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Jan 20, 2021 at 6pm UK
Man CityManchester City
2-0
Aston VillaAston Villa
Silva (79'), Gundogan (90' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-0)

McGinn (67'), Taylor (86'), Smith (81')
Smith (81')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_120367/index.html?art_id=431399&game_id=120367&sport_id=1&ESI

Result: Manchester City go top with two-goal win over Aston Villa

:Headline: Result: Manchester City go top with two-goal win over Aston Villa:
Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan secured the win.
Sports Mole

Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan struck late on as Manchester City maintained their title charge with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

The hosts spurned a succession of great chances amid a relentless downpour at the Etihad Stadium but finally broke through with Silva's spectacular strike 11 minutes from time.

The Portuguese rattled a powerful left-foot drive into the top corner from the edge of the area to pierce Villa's admirable resistance.

Gundogan then wrapped up City's sixth successive Premier League win from the penalty spot in the final minute after a handball by Matty Cash.

Bernardo Silva struck the opener (Martin Rickett/PA)

In all City racked up 28 attempts at goal and they had numerous other openings on a night when they missed having a specialist centre forward for most of the game.

Yet Villa deserved huge credit for acquitting themselves well on their return to action. Aside from an FA Cup tie in which they fielded a youthful side, it was their first game since New Year's Day following a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

They contributed to an entertaining game and had the occasional chance themselves, but it was a tale of their defence versus City's attack and Pep Guardiola's men ultimately prevailed.

City were still without self-isolating striker Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, who recently had a spell out with coronavirus himself, was back on the bench.

The hosts were still fluid in attack, with Silva operating as a 'false nine', but there were still times when they could have done with the extra punch a striker might have provided as Villa repeatedly blocked shots.

The tone was set in the opening minutes as goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez somehow got a foot in the way to deny Silva what seemed a certain goal at point-blank range.

Phil Foden was thwarted by Ezri Konsa after a weaving run and Tyrone Mings got behind a Rodri effort. Rodri hit team-mate Raheem Sterling with another shot and Joao Cancelo blasted over.

City's frustration was compounded by the loss of Kyle Walker through injury after 28 minutes. The full-back did try to run off his knock but he faced an uphill task against Jack Grealish, who ran at him to tee up Bertrand Traore and was withdrawn.

Traore shot into the side-netting and Ross Barkley had opportunities when he tested Ederson and clipped another attempt wide.

City had a glorious chance before the interval when they broke following a Villa corner. Kevin De Bruyne played in Foden with a brilliant long pass but this time Cash slid in to block.

Traore threatened again when he cut inside but Ederson saved and City spurned further chances when Cancelo and Gundogan both missed the target when well placed.

Dean Smith was sent off for his complaints (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Gundogan spurned an even better chance after Martinez beat out a header from Ruben Dias at a corner. The ball rebounded to Gundogan about a yard out but it got stuck between his legs and Villa escaped.

The visitors' luck finally ran out on 79 minutes after Mings lost possession to Rodri in a dangerous area.

The Spaniard found the onrushing Silva and the Portuguese cut inside before slamming a left-foot shot into the top corner from 18 yards. The relief was obvious as he raced away to slide on the saturated turf.

But Villa were left fuming after Rodri appeared to return from an offside position to capitalise on Mings' lack of control and manager Dean Smith was sent off by referee John Moss for his complaints.

City wrapped up the win in the 90th minute through Gundogan after Cash handled a header from substitute Jesus.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City25185250153559
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd25147453322149
3Leicester CityLeicester25154644271749
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham25136639291045
5Chelsea25127641251643
6Liverpool25117745341140
7Everton2412483733440
8Aston Villa23113937261136
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs24106837271036
10Leeds UnitedLeeds25112124343035
11Arsenal25104113126534
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2596102632-633
13Crystal Palace2595112943-1432
14Southampton2586113143-1230
15Burnley2577111830-1228
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2551192632-626
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2574142643-1725
18Fulham25410112132-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2528151955-3614
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2532201541-2611
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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich32207545252067
2Brentford32179659342560
3Watford32179643232060
4Swansea CitySwansea30178538191959
5Reading32156114437751
6Cardiff CityCardiff321471148341449
7Bournemouth321310946321449
8Barnsley31146113635148
9Middlesbrough32137123734346
10Stoke CityStoke32111293735245
11Millwall3291673128343
12Bristol City32133163243-1142
13Queens Park RangersQPR301010103034-440
14Preston North EndPreston32124163442-840
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn31116144537839
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest32109132731-439
17Luton TownLuton31108132435-1138
18Derby CountyDerby31107142432-837
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield32106163847-936
20Coventry CityCoventry32810142943-1434
21Birmingham CityBirmingham32710152340-1731
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham3085173341-829
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds3197152135-1428
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe3158182351-2823
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