Aston Villa suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Man City at the Etihad on Sunday, with Ollie Watkins bagging a consolation goal.
Despite making a relatively bright start in the opening few minutes, Villa soon found ourselves behind as Rodri headed home unmarked from a corner to give the hosts an important lead.
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Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez before half-time put Pep Guardiola’s side in complete control heading into the break, and although Villa did improve in the second half, particularly after Watkins scored in his third straight game, the damage had already been done and it was too much for us to overcome.
Naturally, City’s performance level dropped too as they looked to see the game out and pushed forward less, and so overall it was a frustrating evening for Villa as we now look to bounce back against Arsenal at home on Saturday.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Man City:
Emiliano Martinez, 7 – Had it not been for a couple of top saves from the Argentine shot-stopper, we would have found ourselves further behind in the first half. Accurate with his passing out from the back, whether short or longer to the full-backs, but there was a miscommunication with Chambers for the second goal.
Ashley Young, 6 – Struggled with Grealish in truth, as although he stuck to his assignment throughout and didn’t wilt, he had his hands full whenever play switched to that side. Had help from Ramsey but as a pair, they didn’t do well enough nullifying the threat.
Ezri Konsa, 6.5 – A decent shift despite our troubles throughout the first half, as he did well with Haaland for the most part and made some crucial interventions. Clear though that he does miss the presence of Tyrone Mings next to him, and Villa generally miss the centre-half when he’s absent.
Calum Chambers, 5 – A difficult one for him coming in for his first Premier League start since August, and so context is needed in his defence. That said, was beaten time and time again with the ball down his side between him and Digne, and lacked a commanding presence in key situations, particularly in the lead up to the second goal.
Lucas Digne, 5 – Said before the game that it’s surely a no-brainer for Alex Moreno to start now, and this performance arguably moved us closer to that happening next week. Digne struggled defensively as De Bruyne in particular broke into space down that flank between him and Chambers several times, while he offered little in our build-up play.
Jacob Ramsey, 5 – Another really quiet game from him as Emery may need to look at his best position. Showed good early signs with his versatility in different areas of the pitch when the Spaniard first arrived, but that’s back-to-back games now where he has struggled on the right side of midfield.
Douglas Luiz, 6 – Provided an assist for Watkins’ goal with a nice ball into him having won back possession high up the pitch with Duran’s help, and although he did offer an option throughout to build play in midfield, it wasn’t enough to give us any real sense of control over proceedings or to dictate the tempo of the game.
Boubacar Kamara, 5 – Poor from the Frenchman again but could argue that the Villa midfield collectively was as we were overrun in that department in the first half. While Watkins took responsibility for the opening goal, it did look as though Kamara lost Rodri too easily as well and so he’ll need to raise his level again.
Emiliano Buendia, 5 – Frustrating afternoon as similarly to Ramsey, was far too quiet and had no real influence on the game before being replaced. Again, something potentially to look at is his best position on the pitch, as he could be more effective playing closer to Watkins in the final third as opposed to out on the flank.
Leon Bailey, 5 – Another game where he failed to offer enough quality in the final third. Had moments where he could have been a real threat, but either wasted the opportunity or wasn’t accurate enough with his play on the ball. Villa looked to play him in to use his pace in the channels at times, but he just didn’t look like he was on the same page.
Ollie Watkins, 7 – Three goals in as many games, four goals and two assists in eight league outings under Emery. Watkins continues to play a key role for us up front, and that’s coupled with a tireless effort in the attacking third with his movement and pressing. Some promising signs with his partnership with Duran, but he did also struggle with a lack of service for large periods too.
Alex Moreno, 6 – Surely has to get the nod against Arsenal after this one. Not only due to Digne’s struggles but also the positive impression he made off the bench.
John McGinn, 6 – Missed his tenacity and energy in midfield, an important boost getting him back and Villa certainly improved with him on the pitch.
Jhon Duran, 7 – A really lively half-hour from the youngster. Whether it was drifting out to the right side or playing more central, his physical presence, technical ability and movement all provided an important dynamic in the final third. Went agonisingly close to scoring his first Villa goal with an effort that crashed off the crossbar too, while his pressing and pressure was key in the lead up to our goal.
Matty Cash, 6 – Fighting to win his place back in the starting XI, was ok in the closing stages as we pushed to get back into it.
Philippe Coutinho, 6.5 – A bright cameo effort from the Brazilian playmaker. Looked lively and creative as he seems to be picking it up a bit in the last two outings. Hopefully more of that to come from him and potentially knocking on the door for more minutes.