Manchester City ease past Villa with 8/10 Ilkay Gundogan and 7/10 Raheem Sterling to thank

Manchester City closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to just three points thanks to a hard-fought 3-0 victory over a resolute Aston Villa at the Etihad.


City had to be patient after a frustrating first half, but showed their class in the second as they upped the tempo and overwhelmed their dogged opponents. Notable mentions for full-backs Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Mendy, who both put in strong displays.


Pep Guardiola's side could well have been behind in the first half following poor play by John Stones, while Fernandinho's late red card and suspension is the last thing his side needs as they battle with an injury crisis at the heart of defence.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Despite juggling multiple competitions and injuries, Guardiola will be pleased with what he saw as his side secured their eighth win in nine games in all competitions.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK: Ederson, 7 -- A brilliant double-save denied Villa duo John McGinn and Douglas Luiz in the first half, and the Brazilian almost released Raheem Sterling on goal with a glorious pitch-long pass soon afterwards. Another gigantic kick began the move for the opener in what was an excellent display.

DF: Joao Cancelo, 7 -- Cut inside and fired a stinging shot that was well held by Villa stopper Tom Heaton after 20 minutes, and was a bundle of energy going forward, while going untested defensively.

DF: John Stones, 6 -- Sloppily gifted the ball to McGinn deep in his own half and was fortunate to have Ederson behind him to save his blushes with a good save.

DF: Fernandinho, 6 -- Booked for cynically halting a Villa counterattack early in the second half, before repeating the trick on Villa sub Keinan Davis to earn a red card in the closing stages of the game.

DF: Benjamin Mendy, 7 -- Given plenty to think about by Villa winger Trezeguet, who was the away side's most dangerous player at times, but City's left-back coped well and provided ample attacking support on the overlap. Brought off for Angelino for the final 18 minutes.

MF: Ilkay Gundogan, 8 -- City's best player in the first half in a deep-lying role that saw him at the heart of everything good about his side's attacking play, and got himself a deserved goal when he elegantly volleyed home for 3-0. Booked for taking down Trezeguet late on.

MF: Kevin de Bruyne, 7 -- Provided some wicked balls into the visiting penalty area, including a whipped cross that evaded everyone (possibly not David Silva) and squirted past Heaton for 2-0. Had his feet up for the final 15 minutes as he was replaced by Phil Foden.

MF: David Silva, 6 -- On a club-record 237th Premier League start for City, the Spaniard somehow missed the target from 10 yards out following great work from Sterling in the closing stages of the first half. Not a game for the legend's bulging highlight reel.

FW: Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Had plenty of the ball inside the Aston Villa penalty area but was met with swarms of bodies during a frustrating first half, but found the breakthrough within 30 seconds of the restart with a clipped finish past Heaton. Replaced by Sergio Aguero after 75 minutes.

FW: Bernardo Silva, 6 -- Can sometimes find himself on the periphery of things while operating out wide, and will probably be the main beneficiary of Silva's departure at the end of the season, opening up a more central position.

FW: Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- Swivelled and struck just wide from six yards out in the opening five minutes, and it was the Brazilian's flick-on that released Sterling for the opener. Denied a goal of his own by an excellent goal line clearance from Tyrone Mings, as well as the crossbar late on following a lovely chip over Heaton.


Angelino, N/A - Slotted in and was untroubled.

Phil Foden, N/A - Forced two comfortable saves from Heaton in a bright cameo.

Sergio Aguero, N/A - Unable to get his name on the scoresheet in the final embers of the game.