ASTON VILLA 3, MANCHESTER CITY 2
“We played really well but it’s incredible the way we lost this game.” said Manuel Pellegrini of City’s bizarre defeat at Villa Park today in which Aston Villa clawed back a City lead twice and then won it with a third goal.
It would have been easy to predict a walkover for City after looking at Villa’s form at home this season but City haven’t won away yet and Villa boss Paul Lambert’s tactical reshuffle, coupled with a large slice of luck and a questionable equaliser, ensured that Villa sealed a first win of the season at home and without their two injured star forwards Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor while City went home empty handed.
A 3-5-2 formation ensured that Villa packed the midfield but conceded the flanks and vast majority of possession (66%) to City. Crucially, City had made only two changes to the side that comprehensively demolished Manchester United last weekend and they lost the pace of Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero who might have stretched the game as they did against United.
James Milner came in for Navas and Edin Dzeko partnered Alvaro Negredo while Sergio Aguero nursed an injury which would not be risked ahead of next week’s Bayern Munich Champion’s League match.
Villa had to weather an almighty City storm and somehow kept a rampant City at bay with a collection of collective defending and goal-line clearances to defy wave after wave of City attacks until Yaya Toure scuffed City into the lead just before half time from a corner. It was the Ivorian’s sixth goal of the season.
Villa levelled matters through Karim El Ahmadi just 5 minutes into the second half despite strong suspicions of offside.
Dzeko rose at another corner put City back into the lead in the 56th minute off his back.
Andreas Wiemann won a free kick after a rash tackle by Matija Nastasic just outside the area and Joe Hart was given no chance by a sweetly struck free kick by Leandro Bacuna to level matters again in the 73rd minute.
Weimann hit the winner just two minutes later after a mistake at the back following a flick-on by Libor Kozak from Brad Guzan’s goal kick found Weimann running free with the defence stranded to win the game for Villa.
Substitute Stevan Jovetic had two goes at salvaging a point but Villa held on for the win.