Manchester City left it late to secure a 2-0 victory over a stubborn Aston Villa side and move up to second in the Premier League table.
Goals from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero in the last ten minutes were enough to see off an Aston Villa side which saw the return of their star striker Christian Benteke.
The Champions’ looked like they were going to drop another two points after their uncertain start of the season saw them pick up just five point from a possible nine in the month of September. On a ground where they famously lost last season, it looked like it was to be another unhappy return to Villa Park for City but two late goals means they go into the international break two points behind Chelsea with Jose Mourinho’s men playing tomorrow.
Villa defended defiantly in the first 45 minutes restricting the away side to just shots from range. However with 10 minutes on the clock that tactic nearly backfired with defender Alexander Kolarov striking the post from range. The first half presented a good battle for possession which city indefinitely won but couldn’t convert the possession into goals and as a result there were no shots on target between both sides in the first half. Villa’s centre back partnership of Nathan Baker and Phillip Senderos created a claret and blue wall which blocked every shot Eden Dzeko and Aguero could throw at them and as a result the score was all square at half time.
The second half saw the game open up. Five minutes into the half and Aguero latched onto a through ball from former Villa player James Milner but his effort from the right hand side of the penalty area hit the post past a despairing Brad Guzan but Villa broke down the other side and Charles N’Zogbia found Keiran Richardson but his shot from the left hand side of the penalty was blocked by a recovering Pablo Zabaleta.
With 60 minutes gone Villa introduced their talismanic striker Benteke who has been out for six months with injury. He received a rapturous applause from the home fans and the Belgian looked sharp from the offset. However city also introduced midfielder Fernando and a combination of the Brazilian and defender Vincent Kompany marked him out of the game removing Villa’s attacking threat.
With 82 minutes gone the home side’s resistance was broken. Toure, who has had a sluggish start to the season, picked the ball up unmarked on the edge of the area and with the Villa defence standing off him, he curled a sumptuous effort into the near post with his left foot to net his first goal of the season. Aguero doubled the lead with two minutes to go after creating space on the edge of the area; he skipped past three defenders to fire home from 20 yards. This gave city a score line which was unfair on the hosts’.
The result now leaves Villa without a win in three games but it seems City have finally clicked into gear with a solid overall performance. Despite being rarely threatened, the City defence was strong and the attack force was enough to overcome even the most determined of Villa defence’s.