The club's number one returned in goal after missing out in midweek and will be disappointed to concede again having kept his first clean sheet in 26 league games last weekend. He had his defenders to blame for the goals - both unmarked.
He was back to the forefront today and he seemed to cope well today, diverting a dangerous cross over his own bar when it could have gone so terribly wrong. But a poor headed clearance from a corner gifted City the opening goal.
The Spanish left-back was again given the nod ahead of fit-again Joe Bennett - who start in the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham in midweek - as Lambert tried playing with wing-backs. Provided some good forward balls.
Club-captain Vlaar had a big task ahead of himself today, not only to keep the league's highest scorers from finding the net but to do so in an altered back three. He gave Samir Nasri too much space in the first half but looked stronger when they reverted to five in defence.
It's a big season for the 22-year-old played who saw added competition with the arrival of Jores Okore. He played his second game of the week as he operated in a defensive three and generally did well.
The young midfielder returned to the starting line-up today to make his first start in the league this season. Didn't always appear to be on the same wave-length as his team-mates, misplacing some easy passes. But a welcome return nonetheless.
The former Leeds midfielder has excelled in the middle in the early stages of the season and continued to impress here today. He was sharp on the ball and his close control helped him get out of some tight situations. Ever-present in the tackle too.
Bacuna hasn't fully established himself with a role in the squad so far this season, having already featured in three positions in just five games. Looked more comfortable in midfield today and provided the assist for the first goal with a through ball inside the box. Hit a fantastic free-kick to level at 2-2.
K. El Ahmadi
The Morroco international has been given a clean run in the team so far this season but seen mixed results. This was easily one of his better displays in claret and blue as he capped his day off with a goal just yards out.
The giant Czech Republic striker scored his first goal at the club last weekend, minutes after stepping onto the pitch. He started today and looked in good form, making bold moves forward - even if they didn't always produce an end result.
The 23-year-old started on the right side of a midfield five as the home side switched their shape due to injuries. He took a long time to get into the game but showed awareness to latch onto a ball down the middle and coolly dispatch.
The England international didn't have a single save to make in the first half as the home side struggled in attack with the absence of Benteke and Agbonlahor. But when he was called upon he couldn't get down quick enough and made a poor error of judement in the third.
The left-back was given the freedom to venture forward with the home side playing without out-and-out wingers. He couldn't clear the ball off the line from the third goal after chasing back.
The Serbia international didn't have anything to contend with until the second half but failed to prevent Andi Wemann's goal.
The Argentina international came close with a chance in the first half after making a late run into the box from a cross.
City's captain will be pleased he didn't have leading striker Christian Benteke to deal with today. His replacement, Libor Kozak, was a handful in the first half but he stood up strong.
The Ivory Coast international played a sublime forward ball through to Nasri, nearly giving City the lead. He read the game well, making interceptions and making good use of the ball. Found himself in just the right position to give City the lead after a poor clearance from a corner.
The big-money signing from Brazil worked well with his partner in the middle of the pitch despite the fact they were outnumbered by Villa's three.
The France play-maker slotted in on the left-hand side and came close to opening the scoring inside the first ten minutes after a deflected effort was just inches wide of the post. He faded in the second half which was disappointing.
The former Aston Villa player returned to his old club and linked up well Negredo and Zabaleta on the right-hand side, drifting the ball low into the box on more than one occasion.
The Bosnia international was given a few chances early on inside the box in the air but couldn't make the most of them. He did find the net in the second half however with an unmarked header from a corner.
The Spain striker was quiet throughout but did show some nice deft touches of the ball to link up with James Milner on the right.