Manchester City traveled to Villa Park to take on Slippy G’s Aston Villa on Saturday and were disappointed not to come away with the 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.
Unlike City’s midweek game, their cohesion in the final third was poor. If it hadn’t been for the brilliance of De Bruyne and Haaland, there wouldn’t have been much else ahead of Martinez.
Some brilliant opportunities created in the first half that lacked composure, particularly from Walker who missed a great chance to hand the ball to Haaland and take an early lead.
While Manchester City dominated as we are used to seeing, the game was slow and sloppy. This is bound to happen with match congestion not only with Champions League matches, but also with the Winter World Cup.
Aston Villa set up well, although they didn’t put anything ahead of the blues they hadn’t overcome before. While they seized their chance well, the tactical foul was once again lacking, falling back and allowing Villa to get too close to the box.
The first goal of the game came when De Bruyne forced himself down the right side and whipped a superb cross past the defence, straight to the back post where Haaland was waiting and he slipped it well past Martinez.
As the match looked flat, Pep took off Bernardo in the 73rd minute. We all know that Pep is the best manager that has ever graced us, but we also know that he is capable of making curious decisions.
Mahrez has replaced Bernardo Silva, a replacement that still risks making us vulnerable. While Mahrez has his own qualities and brilliance, he simply lacks the defensive tenacity and control that the Portuguese brings to the team.
Unsurprisingly, Villa scored in the 74th minute. While Ramsey broke down the right side where Bernardo would have returned. The ball was returned to Bailey who hit the ball softly, a great finish.
Minutes later, Coutinho had the ball in the back of the net after the linesman signaled for offside – even if the whistle hadn’t been blown, the goal would likely have stood.
Walker was ripped off in the 80th minute through injury, and we saw the return of Ake who was in excellent form before being injured against Newcastle. Fans will be pleased to see the defense strengthened.
Fans took to social media to question the exclusion of Alvarez who put in a stunning midweek performance, and could have been just what we needed to cause serious problems for the defense of the Villa.
This game needs Julian Alvarez ngl. I know for a fact that it will have a huge impact
— ¹⁰ (@SxrgioSZN) September 3, 2022
This game needed Julian Alvarez
— ⚡️🇧🇼 (@Priceless_Silva) September 3, 2022
What is Pep doing we need a goal and Alvarez coming 2 games ago changed the game and scored last 2 games. Why is he still sitting on the bench
— Walter (@ManCitizen06) September 3, 2022
The blues looked long, were battered by stray balls and Alvarez has a spark and energy that has the ability to inspire those around him.
Nonetheless, we sit second tier on points with Spurs, who we face next Saturday. Not before City travel to Spain to start their Champions League campaign against Sevilla. Two tricky games, but we are Manchester City! We are the best team in the country and in the world…..