Man City 3-0 Aston Villa: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Raheem Sterling Stars for Citizens

​Manchester City have closed the gap with Liverpool at the top of the table to just three points thanks to their 3-0 win at home to Aston Villa.

The hosts had to endure a frustrating first-half which involved more unsuccessful reviews from the Video Assistant Referee than clear-cut chances, but Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock just 20 seconds after the break with a smart finish under Tom Heaton.

City's one-goal lead was doubled when Kevin De Bruyne's cross was deflected into the back of the net by David Silva, which survived a lengthy review from VAR before the hosts were finally able to celebrate.

İlkay Gündoğan put the icing on the cake for Manchester City just moments later when he was left completely unmarked on the edge of the penalty area, firing a smart volley into the far corner of Aston Villa's net.

There wasn't enough time for a fourth goal and the game actually ended on a sour note for City after Fernandinho needlessly picked up his second yellow card in the last few minutes of the match, something which could come back to bite them next week.


Manchester City

Key Talking Point

Patience is a virtue. And Manchester City proved that saying to be true perfectly on Saturday.

The Premier League champions were guilty of getting frustrated throughout the opening 45 minutes, but City took the lead through Raheem Sterling with a blink and you'll miss it moment at the start of the second half.

Ilkay Gundogan

Pep Guardiola's side eventually doubled their lead and went on to cruise to pick up three points, but that was only possible as a result of City's patience throughout the game when it came to breaking through Aston Villa's defence.


Player Ratings

Ederson (7); Cancelo (7), Stones (7), Fernandinho (6), Mendy (6); De Bruyne (7), Gundogan (7), D. Silva (8); B. Silva (7), Jesus (7), Sterling (8).

Substitutes: Angelino (6), Foden (7), Aguero (6).


Star Man

It wasn't Raheem Sterling's best performance in a Manchester City shirt, but the England international stepped up to be counted exactly when his side needed him too.

The 24-year-old as bright and alert just a few seconds into the second-half to capitalise on Gabriel Jesus' header and score a vital opener, something which in turn made things easier for City to add to the scoreline through David Silva and İlkay Gündoğan.

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Taking his tally for the season up to 13 already, Sterling's importance as the centrepiece of Manchester City's is becoming more obvious and he's quickly overtaking De Bruyne as the first name on Guardiola's teamsheet.


Aston Villa

Key Talking Point

Setting up to counter-attack against the Premier League champions is hardly a revolutionary tactic, but Aston Villa did a lot more on Saturday than simply using the pace of Trézéguet, Wesley and Jack Grealish.


From front to back Villa worked tirelessly to frustrate Manchester City, limiting their chances at goal and crucially stopping the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva from picking killer passes in the final third.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-ASTON VILLA

Aston Villa's impressive performance proved to be for nothing as Raheem Sterling scored the opening goal just 20 seconds into the second half, but the visitors showed enough at the Etihad which suggests they'll avoid relegation comfortable this season.


Player Ratings

Heaton (7); Guilbert (7), Engles (6), Mings (7), Targett (6); Nakamba (8*), McGinn (6), Luiz (7); Trezeguet (7), Grealish (8), Wesley (6).

Substitutes: Davis (6), El Ghazi (6).


Star Man

It's hardly surprising given his name, but defensive midfielder Nakamba had a...Marvellous first-half performance against Manchester City.


The 25-year-old didn't contribute going forward, but Nakamba was the catalyst that frustrated Manchester City's attacking players, popping up everywhere in front of the back four to stop almost every shot at goal.

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Single-handedly stopping Pep Guardiola's City ultimately proved to be too much for the Zimbabwe international to manage for the full 90 minutes, but it was a performance which proved Villa have what it takes defensively to go toe to toe with the Premier League's biggest and best.


Looking Ahead

Attention now turns to the Carabao Cup for both sides, with Manchester City hosting Southampton just days before a repeat of the same fixture in the Premier League next weekend.

Aston Villa are also at home in the cup, knowing a win against Wolves will take them into the quarter-finals of the competitions.


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Source : 90min

Source: 90min