Man City 3-1 Aston Villa: Player ratings as City cruise to crucial win

Manchester City closed the gap at the top of the Premier League table to just three points with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

First half goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez were enough for City despite a second half goal from Ollie Watkins.

Inside the opening four minutes, the home side took the lead through Rodri. The defensive midfielder rose highest at the near post to head home a Mahrez corner kick to make it 1-0.

Rodri almost turned provider a few minutes later, sliding a brilliant through ball into the path of fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. The German however, was unable to best Emi Martinez with his subsequent side-footed effort on goal - seeing the strike well saved by the World Cup winner.

Gundogan did find the back of the net in the 13th minute, half-volleying into an empty net from the edge of the box. The goal was disallowed due to Erling Haaland clattering into Martinez in the build up play.

The German would find the net again near the end of the first half, only this time the goal would count. After Haaland capitalised on some confusion between Calum Chambers and Martinez at the back, the striker drilled the ball across goal and into the path of Gundogan, who made no mistake at the back post to make it 2-0.

In the final minute of the half, Man City made it three from the penalty spot after Jacob Ramsey clipped the heels of Jack Grealish inside the box. Mahrez stepped up to fire the resulting spot kick into the top left corner of the net.

The second half was similarly comfortable for Man City up until the 60th minute, when Villa surprisingly got back into the game. The goal came from Ollie Watkins after Douglas Luiz played the forward through on goal on the right of the penalty area. Watkins made no mistake with his resulting strike on goal, firing low past Ederson in the City net.

The concession of a goal sparked City into life at the other end, with substitute Julian Alvarez being denied a goal by a brilliant block from Ezri Konza after Grealish had chipped the ball to the back post.

In the final 10 minutes, Villa tried their best to find a second goal, bringing on Philippe Coutinho to try and do just that. The former Liverpool man came close to scoring one of the better goals of the season thus far in the 82nd minute, cutting in from the left flank and curling a brilliant effort goalward - an effort that was tipped over the crossbar by Ederson.

As Villa pushed forward, more and more gaps appeared at the back. Mahrez really should have taken advantage of those gaps in the 85th minute after finding himself clean through on goal, but could only balloon his resulting strike literally a million miles over the crossbar.

Man City player ratings

Rodri set the ball rolling | Richard Sellers/GettyImages

GK - Ederson - 6/10 - Could do nothing about the goal, but did a lot to deny Coutinho a goal late in the game.

CB - Kyle Walker - 6/10 - Looks better in a RCB role than he does as a right-back these days. Another composed performance.

CB - Ruben Dias - 6/10 - Made a brilliant tackle on Leon Bailey in the first half. Subbed off at half-time.

CB - Aymeric Laporte - 6/10 - Distribution was decent.

DM - Rodri - 8/10 - Made up for his recent underwhelming performances with an early goal.

DM - Bernardo Silva - 6/10 - Lost the ball in the lead up to Villa's goal.

RM - Riyad Mahrez - 7/10 - Bagged an early assist and then scored a penalty before half-time.

AM - Kevin De Bruyne - 7/10 - His delivery into the box was as impeccable as ever.

AM - Ilkay Gundogan - 8/10 - The best player on the pitch. Gundogan bagged a goal and was at the heart of every attacking move.

LM - Jack Grealish - 6/10 - Lively on the left and won a penalty in the first half.

ST - Erling Haaland - 5/10 - An ok performance. Subbed off at half-time.


SUB - Julian Alvarez - 6/10 - Amazing he's only coming off the bench.

SUB - Manuel Akanji - 4/10 - City's defence were noticeably worse when he came on.

SUB - Phil Foden - N/A.

SUB - Nathan Ake - N/A.


Pep Guardiola - 6/10 - A bit of a bizarre team selection rounded off a bit of a bizarre week. Still, City had more than enough to quality to basically not play with a left-back.

Aston Villa player ratings

Calum Chambers had a rough afternoon in Villa's defence | Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

GK - Emiliano Martinez - 4/10 - Didn't cover himself in glory in the lead up to City's second.

RB - Ashley Young - 2/10 - Asleep at the near post for the first goal, and then asleep at the back post for the second. Not great.

CB - Ezri Konza - 5/10 - Made a goal-saving block in the second half.

CB - Calum Chambers - 2/10 - As calamitous as you'd expect. Which is very calamitous.

LB - Lucas Digne - 4/10 - Didn't get forward enough.

RM - Jacob Ramsey - 4/10 - Gifted Man City a penalty before half-time.

CM - Douglas Luiz - 6/10 - Set up Villa's consolation goal.

CM - Boubacar Kamara - 3/10 - City's midfielders ran rings around him.

LM - Emiliano Buendia - N/A - Honestly didn't even know he was on the pitch.

ST - Leon Bailey - 3/10 - Needed to do a lot more than he did.

ST - Ollie Watkins - 6/10 - Took the one chance that was presented to him.


John McGinn in action for Villa | PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

SUB - Alex Moreno - 6/10 - Lively when he came on. Much better than Digne.

SUB - Jhon Duran - 5/10 - Hit the crossbar late on.

SUB - John McGinn - 6/10 - Added some much needed grit to the Villa midfield.

SUB - Matty Cash - N/A.

SUB - Philippe Coutinho - 5/10 - Forced Ederson into a good save.


Unai Emery - 5/10 - There's not a lot you can do when your side go a goal down inside five minutes against City. Decent second half showing that offers hope for the coming weeks.

Player of the Match - Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)

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Source : 90min