City returned to winning ways on Saturday, with what can only be described as a comfortable victory against an extremely poor Aston Villa side, but while Arsenal & Spurs took a share of the spoils, Leicester clocked up another win to keep the gap at the top the same. After the disappointment of midweek, and most sensible fans giving up any real hope of the title, in spite of the 3 points here nothing really changes. The first half saw City dominate possession, with Aston Villa largely reduced to chasing shadows, and benefitting from the odd misplaced pass from the home side. Regardless, they went into the break level after City squandered the few chances they did carve out, Bony being guiltiest as he failed to get on the end of a fantastic cross from Clichy to steer home, while also wasting two great headers as City looked to break the deadlock. There was also a fantastic piece of skill from Sergio Agüero that deserved more than being pushed away with relative ease from Brad Guzan.
One can only imagine what was said to the team at the break, but after the half-time interval they came out guns blazing, keen to put Villa to the sword, and it didn’t take long for them to take the lead. After some neat play on the wing, although aided in large by a complete lack of interest from Villa in hounding down the ball, the complete opposite of what they faced against Liverpool in the week, Sergio cut back to David Silva, who picked out Yaya Touré to stroke home with the help of a deflection off former Blue Micah Richards. Soon after the lead was doubled, when Richards was again the Villain of the piece, as his clearance deflected straight into the path of Agüero and beyond the hapless Guzan.
Agüero then grabbed his second after a fantastic piece of interplay with David Silva, who was largely back to his best in the 2nd half, before beating Guzan at his near post. The misery was complete for Villa when an innocuous cross from Navas was able to bypass the entire Villa defence, leaving substitute Raheem Sterling to stroke home with ease. There was still chance for Agüero to claim his hat-trick, after another substitute Kelechi Iheanacho was clearly felled in the box, but the Argentine could only watch on as his penalty beat the Villa keeper but struck the base of the post and rolled wide. In truth, a clinical City could have won this game far more emphatically than they did, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and while the visitors offered nothing, City did all they needed to claim the 3 points without any undue exertion or risks.
Some will see this as yet another turning point, another false dawn in the season which has often offered so much and yet delivered so little. Already several media outlets were keen to put City right back into the epicentre of the title race, no doubt as much to set them up for further criticism down the line as to underline the belief that the team who have clawed back points deficits twice before would do so again. To me, it was a case of an easy 3 points against an extremely poor side, nothing more. And any talks of a late charge on the title should wait until we can at least string together 4-5 wins on the bounce, the kind of form that has escaped us this season, and this one result and performance alone do little to change that. Next up is a trip to Norwich next Saturday, a team who, like Villa, but with far more success, are fighting for Premier League survival. Unlike Villa, however, they are unlikely to lay down and give up quite as easy as yesterday’s visitors. The best that can be said for Villa is that their misery is almost over, and relegation from the Premier League almost assured. At worst, based on the complete lack of desire shown by a large number of players, a 2nd relegation back to back could quite easily happen to this once great club, who more closely resembled a dog rolling over for it’s belly tickled than the lion their badge depicts. We’ve been there, seen it, and worn the t-shirt, and it’s fair to say it’s sad to see the demise of such a great club at the hands of a ruthless owner. That being said, the whole scenario merely serves as a smack in the face of those who are keen to criticise owners such as ours, who have only aimed to bring about positive change within a club/community, rather than those out for their own financial gain, with little thought as to how their decisions affect the football club itself.Share this: