Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City: Player Ratings
Manchester City scraped a 1-0 win over relegation threatened Aston Villa to close the gap between themselves and Premier League leaders, Manchester United, to 12 points.
Carlos Tevez grabbed the only goal just before half time when the City front men capitalised on a mistake by Ciaran Clark.
The defeat sees Villa remain in the relegation zone and now have just ten games to save themselves from relegation to the Championship.
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini’s target to win all of their remaining games is still alive, but it would take one almighty slip up from rivals Manchester United to allow City to retain their title.
After watching the game, we at Touchline Talk have given the players their ratings below!
Brad Guzan – Villa’s best player. Made a number of great saves, particularly in the first half with the game still at 0-0. Unlucky to concede at all. 8
Ciaran Clark – Had a relatively decent game for the most part but of course made the error that led to City scoring the only goal of the game. Inexperience showed for that one moment and it was costly. 4
Joseph Bennett – Pretty quite performance. Was able to get forward in the early stages and put in a couple of decent crosses, but, after Rodwell was substituted, Milner moved to the right side of midfield and nullified Bennett’s threat. 6
Nathan Baker – Handled Dzeko’s aerial threat well. Troubled at times by Tevez’s movement but performed well on the whole. 7
Matthew Lowton – One of Villa’s better performer’s on the night. Made a couple of important interceptions and tackles and blocked a goal-bound Carlos Tevez effort. Pushed forward well and saw a great attempt flash just wide of the post. 7
Charles N’Zogbia – Anonymous for the most part. Showed very brief glimpses of promise but unable to trouble the City defence. 5
Ashley Westwood – It was always going to be difficult up against Toure and Javi Garcia in the middle of the park. Westwood was ultimately unable to have much of an influence on the game. 5
Fabian Delph – One of Villa’s more threatening players going forward. Made a couple of decent attacking runs and some clever passes at times. A good performance was overshadowed by a late booking which results in a suspension for the midfielder. 6
Gabriel Agbonlahor – Made a couple of good forward runs in the first half and looked a threat. Fell out of the game in the second half and was unable to trouble the goalkeeper after getting his head on a good cross from Andreas Weimann. 5
Christian Benteke – A fairly quiet game by his standards. Villa’s tactics at times were limited to lobbing the ball towards Benteke and hoping he could win it in the air and make something out of nothing. Kolo Toure in particular coped very well with his physicality. Unable to influence the game in any meaningful way. 6
Andreas Weimann – Showed signs of promise. Made a some clever runs and delivered a great ball for Agbonlahor but the danger was quelled by Toure. Had a decent first half but barely got a sniff in the second half. 6
Karim El Ahmadi – Made no real impact as late sub. 5
Brett Holman – Replaced the ineffective N’Zogbia but couldn’t do much better than his teammate. 5
Simon Dawkins – Had little opportunity to do anything in his short cameo. Very quiet. 4
Joe Hart – Had very little to do all night. Beaten by a Benteke header from a corner but saved by the presence of Carlos Tevez on the line. 6
Pablo Zabaleta – One of City’s most consistent performers this season. Had a good game again last night. Solid at the back and a threat offensively. Hit the post with a great effort in the first half. 8
Gael Clichy – Gave the ball away a number of times in the early stages and didn’t look too sharp defensively. Offered little going forward – not one of his better displays. 4
Kolo Toure – The best game he’s had in a long time. Coped extremely well with the physical threat of Benteke and rarely put a foot wrong all night. Arguably City’s best and most important player over the 90 minutes. 8
Matija Nastasic – Performed well alongside Toure, looks a very capable and promising young defender. Strong and physical but also calm in possession. Was, however, fortunate not to concede a penalty after he appeared to trip Benteke in the area. 7
James Milner – As ever, worked extremely hard and did well without the ball. Made a couple of poor passes and didn’t pose too much of a threat offensively. 5
Javi Garcia – Perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing performance but did well in his role of screening the back four. Well positioned, well disciplined, and rarely gave the ball away in a none-too-spectacular performance. 6
Jack Rodwell – Had little influence on the game before cruelly suffering a recurrence of his long-term hamstring injury and being replaced after 25 minutes. 4
David Silva – Hasn’t looked the same player that terrified defences last season but showed glimpses of his old self last night. One of City’s most dangerous players going forward. Played some great passes and showed a number of clever touches and some intelligent movement. 7
Yaya Toure – Perhaps quiet by his standards, but still able to boss the midfield even on an off-day. Worked hard for the team without posing too much of an attacking threat. 6
Carlos Tevez – Struggled up front himself for the first 25 minutes but flourished once Dzeko came in beside him. Worked very hard in typical tenacious Tevez style. Cleared Benteke’s header off the line saving a certain goal, then scored the crucial goal at the other end of the park. Missed another good chance but was ultimately the match winner. 8
Edin Dzeko – Made a hugely positive impact on City’s performance after replacing Rodwell half way through the first half. Capitalised on Ciaran Clark’s mistake, dispossessing him and setting up the winning goal for Carlos Tevez. Unfortunate to have a later goal ruled offside. Had a good game on the whole. 7
Samir Nasri – replaced Tevez, allowing City five in the midfield. Helped to keep possession well and see out the game. Didn’t have too much of an influence other than that. 5
Gareth Barry – Had no time to do anything of note. 4