Phil Foden was sensational as Manchester City came from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Wednesday.
Manchester City made the worst possible start to the game, going behind after just 20 seconds, as John McGinn scored from close range after meeting a cut-back by Ollie Watkins. The Premier League leaders, though, stepped up after the early setback and came close to scoring twice before pulling back on level terms midway through the first half through Phil Foden.
The English international had opened up play marvellously before connecting with Bernardo Silva’s cut-back to make it 1-1. A few minutes later, Manchester City were out in front, as Rodri headed in what would eventually be the match-winner from Silva’s ball. Heading into half-time, though, City were reduced to ten men for a ridiculous challenge by John Stones, who saw a straight red.
However, the visitors’ numerical disadvantage did not last long, as Matty Cash was booked twice in quick succession to make the game a 10 vs 10 affair. Thereafter, there was barely a chance created, as Manchester City held on for the narrow win, meaning they now need just 8 more points to clinch the Premier League title. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
There was nothing that Ederson could have done to deny John McGinn after being sold short by John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Hardly made to sweat thereafter, apart from a couple of saves. Precise with the ball at his feet and it was his long pass that initiated the move for Phil Foden’s goal in a way.
Kyle Walker: 7/10
The only Manchester City defender not responsible for the goal that Aston Villa scored early on. Walker was solid in his display in the defensive phase while progressing the ball forward efficiently. Won 6 of the 7 duels he engaged in as well and it was a professional display by the Englishman.
John Stones: 4/10
A game to forget for Stones, who was first caught out in the build-up to McGinn’s goal by Tyrone Mings’ long pass before he got sent off ahead of half-time. Between the two instances, there was not much he had to do, with Manchester City firmly in control. However, the challenge on Jacob Ramsey was ridiculous and he might have lost his place to Aymeric Laporte.
Ruben Dias: 6.5/10
Like pretty much the entire Manchester City defence, Dias was caught napping when Aston Villa grabbed the lead, although Stones and Zinchenko had bigger roles to play in that slip-up. Hardly put a foot wrong after the first minute, making 4 clearances while never really shying away from moving into midfield either. Solid effort.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 5/10
The game started on a horrible note for Zinchenko, who failed to track McGinn for the goal that Aston Villa scored. Thereafter, though, the Ukrainian international largely spent his time in the opposition half, linking up smartly with Foden. Misplaced just 5 passes all game, which, in turn, helped Manchester City stay on top of the proceedings.
Bernardo Silva: 8/10
Bernardo Silva vs. Aston Villa:
◉ Most take-ons (4)
◉= Most chances created (3)
◉ Most big chances created (2)
◉ Most assists (2)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 21, 2021
The Player to Watch in our preview, this was Silva’s opportunity to show he had a lot to offer for Manchester City, and that is exactly what he did. The Portuguese playmaker pulled the strings superbly and along with Foden, he played the joint-most key passes (3). Most importantly, though, he went on to provide the assist for both Foden and Rodri’s goals. Job well done.
Yes, Rodri did well to direct his header perfectly, but his performance was much more than that. After Aston Villa grabbed the early lead, it was the Spanish international who ensured Manchester City never lost control of the proceedings, completing 95 percent of his passes. Won 4 duels and completed a clearance as well.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8/10
A rare game in which Gundogan was not directly involved in outcomes in the final third. The German international, though, still saw a lot of the ball, with only Rodri having more touches than him. Played a couple of key passes as well, and completed nearly each of his pass to ensure there were no slip-ups higher up the pitch. A captain’s display from the Manchester City skipper.
Riyad Mahrez: 8/10
A top-notch performance from Mahrez, even though he was not directly involved in either of the goals scored by Manchester City. The Algerian showed great composure to release Silva in the build-up to Foden’s strike and always looked to make things happen, while his silky footwork put the Aston Villa defenders under pressure a fair bit.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
An unfortunate evening for Gabriel Jesus, who had to be sacrificed at half-time due to the dismissal of Stones. For the first 45 minutes, though, the Brazilian had not been involved a great deal, with the moves largely flowing from the flanks. Misplaced just 1 pass during his stay on the pitch, however.
Phil Foden: 9/10
29 – No player has scored more goals in all competitions before turning 21 for Pep Guardiola than Phil Foden (29 – level with Bojan). Special. pic.twitter.com/0qd2mkb72L
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 21, 2021
The clear standout for Manchester City, Foden was impeccable against Aston Villa on Wednesday. Full of purpose and desire, the English international tried hard to make things happen before taking matters into his own hands for his goal. Opened up play nicely before finishing off the move for his goal with a superb first-time finish. There is just no stopping Foden at the moment.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
On for Gabriel Jesus, Laporte was solid enough at the heart of the defence to ensure Aston Villa never had another chance to trouble Ederson Moraes. Should start against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final in all likelihood.
A late introduction, Fernandinho helped see the game out.