- Manchester City returned to winning ways this evening, defeating Aston Villa 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium
- City was looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur the previous week
- Goals from Rodri, Gundogan and Mahrez sealed the win
Manchester City returned to winning ways this evening, defeating Aston Villa 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur the previous week, City got off to a fast start and opened the scoring in the fourth minute thanks to Rodri’s near-post header from a Riyad Mahrez corner.
Pep Guardiola’s men continued to take control of the game, coming close to doubling their lead through Ilkay Gundogan but for an excellent save from Emiliano Martinez.
City would eventually put the ball in the net again, only for Gundogan’s strike to be ruled out for Erling Haaland’s foul on Martinez in the buildup.
Following a slow start, Kevin De Bruyne burst into life just shy of the half-hour mark, skipping past a couple of challenges before setting up Grealish, who was denied a goal against his former club by Martinez.
Gundogan gets the first
As the match approached the halfway point, Villa would prove to be the architects of their demise, as a Caleb Chambers error allowed Haaland to play in Gundogan for a close-range finish.
Despite having a two-goal lead, City did not rest on their laurels and deservingly added a third goal thanks to Mahrez’s well-taken penalty after Grealish was brought down in the box by Boubacar Kamara.
Guardiola chose to take off Haaland and Ruben Dias at halftime, even though the former was believed to have left with a thigh injury.
City was unable to replicate their strong first-half performance in the second period, as they took their foot off the gas.
However, the reigning Premier League champions were dealt a harsh reality check moments after the hour mark when Bernardo Silva’s lapse in concentration was exploited by Douglas Luiz in midfield before the Brazilian released Ollie Watkins to score his third goal in as many games.
Watkins’ goal set the tone for the rest of the game, with Villa determined not to go down without a fight.
Philippe Coutinho, who came on as a substitute, came close to setting up a frantic finish, but Ederson tipped his cross-shot over.
As Villa pushed forward in search of a goal, City burst down the other end and should have sealed the deal through Mahrez, who blazed over from close range.
That proved to be the game’s final meaningful action, as Man City closed the gap at the top of the Premier League table to three points ahead of Wednesday’s showdown with division leaders Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa has now lost consecutive league matches for the first time since Unai Emery’s appointment, dropping them seven points behind Fulham in the race for a European spot.
On Saturday, Aston Villa will host City’s title rivals Arsenal.
Manchester City will also face Arsenal in a huge match on Wednesday, February 15th, before hosting Nottingham Forest the following weekend on Saturday.