City turned up at Villa Park following a somewhat underwhelming month desperate for a win, and they played like it too. The corresponding tie from last year ended in tragicomic farce, but City’s away form this year has been much better and the team have now earned 10 points from a possible 12 on their travels. Here are some points of interest from the game…
Once again, David Silva showed that he is the best player in the league. City weren’t struggling as such, but it was beginning to feel like one of those games where the game could have gone on all day without a goal to reward the Champions’ obvious superiority. In the face of Villa’s deep defensive line Silva stood up to take responsibility, as he always does, and tried to win the game on his own.
He launched a relentless, remarkable assault on the home team, jabbing at them across the breadth of their line, looking for a weakness to exploit.
He was substituted before the end, but by that point his work was done. He had mentally and physically shattered the opposition and opened them up for City to finally exploit. His work was done.
What a man.
A Champions’ Victory and Yaya Toure
Much talk was made throughout the game that this was the sort of game that ‘Champions’ should be winning. A result should be dug out through adversity. How fitting then that the man who contributed so heavily to us becoming Champions last season scored the opening goal.
Yaya Toure has not had the best start to the season. That’s an indisputable fact. He has also been unfairly scapegoated for everything which has gone even slightly awry this season so far. That is, as far as I’m concerned, also an indisputable fact.
Toure has become a player who people, including some of our own fans, seem to enjoy deriding. There’s a sense that his critics get a kind of cathartic pleasure from seeing him stumble and fall. Toure is a big game player of exceptional talent. He has won everything and scored against the best. When a man like that is off form, when he stumbles and falls, he can hit the ground very hard indeed, but that is the price of his success. The extent to which he has been scapegoated, the extent to which people revel in any small failure, is undignified at best.
He opened the scoring yesterday with a superb goal and put in several crucial defensive tackles. Yes, he put some passes astray and lost the ball cheaply a few times, but the look on his face after he put the ball in the net tells me that a corner might have been turned.
On a similar subject, the commentators seem also to be willing Eliaquim Mangala to fail. Watch this space.
James Milner put in another fantastic performance. For the second time this season he might have been the man of the match if not for an astounding individual performance elsewhere (first Mangala against Chelsea, this time David Silva). When given a run of games Milner put in yet another top level performance, underlining the fact that he is not just there to make up the home grown numbers. City fans already know this, like Gareth Barry before him, but another televised reminder of this for the rest of the football watching public is very welcome indeed.
Whilst his partnership with Silva looks to be almost telepathic at times, the Yorkshireman is fast becoming a force in his own right as well. Samir Nasri is obviously missed, but in James Milner it is clear that City have another option to take the game to the opposition.
Please, please, please sign that new contract!
September seemed to sap City’s momentum slightly, seeing them fall 5 points behind Chelsea following a ridiculously tough set of fixtures. This away win against Aston Villa provides some hope that City can finally get stuck into retaining the title. The team is mostly fit, Toure might be coming back into his form, the new signings are settled in. Good times.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter