Late Fernandinho goal seals undeserved win
FA Premier League
Saturday 25 April 2015, 17.30 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Toure (Fernandinho 46), Lampard (Milner 57), Navas, Silva, Aguero (Bony 83)
Unused: Caballero, Sagna, Boyata, Dzeko
Goals: Aguero (3), Kolarov (66), Fernandinho (89)
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Silva
Saturday night saw Manchester City tighten their grip further on a top four finish, with a hard fought victory over a resurgent Aston Villa. It was a cruel end forTim Sherwood's side, who enjoyed the majority of possession; a rare occurenace for an away team at The Etihad these days.
The hosts were unchanged from the side that had beaten West Ham the previous week, with Sergio Aguero again leading the line by himself. The Argentine looks as if he's finally back to his early season form in recent weeks, and he opened the scoring on Saturday courtesy of a howler from Brad Guzan. The Villa goalkeeper, under little pressure, comically scuffed his clearance to give Aguero a tap in.
Villa, to their credit, did not allow their haeds to drop and responded very well. Fabian Delph and Jack Grealish both impressed for Tim Sherwood's side. Despite their possession, Villa struggled to create any clear cut chances of note, with Benteke being well marshaled by the ever impressive Eliaquim Mangala.
Fernandinho replaced Yaya Toure at the start of the second half, after the Ivorian suffered a hamstring injury just before the break. Villa continued to look the sharper of the two teams, but it was City who went two goals ahead when Aleksandar Kolarov lashed in a fantastic free kick for the hosts.
Despite finding themselves underservedly two goals behind, Villa continued to press City and soon found themselves back in the game. Joe Hart was at fault, getting caught in no man's land for a set piece, which was volleyed in well by Tom Cleverly. It was a bad mistake from Hart, and soon he made another error that presented the equaliser to Aston Villa.
Carlos Sanchez was the scorer for the away side this time, volleying in after a poor punch from thge England inertnational. It was fully deserved for Villa, but City showed resilience to conjure a late winner. Fernandinho was the City hero, volleying in from a corner himself. It was an important goal for Manuel Pellegrini's side, who had been often outplayed during the game, but had managed to grind out a result.
Barring a catastrophic end to the season, it should ensure a top four finish for the Blues although Pellegrini's future remains clouded in doubt.