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Premier League | Gameweek 15
Dec 6, 2023 at 8.15pm UK
Villa Park
MC
Aston Villa
1 - 0
Man City
Bailey (74')
Watkins (60'), Kamara (87')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Stones (45'), Lewis (53')

Vibrant Aston Villa rise to third with deserved win over Manchester City

:Headline: Vibrant Aston Villa rise to third with deserved win over Manchester City:
A sprightly Aston Villa add another twist to the Premier League title race with a merited 1-0 win over a meek Manchester City side at Villa Park.
Sports Mole

A sprightly Aston Villa added another twist to the Premier League title race with a merited 1-0 victory over a meek Manchester City side at Villa Park, where they have now won 14 top-flight matches on the spin.

Unai Emery's rampant troops huffed and puffed throughout the entire 90 minutes but would seemingly be left to rue a succession of missed chances, only for a fortuitous Leon Bailey strike to propel the Lions to an extraordinary success in the West Midlands.

With fatigue still prevalent, neither Matty Cash nor Moussa Diaby made Villa's starting XI, while Jeremy Doku was missing for a Rodri-less Man City, but Pep Guardiola was able to call upon John Stones once again.

Akin to when Rodri was suspended earlier in the season, City lacked a measure of control in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, when both Pau Torres and Bailey forced Ederson into saves.

However, one small defensive mix-up between Emiliano Martinez and Diego Carlos ignited the Citizens' fire - albeit briefly - and the former was forced to deny Erling Haaland twice in quick succession in the 11th minute, keeping him out low at his near post before springing across his goal to prevent his back-post header nestling in.

The Lions remained a threat in their own right, though, and Ederson had to be alert to tip Bailey's dipping effort over the bar in the 22nd minute, before the Jamaican winger and Ezri Konsa both cleared the woodwork either side of the half-hour mark.

The net would ripple for the first time in the 45th minute via a header from ex-Citizens man Douglas Luiz, but Lucas Digne was flagged offside as he sent the cross in, and the half-time whistle could not come soon enough for the champions, who had 13 shots against them in the first period.

Villa's tally of 13 attempts was the most that a Guardiola team had ever faced in the first half of a league game, and after a brief period of promise from Man City after the restart, normal service soon resumed.

A pivotal touch from Ederson in the 64th minute denied John McGinn the game's opening goal, but there was nothing that the Brazilian goalkeeper could do in the 73rd minute, as he was deceived by a wicked deflection for Villa's merited breakthrough.

The effervescent Bailey intelligently took the ball on the half turn to evade the press and surged infield before letting fly, and his shot from the edge of the box deflected off of Ruben Dias's toe and sailed past a stranded Ederson.

Bailey's fortunate opener did not immediately spur a lacklustre City on for a response, and Ederson had to come to the rescue in the 78th minute to deny compatriot Luiz, who raced onto a deflected Ollie Watkins strike which had ballooned into the air.

The Brazilian midfielder came agonisingly close to wrapping up a memorable win in the 86th minute too, only to see his curling effort strike the post with Ederson beaten, but Bailey's effort proved enough for history to be written at Villa Park.

The hosts' astounding victory saw Emery register his first managerial win over Guardiola at the 14th attempt, and Villa have risen into third place in the table above the faltering champions, who have now gone four games without a Premier League triumph.

Next up for Villa is the mouthwatering visit of league leaders Arsenal on Saturday evening, where Emery will reunite with his former employers, while City travel to Luton Town in four days' time desperately seeking a response to their worrying streak of form.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27196264253963
2Manchester CityMan City27195362273562
3Arsenal27194468234561
4Aston Villa27174659372255
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs26155655391650
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd27142113739-244
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham2712694347-442
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle271241157451240
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2710984944539
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves27115114043-338
11Chelsea26106104443136
12Fulham27105123942-335
13Bournemouth2687113547-1231
14Crystal Palace2777133247-1528
15Brentford2775153950-1126
16Everton2787122937-825
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2766153449-1524
18Luton TownLuton2655163754-1720
19Burnley2734202560-3513
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2734202272-5013
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