Phil Foden leads City to a huge win in title race - Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City Review
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
After off-the-field events have shaken the world of football in recent days, Manchester City made no mistake in taking care of matters on the field with a mature, hard-fought, and well-merited victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday night. The blues came into the game knowing that any more slip-ups would give rivals United the initiative to close the gap even more, but business was taken care of and City are now eleven points clear at the top. Three more wins required to win the Premier League title and a third in four seasons.
The events concerning the European Super League have shaken football to its core over recent days, with the dictatorial, uncompetitive competition threatening to steal our game from us. The news dominated Guardiola's presser yesterday, only hours before City backing out, and it looked like the news had been a distraction on the team after only twenty seconds when John McGinn acutely finished, giving the hosts the lead (1). It was a huge judgement error by John Stones, who slid for the ball but completely made a hash of it as it bobbled through to Ollie Watkins, who played into the Scotsman who finished expertly.
John McGinn's smart finish gave the hosts their lead. The goal was also the joint-quickest PL goal this season, with Miguel Almiron's goal for Newcastle also after twenty seconds.
City soon clicked into gear though and their equaliser was a classic City goal we've come to witness under Pep Guardiola. A long-ball from Ederson found Foden, who passed across to Mahrez, who then laid off to Bernardo Silva who passed it across the box for Foden to finish in on his right foot (22), giving the English talent his 23rd goal contribution this season for City - the second-highest of anyone at the club after De Bruyne with 24.
Pep's side continued to probe as Foden threatened the Villa defence time after time, and it was his skill that led to a corner just before the end of his half. Foden's resulting corner then led to Bernardo Silva swinging a cross in for Rodri, who heading in past Emi Martinez who made a hopeless leap to collect the ball as Rodri just nodded it past him with ease (40).
Rodri's header gave City a vital lead at Villa Park.
City were now in gear and cruising to a half-time lead until John Stones made another serious error (45). After Jacob Ramsey knocked the ball on past him, the defender stabbed out a straight leg and caught the Villa man on the knee, thus leading to a VAR review and a red card. A half to forget for John Stones, who will be disappointed himself.
The second-half looked to be swaying in Aston Villa's favour until a couple of moments of madness by Matty Cash. First, the defender was booked for a foul on Foden in the Villa half. Then, barely minutes later, the defender made a hopeless lunge at the ball after Foden had dispossessed the right-back, leading to a second yellow and absolutely zero complaints.
With the game now seemingly level again City quickly were back in their rhythm, dominating the rest of the game and creating numerous more chances to no avail. The blues comfortably saw out the game though and now head into Sunday's Carabao Cup final with an eleven point lead at the summit of the Premier League with five games to go.
Player Ratings: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Dias (7), Stones (4), Zinchenko (7), Rodri (8), Gundogan (7), Bernardo (8), Mahrez (7), Jesus (5), Foden (9)
Subs: Laporte (6), Fernandinho (N/A)
Phil Foden won City both legs against Borussia Dortmund and the twenty-year-old has become a sensation this season at City. It's remarkable to think that he's only played two of the last nine Premier League games because whenever he's in the team, City tend to win. That's a huge testament to the nature of his influence that is becoming stronger by the game. He's a truly gifted player and a gift to the club who he has supported all his life, making his success even sweeter.
Phil Foden has 23 goal contributions this season, only second to Kevin De Bruyne (24) at the club. Gem.
John Stones' three-match suspension now means that with crunch Premier League ties and the Carabao Cup final on the horizon, Aymeric Laporte will be called upon to fill the role that the Englishman has played so well this season alongside Ruben Dias. It was the French defender's COVID absence that led to Stones' revival in the early part of the season, so this is now the chance that the defender has to take if he wants to be the number one centre-back at the club.
Three. To. Go.
With the ESL firmly dissolved and out of the question, this game did have serious meaning. Any other slip-ups would've presented United with a huge chance to close the gap to five points but City made sure of a thoroughly professional job that means only three more wins out of the five remaining games can secure the blues' fifth title in nine years, and third in four. That's simply a remarkable feat and one the entire club should be proud of, should the blues win these next three games and wrap up a league they've deserved to win this season.
City are now three wins away from a third league title under Pep Guardiola.