Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City: Heroes, villains & player ratings as Villa lose for first time under Gerrard

Aston Villa suffered their first defeat under Steven Gerrard on Wednesday evening

Steven Gerrard tasted defeat for the first time as Head Coach of Aston Villa as he saw his side lose 2-1 to an impressive Manchester City.

Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva saw Pep Guardiola’s men head into the break with a two goal cushion before Ollie Watkins halved the deficit within a minute of the restart.

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Villa were much improved in the second 45 but City were resilient and held on to hand Gerrard his first taste of defeat in the claret & blue.

Steven Gerrard, Manager of Aston Villa gives their side instructions during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park

City came out of the traps fast and almost went ahead with their first shot on target - Rodri forcing a good save from Emiliano Martinez.

The visitors boasted over 80% possession in the first 10 minutes but just as Villa started to work their way into the contest, Ruben Dias of all people popped up to break the deadlock - firing an effort from 25-yards into the bottom corner.

Leon Bailey suffered yet another injury on the half-hour mark and was replaced by Ashley Young before Bernardo Silva doubled City’s lead right before half-time, finishing off a superb counter-attack with a sublime first-time volley past Martinez.

The claret & blue needed to get the third goal after the restart if they were to stand any chance and that they did. Ollie Watkins with a great finish, sweeping home a Douglas Luiz corner.

Young substitute Carney Chukwuemeka had the best chance for a Villa equaliser but Ederson was equal to his strike.

The returning Jack Grealish was introduced for a short cameo in the dying minutes to a mixture of applause and boo’s as City held on and condemned Gerrard to his first defeat as Villa boss.

Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa reacts after Manchester City score a second goal scored by Bernardo Silva (not pictured) during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City

Heroes

  • Ollie Watkins

He’s a man full of confidence under the new manager and his finish tonight backed that up.

To run onto the ball and strike as cleanly and accurately as he did from a corner takes some skill and he made it look easy.

That’s goals in back-to-back home games for the striker now.

  • Steven Gerrard

Villa might have tasted defeat but he showed what he and his side were all about.

In truth, I expected him to start with a more experienced and defensive side to manage the Premier League champions but he stuck to his principles and that showed a lot of faith in his players.

They didn’t sit back, they came to compete and that earned them a lot of respet inside Villa Park.

Whatever he said at half-time worked a trick too as they were superb in the second period and got a well deserved goal for their efforts.

Villains

  • Leon Bailey’s body

The Jamaican just hasn’t been able to catch a break since his arrival at Villa Park.

Joined with an injury, got fit, got another injury, got fit again and tonight suffered another injury, again.

He was hardly an injury prone player before arriving in the west midlands, so maybe it’s just a case of getting up to speed with the physicality of the Premier League but it’s not gone great for him to date.

  • Bernardo Silva

Hero for City. Villain for Villa.

The Portuguese midfielder was outstanding on the night and his sublime finish ultimately won the game for the visitors.

Villa matched City for a lot of the game, second-half in particular, but one player they just simply could not get near was Silva.

Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates with teammate Gabriel Jesus after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park

Player ratings

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez 6; Cash 6, Konsa 6.5, Mings 6.5, Targett 6.5 (66’ Chukwuemeka 6.5); McGinn 6.5, Nakamba 6.5 (77’ Sanson N/A), Luiz 7; Bailey 5.5 (30’ Young 6), Watkins 7.5*, Buendia 6

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson 7; Cancelo 7, Dias 7.5, Ake 7, Zinchenko 6.5; Rodri 6.5, Fernandinho 6.5, Silva 8*; Mahrez 6, Jesus 6.5 (87’ Grealish N/A), Sterling 7

Next up

Aston Villa are back in Premier League action at home this coming Sunday when Leicester City are the visitors to Villa Park. Kick-off: 16:30 (GMT).

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