Date: 4th March 2009 at 10:26pm
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Manchester City dominated their midweek game to take a comfortable three points away from Aston Villa. City`s performance will certainly raise even more questions into how they can play so well at home but fail to show anything away.

The game started well for City and especially Shaun Wright-Phillips who managed to wriggle past a couple of challenges before firing his shot past Brad Friedel`s right-hand post.

City`s began to dominate all the possession within the first 15 minutes, and Friedel was certainly the busier keeper. Elano, who looked very impressive, found Stephen Ireland with a world-class ball, but the Irishmen failed to catch his shot cleanly and the danger was clear.

All the worry of an under strength team were quickly disappearing as City really began to open Villa up. Zabaleta delivered a great cross, deep into the Villa box, which forced Cuellar to hack the ball clear before Caicedo could set himself for the shot.

However like past games, City were missing great chances. Nigel de Jong started a move on the 21st minute which should have been concluded with a Wright-Phillips goal. The “wee” lad managed to skew his shot wide when it would have been easier to score.

However what they failed to do against West Ham, they managed to do here tonight. City did manage to take the lead but only from a dead-ball situation. Great work from Wright-Phillips forced Milner to commit in a tackle inside the spot and the Ref had no hesitation into pointing to the spot. Elano stepped up and fired a perfect penalty beyond the despairing Friedel.

City where completely in control of this game now but seemed to take their foot off the gas for the rest of the half. Although SWP did manage to which across a fantastic cross that Ireland nearly converted at full stretch.

Halftime: Manchester City 1 Aston Villa 0.

With no shots at all through-out the first half, everybody knew Aston Villa would come out with something to prove. Their halftime sub proved how unhappy their manager was, as Carew who has a habit of scoring against City, took to the field.

Villa began to keep the ball better but failed to really penetrate any sort of attack. City where not helped when de Jong ran off to be replaced by Fernandes. Nigel ran straight down the tunnel with Hughes`s approval? It will be interesting to see what was wrong with him.

The ever impressive Wright-Phillips continued to be a menace. Another trademark run sent Fernandes to the byeline, and although nothing came of this attack, the signs were still good for City.

Ched Evans then replaced Caicedo after 73 minutes. The Bulky forward played a very good game and looks like a very good prospect. However Evans almost created the second goal with his first touch! He passed the ball from his chest to Elano who forced a fantastic save from Friedel.

The forty thousand odd fans in the stadium started to believe that City could take the points with only ten minutes left. The fans where on their feet shortly after when Bojinov was brought on to replace Elano who also had a very impressive game.

A couple of good crosses were all City really had to deal with, as the clock began to tick down to the fulltime whistle. However there was still time for my man of the match to score. Shaun Wright-Phillips exchanged passes with Ireland before slotting the ball past Friedel. Job done! Great goal!

City then almost had another chance to add insult to injury when Ireland could have scored, but the keeper managed to scramble the ball clear.

Fulltime: Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0

Player Ratings!

GIVEN – 7; kept a clean sheet and not really rattled except for a decent Gareth Barry volley.

ZABALETA – 8; incredible workrate, provides support down the right flank and a great outlet when he overlaps, tackled hard but was slightly ruffled by Agbonlahor in the second half.

ONUOHA – 7; good concentration and fairly solid defensively, although showed a couple of times that he has more confidence in his own dribbling abilities than everyone else does.

DUNNE – 9; his best game for city for over a year. A near-MOTM performance in the second half. Concentration was written all over him last night, and he was determined to keep a clean sheet.

BRIDGE – 7; produced a classy display down the left, mirroring the ever-dependable Zab on the other flank. Best crossing we’ve seen from him since he arrived.

DE JONG – 7; Solid midfielder, holds his line brilliantly and bosses that area in front of the back four with minimal fuss.

KOMPANY – 7; Another fine game, pressured opposition well, tackled with aplomb and challenged effectively in the air. I’m not sure he’s that comfortable going forward yet.

ELANO – 7; When he has time and space, he’s good. Rest of the times, I just want to see him busting-a-gut to challenge for the ball like everyone else (like Robinho has since the rollicking Bellamy gave him)

IRELAND – 7; Stepped up to the mark just when we needed him, workrate was brilliant as it has been this season, and link up play was excellent.

SWP – 9; Brilliant play, decisive runs and kept Villa on the back foot for most of the night. Could have had a hatrick, but just happy him and Ireland provided the spark we’ve been missing the last two games. MOTM – just ahead of Dunney.

CAICEDO – 5; For a big guy, he doesn’t use his body strength that well, and he isn’t as quick as when he first arrived. Could be a great super-sub, and unfortunately right now, it may have to be his role.

FERNANDES – 5; Takes him a bit of time to catch up to a game at times, his workrate is good, just needs to add some sharpness and a cool-head to his game.

EVANS – 6; He holds the ball a lot better than Caicedo, even though it seems it should be the other way around! Good determination in setting up the second goal, but needs to develop a cool-head when through on goal.

BOJINOV – 6; Showed some glimpses of his crossing ability, workrate and eye for a pass. Needs more match time, and I feel next season is when we start to see the real Boj.
Buzz Lightyear:

Given 8 although not a lot to do, he did keep us in the game when called on.

Zabaleta 8 I love this guy,if only he had a yard extra pace a Mark Hughes better buy.

DUNNE 9 see what happens when you don’t have to cover another players mistakes, no richards to worry about, concentrated on his own game, some fabulous headers to clear,a rock in defence.

Onuoha 7 rarely put foot wrong, cool under pressure.

Bridge 7 getting the match fitness that he was short of when he first arrived, some good crosses into the box.

SWP 8 made one scored one, on top form and another great goal against Villa

Ireland 7 improves with every game, positional play a joy to watch.

Kompany 7 If only he could shoot straight, tough guy in the nicest sense

De Jong 7 solid in front of the back four, and works well with Kompany. I hope the injury is not serious.

Elano 8 A mystery sometimes, when Robinho plays, but loves that left channel normally filled by Ireland, unlucky not to score, some brilliant through balls,great penalty.

Caceido. 5 his mind is about 15 secs behind everyone else, looks lost at times, but big strong lad, didn’t get the chance to pull the trigger tonight.

Fernandes 5. a billion % effort, but little to show for it.

Evans 7, looks to have learned a lot, surprised me, beautiful lay off for Elano, good running to be involved in the second goal, worth a start.

Bojinov 7 good reverse pass to Ireland which rsulted in second goal, looks sharp, but lose the white boots Valerie, Please!

ref 8 , had a good game

DUNNE my mom, really solid in defence and some excellent clearances and interceptions, back to his best form last night.

given 7 not much to do apart from a couple of saves in the second half but did it well.

zabaleta 7 played well in first half and parts of second half and stopped ashley young only went past him once

dunne 10 simple superb against heskey in the first half and heskey AND carew in th esecond..back to his very best

ned 9 did everything with ease and is getting better and better as the games go by.

bridge 8 his best game so far for us and his crossing and tacking and dribbling was great tonight.

elano 8 tackled and tackled all game long and chipped in with a penalty and also his passing was better than it has been of late.

ireland 9 back to his very best and very unlucky not to have scored a couple

de jong 9 in the first half he was superb and we missed him in the second half.

kompany 6 i might get hammered for this but hes not played well for about 4 games now and he only looked like the kompany we know about twice tonight.

swp 10 outstanding but for me dunney pipped him to MOTM but swp never stopped and it showed that he cares as much as we do for our club.

caciedo 6 he tried bless him but it wasnt great and he never stopped trying but looked tired even though hes hardly played.

evans 6 a few good touches but nothing to write home about really.

fernandes 6 headless chicken..need i say more ?

bonjinov 11 great to see him back and a few good touched of class and im so chuffed he is back and there for he gets 11 from a score of 10 from me.

hughes 10 faultless tonight and made subs when needed unlike he normally does,he was actually of his seat and shouting to the players tonight and i honestly wish he does well..i mean that.

ref 7 nice steady game and let the game only gripe was he should have sent milner off in first half for foul on swp which lead to the penalty


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