Pep Guardiola insisted that Manchester City “controlled the game” en route to victory over Aston Villa at the Etihad.
After having a few weeks off due to Covid related issues, Aston Villa made Man City work really hard for all three points at the Etihad.
Both sides cancelled each other out in the first half, but Phil Foden came close to giving City the lead just before the break.
Joao Cancelo struck the bar for Guardiola’s side in the 54th minute, shortly after Bertrand Traore came close to scoring a superb solo goal for the visitors.
The hosts continued to put Dean Smith’s side under pressure in the second half. It did not look to be their night after chance after chance came to nothing.
But the all-important first goal came in the 79th minute. Tyrone Mings was caught in possession by Rodri who was coming back from an offside position.
The midfielder laid it off to Bernardo Silva who made no mistake as he clinically fired it past Emiliano Martinez in goal.
The game was put beyond doubt in stoppage time as Matty Cash handled it in the area which led to City being awarded a penalty. Ilkay Gundogan converted the spot-kick to make it 2-0 and that was how it finished.
Guardiola has led City to six successive victories in the Premier League. This win has moved them level on points with Leicester at the top prior to Man United’s game against Fulham.
Speaking post-match with Match of the Day, Guardiola took time to praise Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley:
“I had the feeling we controlled the game. The top four players they have, players like Jack Grealish and Rosss Barkley. The feeling is that wow, you feel the dangers in every action.
“We arrived at the byline many times but could not score the goal but Bernando Silva was there and his goal made the difference.
“We struggled against Brighton in the last game. They are one of the best teams for creating chances, so it has been hard for us. Maybe they are not clinical but they are good.
“It was 5-7 minutes where Aston Villa had two or three chances. When they can run with the likes of Ollie Watkins, Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley but we make actions and control the passes.
On the controversial first goal: “We didn’t see it but there is VAR. It is here. I’m not going to analyse the game. But up against a top team, we have come up with a brilliant performance.”