Aston Villa started the first twenty minutes on top, not necessarily with our passing, with our movement and definitely not with our possession but with one clear-cut chance, a tight defence and formation; Manchester City were kept at bay.
City like to play through holes and holes were of few until Mario Balotelli’s overhead kick went into the back of the net. Up until that point Villa had held their shape, defended fiercely and attacked smartly when allowed to break.
Stephen Warnock picked up the ball, feed Gabby Agbonlahor down the left as he raced away, skipping past Jolen Lescott into a one-on-one situation with England goalkeeper Joe Hart. As Gabby hit the ball sweetly it bounced straight into Hart’s body, as he made himself big, to fall to Warncok who struck the ball. A crucial block from captain Vincent Kompany made sure that it was not bound for the top corner of the Sky Blues’ net. That chance would have resulted in a one nil lead and a completely different game. It didn’t happen.
As Manchester City found their feet, their rhythm pulsated through every claret shirt sending them into a trance as they fell asleep when Adam Johnson swung in a corner. Darren Bent flicked on the ball to perfectly fall for Balotelli who had already riled the travelling Villa fans. The Italian took one touch on his chest to bring it down. Robotically maneuvering into a position to strike the ball past Shay Given.
Villa hung on till half time to keep it at one nil however they couldn’t have been less prepared for what was left to come. A minute and a and a half into the second half Adam Jonhson picked up a ball for a deflected shot and rolled the ball into the bottom left hand corner to give City a two nil lead.
De ja vu maybe? For Villa, or for Milner.