Aston Villa failed to make a man advantage pay against Manchester City this evening, instead deciding to level the playing field by dropping down to ten men too.
Aston Villa hosted one of the The Super League traitors at Villa Park this evening, hoping to steal three points from top side Manchester City.
Aston Villa took the lead in under 20 seconds as quick-thinking Tyrone Mings took a quick free-kick, firing it long towards Ollie Watkins, who would square the ball for the onrushing John McGinn to poke past Ederson.
The next 20 minutes were a barrage of Manchester City pressure and possession as they looked to get into the game, but Aston Villa’s defence and goalkeeper were holding staunch.
In the 21st minute, Phil Foden striked City level. Ederson played a long ball in behind, which found its way out wide with Mahrez, who played Bernado Silva in out wide. Silva squared the ball centrally and Foden was there to side-foot it into the bottom left.
Several minutes before the end of the half, Manchester City were gifted a contentious free-kick on the edge of the Aston Villa box – a refereeing gaffe that could have turned sour – but Mahrez’ shot was blocked well by the Aston Villa wall.
In the 40th, Manchester City grabbed a second. The ball was dinked into the box by Bernardo Silva, where Rodri was waiting to head the ball into an empty net after Martinez’ rushed out to attempt to collect.
John Stones was booked for a reckless, high challenge in the 42nd minute on Jacob Ramsey as the youngster looked to break. VAR checked the tackle for ‘serious foul play’, before advising referee Peter Banks to view the pitch-side monitor. He changed his earlier decision, and gave John Stones a straight red card – a nightmare evening for the centre-back who was at fault for Aston Villa’s opener. Ilkay Gundogan was also given a yellow card during the process for laying a hand on an official.
Manchester City went in at the break a goal ahead.
Aston Villa made a tactical change at half time, replacing Jacob Ramsey with Keinan Davis. Manchester City also made a change, replacing Gabriel Jesus with Aymeric Laporte.
Matty Cash was booked in the 54th minute for pulling back Phil Foden as the City youngster looked to attack. Numbers were levelled just two minutes later as Cash’s poor touch allowed Foden to dispossess him, and the fullback made a rash decision and dived into a challenge worthy of a second yellow. The numbers were level again.
In the 62nd minute, Dean Smith opted to replace Marvelous Nakamba, with a more attacking option in Ross Barkley coming into the fray.
Twelve minutes later, with Aston Villa struggling to find the right pass, Anwar El Ghazi replaced Bertrand Traore to make his 100th appearance for the club.
The game had very much petered out following the second dismissal of the game, with any chances being fleeting ones rather than clear cut, and the home side struggling to make inroads into City’s final third.
A tale of two dismissals, with players surely knowing they could have done more.