EPL: Bernardo Silva's screamer helps Manchester City beat Aston Villa 2-1

Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva gave a two goal lead to Manchester City going into the break before Aston Villa pulled one back through Ollie Watkins in the second half.

Bernardo Silva scored the winner in Manchester City's 2-1 win over Aston Villa; Credit: Twitter/@premierleague

Manchester City defeated Aston Villa 2-1 in the Premier League fixture at Villa Park on Wednesday to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea. Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Man City while Bernardo Silva doubled their lead with a screamer going into the break. Although Aston Villa pulled one back through Ollie Watkins quickly after the restart, the visitors held on to the slender lead to take all three points. Both teams created opportunities but were wasteful in front of goal. Meanwhile it was Steven Gerard’s first defeat as Aston Villa manager.

Both sides came into the match on the back of some good form as City had got the better of West Ham in their previous match and Villa defeated Crystal Palace. However, Pep Guardiola’s Man City dominated the first half and were on the attack right from the kickoff. Within the first minute, Riyad Mahrez laid the ball to an overlapping Joao Cancelo on the right side of the penalty area and the latter’s shot from a tight angle was kept out by Emiliano Maritinez. Two minutes later, Martinez made a one-handed save to deny Rodri from inside the box.

The visitors deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes. Raheem Sterling got past John McGinn down the left side with some quick footwork before cutting the ball back for Ruben outside the box. The Portuguese defender’s left-footed strike from 20 yards beat Martinez and ended up at the bottom corner.

Two minutes before the break, City struck again, this time, it was a quick breakaway move. The move started with Mahrez and Cancelo who played their way out of a tight space in their own area before Fernandinho released Jesus down the right flank with an overhead ball. The Brazilian took one touch and looked up before crossing it for Silva, who was dashing forward. The Portuguese international finished off the move with a sensational side-footed volley that flew past Martinez and into the top corner from 18 yards. 

Watkins equalizes but Ederson’s heroics secures City’s win

The home side responded immediately after the break as they reduced the deficit in the 46th minute. Douglas Luiz’ corner from the right flank was slotted in by Watkins. It was poor defending from City as they allowed Watkins too much space inside the area to score with a first time attempt that beat Ederson at the near post.

After the goal, Villa played with more confidence. McGinn’s in-swinging cross from the right flank found Watkins at the far post. The English forward put the ball back into a dangerous area for a lurking Ezri Konsa. But Ruben and Ake made a desperate challenge to deny Villa the equalizer. Although VAR intervened to check a potential penalty, there wasn’t enough in the challenge to reverse the referee’s decision.

Meanwhile at the other end, City could have got their third of the night but Jesus skied Silva’s cross over the bar, 19 minutes from time. Three minutes later, at the other end, Emiliano Buendía played a brilliant through ball to pick the run of Chukwuemeka inside the box. But the 18-year-old shot was turned over the crossbar by Ederson to secure a fourth straight victory for Manchester City.

The win helped Guardiola’s side to 32 points from 14 games, just one behind leaders Chelsea. While Aston Villa are placed at the 13th spot with 16 points.

Pep Guardiola said after the match: “The game we played was fantastic. Difficult game. We knew it. I understand why. Especially after conceding early in the second half, the way we reacted… we played really well.

On whether players will be back from injury soon: “I don’t know. Hopefully they come back soon. The doctor came to me and say, ‘this guy, this guy and this guy can’t travel’ so I say ‘OK. Bring players from the academy and we go with them’.”

On whether they are ready for the title challenge: “Do we have another alternative? So, we are going to face the challenge.”

Sportslumo Desk

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