Premier League

February 12, 2012

Full-time

Aston Villa

0 - 1

Manchester City

Premier League

16:00 +00:00, February 12, 2012

Villa Park, England

Referee: Michael Oliver

  •  

    If Villa continue like that, they could get dragged into a relegation battle. They're now down to 15th.

  •  

    City didn't play well either but they've got the win and continuing to do so, even when they're not performing, is great news for their title bid

  •  

    That's one of the worst games I've seen this season. Villa were very unambitious and it's a shame, as they've some talented footballers.

  •  

    Full-time: Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City

  • 90'

    Hart very nearly spilt the ball there! Would have been unfair after another commanding performance

  • 90'

    Dunne off, Baker on

  • 90'

    Dunne's hurt himself, and is coming off...

  • 90'

    Silva off, Richards on

  • 90'

    Closest yet for Villa, that chance will certainly unsettle City

  • 90'

    And they go close, too! Great save by Hart when Bent looked set to equalise!

  • 90'

    Villa win another corner! Kolarov's wayward header fails to clear and it gifts Villa another chance

  • 89'

    As clear a sign as any that Mancini wants to preserve City's lead, that change

  • 89'

    Aguero off, Dzeko on

  • 88'

    Cuellar heads over! That's as close as anyone has got to scoring for Villa today. Maybe that was their chance...

  • 87'

    Villa win a corner. Chance for Dunne to score?

  • 86'

    Very much a stalemate in midfield currently. Even Bent's coming deeper to join in when, really, he should be in and around the penalty area

  • 85'

    Johnson off, Nasri on

  • 84'

    City have a throw-in in Villa's half... (Nasri's getting warmed up)

  • 82'

    Aguero offside there! He fired just wide anyway, so it wouldn't have mattered, but it's a reminder that City are capable of punishing Villa if they continue to press forward

  • 81'

    Hart saves well from Dunne's header. City again with the ball at the back

  • 80'

    Villa now beginning to press forward more. They want the equaliser now and they've got a corner

  • 78'

    Ireland's on - it's a chance for him to make an impact against his former club

  • 78'

    Albrighton off, Ireland on

  • 77'

    Comically bad header from Hutton there, when if he'd controlled successfully he was in a good crossing position. Complete waste

  • 75'

    Play's currently stoppped due to a pitch invader...

  • 74'

    Hart collects well from Gardner's cross. City are hardly imperious at the back so why didn't they try to attack sooner?

  • 74'

    Why wouldn't he - it puts them back to the top of the league.

  • 73'

    City are now very comfortable in possession. One can't help but feel Mancini targeted a 1-0 victory from the start of today's match and that he's happy to play for that.

  • 71'

    Uninspiring move there from Villa. Cuellar's cross not accurate another to give anyone a good goalscoring chance, and Hart colletcs.

  • 70'

    That's a positive substitution by McLeish. A chance for N'Zogbia to finally have an impact at Villa (not that he's had many chances)

  • 69'

    N'Zogbia on, Heskey off

  • 65'

    City suddenly finding even more space. Another goal could very much be imminent

  • 63'

    Lescott shot past Given from in front of goal after the ball was headed into his path. The goal has been coming, so Villa need to make changes now if they're to do anything over than limit the damage

  • 63'

    GOAL Lescott fires City in front

  • 62'

    Well defended from Collins, heading the free-kick over. City corner

  • 62'

    Silva booked

  • 62'

    City free-kick on the edge of the Villa penalty area after Petrov fouls Silva

  • 61'

    Good effort from Silva, chipping a nicely-weighted pass over the top of Villa's defence, but Dunne manages to hook the ball away

  • 60'

    Villa, however, remain committed to defending

  • 59'

    Fortunately the game's suddenly beginning to open up a bit. There's more space in midfield and, though Villa continue to crowd the penalty area, City are now playing with a bit more freedom

  • 58'

    It's another corner for City...

  • 57'

    Good effort from Zabaleta, but Given saves well with the ball heading towards the top corner

  • 56'

    Villa are actually defending well at the moment, difficult to see where a City goal comes from.

  • 54'

    Lescott heads over! Closer for them, but Mancini currently looks as bored as anyone else watching the game

  • 52'

    Well defended by Gardner, intercepting Johnson's through-ball.

  • 52'

    Dzeko's warming up...

  • 51'

    Poor from Milner. Miss-hits a long pass and gifts Villa a throwing. City are now the ones who need more urgency

  • 50'

    Comes to nothing. Villa do some more positive to start with, however

  • 49'

    Corner for Villa. Collins and Dunne currently look their most likely goalscorers

  • 48'

    Given collects the corner well. Villa now - possibly - looking to attack

  • 47'

    City win an early corner. It very much appears as though he patterns in this half, at least to start with, will resemble those in the first-half

  • 46'

    And at the first opportunity send a long ball forward to Heskey...

  • 46'

    Villa kick-off...

  •  

    There's no point in being optimistic McLeish will try and win the game, but Mancini knows there's three points to be won and has Nasri, Pizarro and Dzeko on the bench. He could change the game with ease.

  •  

    What an uninspiring half that was. Very little excitement of which to speak - the result of negativity from both managers.

  •  

    Half-time: Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City

  • 45'

    There's going to be one minute of stoppage time played. It'd have been a shock if there'd been any more than that; time for City to make some changes to open Villa up more - they don't need Barry and De Jong on together

  • 44'

    City again with the ball at the back, and are comfortable in possession. Villa are more than happy for them to keep it there.

  • 42'

    Dunne heads over. City goal-kick

  • 42'

    Villa win a corner! Chance for a goal?

  • 41'

    Villa actually made their way into the penalty area there, but Keane's cross was cleared by Lescott

  • 40'

    Kolarov fires over with a curling effort. Villa goal-kick

  • 39'

    City free-kick, and it's from shooting range. Milner or Kolarov to take

  • 38'

    Villa really need to get Bent and Keane into this game more (and introduce Ireland).

  • 37'

    Good tackle by De Jong in midfield. Emblematic of how comfortably in control City are. Can't help but feel City will score if they go up a gear.

  • 34'

    Dangerous there from Aguero, briefly, but he didn't connect with the ball there as he should have done. Hutton deflects wide.

  • 33'

    City attempting long balls towards Aguero currently but not only is that not his game, Collins and Dunne are at the back for Villa and are far more authoritative.

  • 30'

    Aguero fires shockingly wide! Did well to get into a shooting position but was then off-balance and snatched at the ball before slicing wide

  • 29'

    Lots of complaints about kits clashing between Villa and City: City's away kit doesn't contrast enough with Villa's.

  • 29'

    Comes to nothing. City with the ball in midfield again

  • 28'

    Another corner for City. They're building the pressure on Villa but Kolarov's shot was deflected wide

  • 27'

    Johnson hits the post! Could do little else with Villa packing the penalty box, but it was a good effort. Villa goal-kick

  • 27'

    And again...

  • 26'

    City corner...

  • 25'

    Good work again from Silva, who worked his way into Villa's penalty box before crossing. The cross was deflected away from danger but it was a brief spark in an otherwise uneventful game.

  • 24'

    They're also not giving enough chances to other players like Ciaran Clark and Fabian Delph. The days of Martin O'Neill are certainly long gone.

  • 23'

    ...He did a superb job at Birmingham City, and has proven himself to be a good manager, but this is not the right job for him. There's genuine creativity in this squad with Ireland and N'Zogbia - even Agbonlahor - if those were at their best, they could challenge City today but there's no attempt to do so.

  • 22'

    Will personally have little sympathy for McLeish if he does get the sack at any point...

  • 21'

    Villa goal-kick. Well defended there by Cuellar in forcing Johnson to run the ball out

  • 20'

    City again with the ball at the back. It's been a flat start to the game and the atmosphere's reflecting that

  • 19'

    Aguero offside there. Given to take the resultant free-kick

  • 18'

    Good from Silva. Cut inside from the right, and into Villa's penalty area, before curling an effort in towards Given. It's too close to the 'keeper but still a good effort.

  • 18'

    Decent header by Dunne but Hart catches his effort. Tidy goalkeeping

  • 17'

    Villa have a free-kick after De Jong's foul. Crossing distance, not shooting. Petrov to take.

  • 15'

    City again with the ball at the back. No chances of which to speak. Villa remain unambitious, while City are patient. An early goal for City could genuinely be the end of the game for Villa

  • 13'

    As does Milner, again on the left wing. Villa throw-in now.

  • 12'

    Keane loses possession on the left wing after failing to remain balance there. City throw-in in City's half

  • 10'

    City still comfortable in possession; Villa remain content to keep the ball away from their penalty area.

  • 8'

    If this is the extent of Villa's ambition today, which it most likely is, it's difficult to envision anything other than a sound defeat.

  • 7'

    Promising opening from City. Patient, and not forcing any moves, but probing for openings. Heskey's currently marking Silva but City are making progress with possession.

  • 7'

    City throw-in in Villa's half after Dunne's clearance.

  • 6'

    Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner's in the stands watching younger brother Gary...

  • 5'

    Lots of players can potentially appear against their former sides today; Given and Dunne have started, while Ireland's on the bench for Villa. City, meanwhile, have started with Milner and Barry.

  • 4'

    Decent early effort from Aguero, connects well with the ball but Given says comfortably.

  • 3'

    Mancini's rather cautious today, too. Aguero plays as the lone striker, while Milner, Barry and De Jong will be relied upon to work hard in midfield for Johnson and Silva.

  • 2'

    City have started patiently and are currently keeping possession at the back

  • 1'

    City kick-off.

  •  

    We're now moments from kick-off...

  •  

    A win for Villa looks very unlikely, however, particularly given the negative nature of their line-up. Ireland and N'Zogbia, their two most creative players, are on the bench, while their back four features three central defenders. The message from Alex McLeish is clear: limit the damage.

  •  

    Preamble: With Manchester United top of the Premier League following yesterday's victory over Liverpool, the pressure has increased on City. Avoiding defeat today takes them top again, but their recent form hasn't been as good as it was at the start of the season, and Roberto Mancini has looked nervous lately.

  •  

    Manchester City substitutes: Pantilimon, Richards, Savic, Clichy, Pizarro, Nasri, Dzeko

  •  

    Aston Villa substitutes: Guzan, Warnock, Baker, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Weimann

  •  

    Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Barry, De Jong; Silva, Johnson; Aguero

  •  

    Aston Villa team: Given; Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Cuellar; Petrov, Gardner, Albrighton; Keane; Bent, Heskey