Had Aston Villa not been so sloppy and given the Premier League Champions a two goal head start.Then maybe we would be talking about three wins from three for Steven Gerrard and the perfect game plan. One where Villa sat back, absorbed everything City threw at them, then grew into the game before delivering them a sucker punch.
However, such is City’s quality, for the first twenty minutes it appeared to be a mismatch and was boys against men. Their constant attacks were relentless, particularly from the wide areas. At times, our defenders looked like Bambi on ice. Ultimately City’s pressure took its toll and eventually we conceded. But it was the manner in which we conceded that I found most disappointing.
A Series Of Errors
There may have been an element of misfortune. But for me it was a combination of sloppy errors which led to the goal. Firstly, I think Leon Bailey should have closed down Diaz. And I think on another day Matt Targett gets his head on that shot and heads it out. Also given the high standards set by Emi Martinez. I did expect him to get across his goal to save it. I will give him the benefit that he may have been partially unsighted.
City’s second goal was a thing of beauty. But it too was also avoidable. A counter attack saw McGinn fail to track the run of Bernardo Silva. Who in turn met Jesus’ inch perfect cross with magnificence. He produced a cushioned volley that gave Martinez no chance. At 2-0 It was looking a long way back.
There Is A Time And Place
I get we want to become a possession based team. But I had my heart in my mouth at times. We were slow, hesitant and sloppy as we tried to play out from the back. It was clear Martinez was not too happy with it at times. City’s press is so impressive you just don’t get time. So seeing Martinez going route one at times was a relief. Especially knowing Ollie was winning and holding up the ball. That allowed our midfield to get up in support.
We had a few attacking opportunities in the first half where if Bailey & Buendia had not overplayed it at times, then we may have caused City bigger problems.
Overall, I thought Emi Buendia had a decent game. He looks like he’s slowly getting fitter and he will be a big player for us in time. Morgan Sanson also did ok in his cameo. And of course Marvelous was again Marvelous. It was very close call between Ollie Watkins & Douglas Luiz for my Villa man of the match. However, Douglas Luiz just edged it for me. He had his best game in a Villa shirt. Not sure if that was because the opposition was Man City or Steven Gerrard playing him a little higher up the pitch.
At full time even though we lost, I was proud of our performance. Especially in the second half. The manner of this defeat just confirms to me that in the short time Steven Gerrard has been in the Villa hotseat. That change is happening and progress is occurring. I think we can take plenty of positives from this defeat to City.