Manchester City cruise past Aston Villa in a 3-0 win at the Etihad in a bid to close their gap to Liverpool. Goals from Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan was enough for three points for the Citizens.
Pep Guardiola’s team now move back into second place and three points behind rivals Liverpool – albeit having played an extra game.
Villa drop down to 13th as Dean Smith’s team were unable to shock the reigning Premier League champions, which was a 28/1.
City were undoubtedly heavy favourites, with odds of a win being 1/12 for good reason.
Manchester City started off strong, of course, creating a good chance in the opening five minutes. Gabriel Jesus fires narrowly wide from inside the penalty box following a scrumptious team move.
It took until ten minutes for Villa to really get in the game with the Citizens suffocating them for the most part with their constant pressure.
It became an end-to-end game with Villa looking dangerous on the counter especially as Guardiola’s side missing plenty of defensive players.
Joao Cancelo struck a great effort from 30 yards, which the keeper saved with relative ease following a penalty appeal from City a minute earlier.
The Villains really should have gone in front two minutes later. John Stones cheaply gives the ball away and Douglas Luiz looks set to score the rebound following a save from Ederson. But he was brought down and no penalty was given.
Villa were playing very well against a quality City side as they were showcasing some great defensive guile and decent fast-pace counter-attacking ability.
However, City were extremely close to scoring just before the end of the half. Sterling dances past a couple of challenges before laying it on a plate for David Silva but the ball trickled agonisingly wide. The Spaniard should have put City ahead.
That action brings the half to a close and the Citizens came out flying in the second half.
Route one football from the reigning Premier League champions gives them a goal. A huge trademark punt from Ederson is flicked on by Jesus into the path of Sterling who makes no mistake with the finish.
The Englishman has been in red-hot form and thus, was no surprise in being 4/7 to score anytime.
City have another huge chance, just ten minutes later. A terrible ball by Bjorn Engels presents City with a glorious chance to double the lead. Engels passes straight to Sterling Jesus who must score. However, Tyrone Mings makes a stunning clearance off the line to keep it to 1-0.
But they did not have to wait long to double their lead. In the 64th minute, Kevin de Bruyne whipped in a great cross, following a short corner, for David Silva to atone his earlier miss and score with the faintest of touches. However, the goal was later awarded to de Bruyne as it was deemed that Silva did not get a touch.
Following a great first half from Villa, Dean Smith’s team capitulated even further five minutes later. Ilkay Gundogan lashes the ball through plenty of players and it finds its way into the net. Three goals in 24 minutes turned a competitive game into a dominant performance by Guardiola’s outfit.
With the game virtually over, not much else throughout the second half. However, a late sending off for Fernandinho causing more headaches for Guardiola. On his 200th league appearance, he was booked for the second time to bring City down to 10 men.
There was still more late drama as Jesus and McGinn both hit the bar in what was end-to-end finish to an easy City win.