Villa was taken apart by a Manchester City side that never seemed to get out of second gear at the Eastlands. Manchester has not been a good place for Villa. City has only lost twice to Villa at home since the Premiership was formed. Visions of Lee Hendrie losing the plot & getting sent off, of Gareth Barry missing a vital penalty, Downing giving up to allow a ball to roll into an unguarded net and a Ballotelli hat-trick come to mind when I think of this fixture.
Although we’ve won there a couple of times, once under O’Neill apparently, I only can recall one time of us winning there. A 3-2 win the late 70’s.
In the first half, Villa gave as good as they got. Villa had more possession and for a brief 10 minute period it looked like Villa could actually do something as the home supporters got frustrated as City gave up possession sloppily.
Agbonlahor had Villa’s best chance of the half. He found himself one on one with Joe Hart, but the keeper did all the right things and kept the striker out. Warnock got upset as he was in the clear with a better chance of scoring, but Gabby’s pass would have had to have the perfect weight and aim or else the chance would have been no easier than Gabby’s. Gabby’s best chance of scoring would have been the difficult outside of boot shot.
BALLOTELLI had a great chance but scuffed his shot wide. He got into a fracas with the Villa fans who taunted him when he slipped. The Italian Villa killa got his own back with a lovely overhead kick that crept under the bar for 1-0.
Villa started the second half well out of the gates, but soon found themselves 2-0 down. A high ball to Adam JOHNSONshould have been cut out by Warnock, but the fullback missed the ball and the England winger had an easy time converting his shot.
KOMPANY added a third as Villa seemed to give up. Bannan and N’Zogbia were added to the field and Bannan looked lively immediately and helped Villa get on the scoreboard. His through ball found Bent and he got the ball to Gabby on the right. His cross bounced around the middle and fell to WARNOCK whose 3rd shot of the game bounced in off the crossbar.
James MILNER hit a superb crossfield ball and was in the perfect position to receive it back as it made its way around the edge of the box and curled a delightful shot past Given’s right hand. To his credit, Milner should have celebrated one of his best goals ever, but remained stone faced in respect of the Villa fans that still adore their former midfielder.
City just passed the ball around for 20 minutes as though in a training session and left with the satisfaction of a team topping the table. For Villa it was the first loss of the season and a time to look at the players and tactics.
Given was fine and not to blame for the goals. Hutton had his best game for Villa so far and was not at fault for anything. Dunne dropped a clanger after the 1st goal but wasn’t punished. His overall performance was solid. Clarke never made any bad errors, but never did anything worthwhile either. Warnock probably cost Villa any chance of getting back into the game with his missed clearance. Had Dunne or Clarke been behind him then attempting volley is okay. However, with no back up, he should have controlled the ball with his thigh and booted into row z.
Petrov looked slow and held the ball too long. Delph was sloppy on the ball; it would be great to see him play a few games in the reserves again, but Bradley was let go and Makoun was sent out on loan. Ireland had a couple of nice touches, but was over-run. The 3 subs- N’Zogbia had no impact, Bannan did, but faded and got frustrated, Albrighton was not even noticed until the final whistle when the camera panned on him.
Heskey was a waste out there. He was like the lonely guy invited on a couples date. Why would McLeish go to Man City with 3 forwards? Agbonlahor looked busy but lacked service. Bent was not sharp at all. Ireland and Agbonlahor both put great passes through to him in the area that he reacted to late & didn’t appear to sprint after, but just lope.
There is no spark in the team. There is no great hope that could make us a different side. No reason for fans to spend their money to watch this side. If Randy is going to drop the payroll down even more, then the fan support will drop with it. These are dire times to be a Villa fan….. unless a Gary Gardner or Andreas Weimer can become superstars overnight that is.