Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa: City come away with hard-fought three points from the Eithad
Manchester City players celebrate their second goal of the game as Anwar El Ghazi reflects on what might of been for the away side. (Getty Images- Clive Brunskill)

City dominated the opening exchanges, creating plenty of chances but good defending from Villa's centre halves reduced the number of saves Emi Martinez had to make. Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore both had chances but nothing clear cut.

Two big chances opened up the first half with Bertrand Traore and Joao Cancelo both having good efforts well saved and off the bar respectively. The 70th minute saw a barrage of chances for both sides and until Bernardo Silva smashed home a long range effort past Martinez.

  • Story of the game

City, despite starting with no recognised striker, came out the blocks very quickly having a huge chance after just three minutes, Bernardo Silva's shot saved by Emi Martinez and cleared off the line by Tyrone MingsBarkley, who came in for his first game since November, couldn't make the most of a three on two as he miss placed his pass on the counter, a huge chance on the break for the away side. The majority of chances in the first half fell to the home side with Phil Foden getting plenty of space down Villa's right hand side. Martinez wasn't forced into any major saves despite a barrage of attempts, with the majority of attempt being blocked by Mings and Konsa.

The second half started in the same way as the first, Man City domination with threat on the counter from Villa. The first big chance fell to Traore who took it past two players and bent his shot just too close to Ederson. Minutes later Cancelo skimmed the bar with a curling effort as the second half opened up. 

Chances did fall the way of the away side with BarkleyTraore and Watkins all having opportunities come and go. Martinez managed to clear the ball of the line yet again with City turning up the pressure as the half went on. Jacob Ramsey came on and had a huge chance snuffed out by Ruben Dias. This was quickly followed by Mings nearly spinning the ball into his own net but still no goal for either side.

Bernardo Silva smashed home the opening goal of the game from range after Mings dwelled on the ball and was pickpocketed by Rodri, who did so from an offside position, not given by the officials. Dean Smith, enraged by the decision, was sent off soon after by Jon Moss after two yellow cards. A point-blank header from Gabriel Jesus hit Cash's arm and a penalty was awarded. Ilkay Gundogan converted the penalty to double the home side's lead.

  • Takeaways from the game

Phil Foden is becoming one of Pep Guardiola's first names on the team sheet. His performances so far this season have been high quality, shining amongst a team of superstars, his mixture of passing and mesmerising dribbling has made him one of the most important players in the Cityzens squad. Down the left he tormented Matty Cash all evening 

Ollie Watkins has potential to be the complete striker. A player at just 25 years old who is adept at holding up the ball, pressing on the front foot and finding the back of the net, his potential to become one of the best in the league is there. Today he had limited service and yet still showed some of his His goal will come and when they do he will be held in high esteem for sure.

Emi Martinez had yet another world class performance. 7 saves from the argentine along with good defending from the whole Villa team made it incredibly hard for Pep Guardiola's side to break through. Only individual mistakes in the end proved the difference something which needs to be addressed by Dean Smith.


  • Man of the match

Emi Martinez for me has to take this, 7 saves and a few world class saves, especially from Cancelo in the second half. The keeper kept Villa in the game and despite conceding two late goals, his performance was still high in quality showing that he can make saves as well as making great catches and distribute the ball almost as well as any one else in the league on his day.

GundoganRodri and Silva all had good games but as an individual I think Martinez has to take this award.