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Aston Villa 1-0 Man City: Leon Bailey’s deflected shot gives Unai Emery first win over Pep Guardiola as Villa go third

Report and free match highlights as Aston Villa leapfrogged Manchester City into third with a surprisingly dominant display against Pep Guardiola's team at Villa Park. Leon Bailey’s late winner reflected an impressive performance by Unai Emery’s in-form side

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa win over Manchester City

Leon Bailey's deflected strike earned Aston Villa a deserved 1-0 win over Manchester City at Villa Park that lifted them above the reigning champions into third.

The goal came late in the game to maintain the perfect home record of Unai Emery's side and reflected their superior endeavour throughout the contest against an unusually passive City. It is now four Premier League games without a win for Pep Guardiola's side.

Erling Haaland did have two chances in the first half but City never looked comfortable, missing the suspended Rodri badly. They drop to fourth in the table and are now six points adrift of Arsenal. On this evidence, they may need to worry about Villa too.

Player ratings

Aston Villa: Martinez (8), Carlos (8), Konsa (9), Torres (9), Digne (7), McGinn (9), Tielemans (8), Kamara (8), Luiz (8), Bailey (9), Watkins (7).

Subs used: Diaby (n/a), Ramsey (n/a), Duran (n/a), Moreno (n/a).

Man City: Ederson (8), Walker (6), Dias (5), Akanji (6), Gvardiol (5), Stones (5), Lewis (5), Silva (5), Foden (5), Haaland (5), Alvarez (6).

Subs used: Kovacic (6), Nunes (6), Bobb (6).

Player of the match: Leon Bailey.

How Villa beat City

Villa went for City from the outset, Lucas Digne hitting the side-netting, Bailey running through and forcing a low stop from Ederson, before Pau Torres' curled shot on the angle needed an even better save by the Brazilian. The crowd were roaring Villa on.

There was a reminder of the size of the threat at the other end when Haaland had two chances in quick succession, both saved by the superb Emiliano Martinez. But those were City's only two shots of a frantic first half. Villa had no fewer than 13 of their own.

Team news headlines

  • Boubacar Kamara for Nicolo Zaniolo was the only Aston Villa change made by Unai Emery.
  • John Stones came in for the suspended Rodri, while Jeremy Doku was injured so in came Rico Lewis.

John Stones, on his return to the starting line-up, struggled in midfield alongside Rico Lewis, where they appeared outnumbered by the home team. The intensity was challenging and there was almost a reward late in the half only for Douglas Luiz to have his goal ruled out.

There was nothing wrong with his header but Digne had allowed the ball to run out of play before crossing. A half-time lead would have been deserved and the Villa support stood to applaud at the interval. Proud but expecting a backlash after the break, no doubt.

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City did briefly exert slightly better control at the start of the second half but Villa came again. Bernardo Silva's loose pass was seized upon by Bailey and he fed John McGinn who looked set to stroke the ball home but measured his shot wide of the far post.

Bailey was not to be denied. Having tormented Josko Gvardiol for much of the evening, he sprinted away from him again before cutting inside and seeing his right-footed shot deflect off the foot of Ruben Dias and beyond the helpless Ederson. Lift off at Villa Park.

Still they pushed. That was what was so impressive about their performance. It was relentless. Douglas Luiz almost turned in a second from close range but his attempt was saved by the onrushing Ederson. The goalkeeper was City's standout player.

Even he could not get close to his compatriot's next effort, a wonderful curled shot that came back off the post. As it turned out, a second goal was not needed for Emery to secure his first win as a manager against Guardiola. Problems for City. Joy for Villa.

FPL stats - Aston Villa 1-0 Man City

  • Goals: Bailey
  • Assists: Tielemans
  • Bonus points: Martinez (3), Konsa (2), Bailey (1)

Guardiola: Now we are struggling

The absence of Rodri will be firmly in the spotlight given that City are unbeaten in 43 matches with the Spain international in the team. Their last five defeats have now come when he has been missing, such is his obvious importance.

Guardiola knows better than anyone how much he needs him but refused to use that as an excuse. "With Rodri we could not win against Liverpool and Spurs," he said, referring to those recent draws. "Of course, he is important. But it is my job to find a way to do it."

Against Villa, that never looked like happening. "The better team won," he acknowledged. "Aston Villa were better than us. We struggled to make some process and after, especially when they defended with a medium block, we didn't find the moments behind.

"It was really difficult because they are really physical and able to control many aspects. That is the reason why they are up there, playing good football and we could not do it. It is my duty, my job to find a way to come back from the situation.

"Because over many years together we were able to find a way to win games and now we are struggling. We have to change the dynamic, winning as soon as possible against Luton and Crystal Palace to continue to be there." How? "I have to think about it."

Emery insists Villa not in title race

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Aston Villa moved up to third in the Premier League after beating Manchester City, but Villans boss Unai Emery said it will be

Emery downplayed the significance of beating Guardiola for the first time at the 14th attempt. "Beating him for me is not something special. It is a process." What is clear is that his game plan worked as Villa completely outmanoeuvred City.

"We wanted to impose our game on Manchester City. We did it, more or less. Usually we are doing high press, here at home we are being successful [with it]. Of course, we had to be very organised doing it. We did a fantastic job with it."

Guardiola appeared convinced that Villa were in this title race but Emery was rather more cautious - as he has been throughout this impressive run of form at Villa Park. "Today was fantastic but keep balanced. Next challenge is on Saturday."

That is a big one against Arsenal but another win would move them to within one point of his former club. Are they really not title contenders? "Not really. There are seven teams in the table better contenders than us." Watching Villa here, that was hard to believe.

Villa's amazing win in stats

  • Aston Villa boss Unai Emery picked up his first ever victory against Man City boss Pep Guardiola, on what was his 14th attempt at doing so. Before tonight, Guardiola was the manager he had faced most often without winning in his career (13 games - D4 L9).
  • Villa won possession in the final third 13 times against City, the most ever by an opposition team against them in a Premier League game during Guardiola's time in charge.
  • Manchester City attempted just two shots in this match, with both of those coming in the 11th minute. It's the fewest shots ever attempted by a Guardiola team in a match within Europe's big-five leagues, while the 22 from Aston Villa was the joint-most faced by a Guardiola side in the same period (this being his 535th such game).

What's next?

Live: SNF

Aston Villa will be live on Sky Sports this weekend as they host Arsenal on Saturday Night Football; kick-off 5.30pm. They then play their final Europa Conference League fixture away to Zrinjskl on Thursday, kick-off 5.45pm.

Live Super Sunday

Man City will also be live on Sky Sports on Super Sunday as they travel to Luton, kick-off 2pm. They will then play their final Champions League group game against Crvena Zvezda on Wednesday, kick-off 5.45pm.

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