Manchester City hand Slippy G a lifeline as the blues drop points

Manchester City travelled to Villa Park to face Slippy G’s Aston Villa on Saturday and were disappointed not to come away with all 3 points as they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Starting XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan (C), Silva, Foden, Haaland. 

In large contrast to City’s midweek game, their cohesion in the final third was poor. If it wasn’t for some De Bruyne and Haaland brilliance, there would have been little else going on in front of Martinez.

Some brilliant opportunities created in the first half that lacked composure, particularly from Walker who missed an excellent chance to square the ball to Haaland and take an early lead.

Whilst Manchester City did dominate like we’re used to seeing, the play was slow and passing sloppy. This is bound to happen with the fixture congestion not only with Champions League games, but the winter World Cup.

Aston Villa set up well, though they put nothing in front of the blues that they haven’t overcome before. Whilst they took their one chance well, the tactical foul was yet again missing, backing off and allowing Villa to get too close the box.

The first goal of the game came as De Bruyne forced himself down the right side and whipped a stunning cross behind the defence, straight to the back post where Haaland was waiting and he tucked it in nicely past Martinez.

As the game looked flat, Pep took Bernardo off in the 73rd minute. We all know Pep is the best manager to ever grace us, but we also know he’s capable of making some curious decisions.

Mahrez replaced Bernardo Silva, a substitution which is always likely to leave us vulnerable. Whilst Mahrez has his own qualities and brilliance, he just doesn’t have the defensive tenacity and control that the Portuguese brings to the side.

Unsurprisingly, Villla went on to score in the 74th minute. As Ramsey broke down the right side where Bernardo would have tracked back to. The ball was pulled back to Bailey who struck the ball sweetly, a great finish.

Minutes later Coutinho had the ball in the back of the net after the linesman flagged for offside – though had the whistle not blown, the goal would likely have stood.

Walker was yanked off in the 80th minute due to injury, and we saw the return of Ake who was in excellent form before picking up an injury against Newcastle. Fans will be pleased to see the bolstered defence.

Fans took to social media to question the exclusion of Alvarez who had put in a stunning performance midweek, and could have been just what we needed to cause the Villa defence some serious problems.

The blues looked leggy, were being beaten to stray balls and Alvarez has a spark and energy that has the ability to inspire those around him.

Nevertheless, we sit in second level on points with Spurs, who we face next Saturday. Not before City travel to Spain to start their Champions League campaign against Sevilla. Both tricky games, but we’re Manchester City! We’re the best team in the land and all the world…..