they faced their first defeat under the leadership of Steven Gerrard and it leaves them at the 13th position of the league table with 16 points. An amazing piece of achievement for Pep Guardiola though as he had his 150th match victory out of mere 204 games as in charge of Manchester City as his team stays at the second position with 32 points strong.

Team News:

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings (c), Targett (Chukwuemeka 67), McGinn, Nakamba (Sanson 78), Douglas Luiz, Buendia, Watkins, Bailey (A Young 30)
Subs: Steer, Hause, Tuanzebe, J Ramsey, El Ghazi, Davis

Manchester City: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (c), Rodri, BernardoSterling, Jesus (Grealish 87), Mahrez
Subs: Steffen, Carson, Mbete, FodenPalmer, McAtee, Lavia, Wilson-Esbrand

Referee: Mike Dean

King of the Match: Bernardo Silva.