City knew that victory would see them go to the top of the Premier League -- at least temporarily -- while Villa's first team was playing in its first match since Jan. 1 due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club, which has seen several fixtures postponed.
Both sides had chances to win this match with City guilty of a string of horrendous misses as well as last-gasp defending to stop the visitors taking the lead.
City eventually did take the lead 11 minutes from time in controversial fashion as Rodri came back from an offside position to lay off Silva, who fired in from just outside the box.
The goal was allowed as Villa defender Tyrone Mings had chested the ball into Rodri's path, which signalled the end of the original move and meant the Spain international was allowed to interfere with play. Villa manager Dean Smith was red carded for his protests.
"It was a farcical decision," Smith said afterwards. "I've not seen a goal like that given. It needs to be looked at. I don't think anyone in this stadium thought it was a goal.".
"I had the feeling we controlled the game," he said after the match. "The top four players they have, player like Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley, the feeling is that wow, you feel the dangers in every actions.
"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 five to seven 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."