Treble-winning Manchester City rolling into town certainly didn’t faze Aston Villa, who flew out the traps looking to extend their phenomenal winning PL home run. City were visibly shaken in the opening stages and were fortunate not to fall behind early, as Ederson produced two fine stops to deny Leon Bailey and Pau Torres.
A lull in proceedings followed that frantic start, and that was probably to the relief of City, who in the absence of Rodri, among several other key first-team players, looked disjointed.
In fact, Pep Guardiola’s side were fortunate to even get into the break on level terms after Douglas Luiz had the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be ruled out after the ball ran out of play before he turned home Lucas Digne’s cross.
Only one point and one place separated the two sides before tonight, and there was similarly little to separate them on the pitch. But any attacking impetus was coming from Villa and they again came close on the hour mark, when John McGinn worked a yard in the box and curled a right-footed effort inches wide of the post.
There was more than just three points on the line here for Villa boss Emery, who had never beaten Guardiola in 13 games in the dugout prior to this evening, but he must surely have been believing that hoodoo was close to ending when Bailey’s strike deflected in off Rúben Dias with Ederson rooted to the spot.
You’d be forgiven for expecting Villa to sit back and defend their lead, but they actually did the opposite and came close to doubling their advantage almost instantly when McGinn was first to a loose ball and forced yet another save out of Ederson.
Villa weren’t showing any signs of letting up, and they came within a lick of paint of wrapping up the points in the closing minutes when former City man Luiz rattled the post. Ultimately, the one goal was enough for Villa, who held on to snap a 13-match winless PL H2H streak against City.
Flashscore Man of the Match: John McGinn (Aston Villa)