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February 12, 2012
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 35132
J. Lescott 63'
FULL TIME! City go back to the top of the table after taking all three points from a very poor game, but they won't care how they do it. Joleon Lescott earned the win for the visitors, but Joe Hart really made sure that they kept the points with a great save late on. For Villa it's yet another home defeat and they're down into 15th after West Brom's victory earlier today.
90' + 5'
90' + 5'
Dunne is off the pitch, and he went off clutching his shoulder. It looks pretty bad for the centre back.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
A ball is pumped into the Manchester City box and Hart makes a great punch to get the ball away. Richard Dunne seemed to land very awkwardly after challenging for that, and is down receiving some treatment.
90' + 1'
Joe Hart makes a fantastic save to deny Darren Bent! James Collins heads the ball down and Bent flicks it goalwards, but it's a brilliant reflex stop from Hart.
And there's one coming now...
Edin Dezko replaces Aguero. Could be a defensive substitution, he's good in the air and will certainly be called back if there's any more Villa corners.
Yellow Card Charles N'Zogbia
And Carlos Cuellar has missed Villa's best chance of the game, it's a great chance for him - unmarked in the centre and he's skied it. He knows it was a big chance as well.
Corner for Villa...
Adam Johnson, who has had a decent game, if a little subdued, is replaced by Samir Nasri.
Milner almost creates another for City, but Cuellar gets across to clear his pull-back with Johnson stretching to get on the end of it.
A Petrov shot from long distance is almost deflected into the path of Carlos Cuellar, but it goes behind for a corner, and Dunne's header is again straight into the arms of Joe Hart.
Game back underway, and with the added bonus of another former City player in Aston Villa colours in the shape of Stephen Ireland.
City are dominating possession again now, just keeping the ball and keeping the ball ... then hoofing it long and out of play for a goal kick. And now there's a pitch invader and the game is briefly paused.
Villa doing a bit of attacking now, but aren't really offering a threat. As soon as they take off their target-man in Emile Heskey they begin to pump some long balls towards the City defence. Good stuff.
Charles N'Zogbia is on the pitch for Villa, getting a good response from the fans after replacing Heskey. To be fair to the striker, he did pretty well being played out of position, but it was a strange tactical choice from McLeish.
Yellow Card Richard Dunne
City fans are in good spirits now, and the team are keeping the ball very well. Richard Dunne has earned himself a really silly yellow card by upending Aguero when there was no need whatsoever.
Assist Gareth Barry
Goal Joleon Lescott
But from the resulting corner it's a GOAL FOR CITY! Milner's corner is to the back post, former Villa captain Gareth Barry heads the ball back across and Lescott hacks the ball into the net from close range.
The free-kick is again whipped in beautifully by Silva, but James Collins gets a big header to clear...
Yellow Card Stilian Petrov
Silva is brought down as he heads into the box. It's a free-kick and yellow card for Petrov...
Kolarov fizzes in a shot but it turns out to be more of a cross. Aguero and Silva almost get on the end of it, but it eludes everyone and goes out for a goal kick.
I've got to say, I was (understandably) a little pessimistic for Villa about playing Heskey on the right wing, but he's been playing pretty well, tracking back to block Kolarov's cross.
Pablo Zabaleta fires in a shot that Given stops easily after a decent move from City. Nice passing from Silva and Aguero.
And so close to the opening goal. Silva whips in a delightful ball from the edge of the area, and Lescott gets his head to the ball but sends it high and wide, got a little too much on it.
Dangerous looking free-kick for City here...
Aguero looks to break up the pitch but he's totally surrounded by defenders and there's no help from the rest of his team. Think City are going a little too defensive for my liking if they are hoping to win this, too much like their first season under Mancini.
Villa have a corner of their own but it comes to nothing. Back to the drab, it seems.
James Milner curls in a corner and Vincent Kompany's header is cleared by Alan Hutton behind for another corner. It looked to be going on target. The follow-up is straight into Shay Given's arms. Getting closer to an opening goal!
The teams are back out after half time and Villa get us underway.
The first half is brought to a close with the ball bouncing around the centre of the pitch. That sums it up so far really. Adam Johnson has come closest, hitting a shot against the foot of the post, but it's been very boring so far, in all honesty.
Villa have been stifling their visitors so far. They look content to see this one out for a draw, but City are still attacking, Kolarov getting in down the left but just can't get enough on his cross.
Aguero cuts in from the left again, but his effort flies high and wide. Again. Match has been a bit drab so far, unfortunately.
Kolarov lines up a free-kick from distance after Gareth Barry is felled by Heskey, but his effort flies over the bar.
Petrov looks in behind for Keane, but Joleon Lescott gets across to clear it up. Nothing doing really for Villa so far.
Johnson gets in down the line for City, pulls the ball back to Aguero, but his shot is deflected by Dunne and cleared in front of goal by Alan Hutton.
Aguero picks up the ball on the left from Silva and runs towards the centre of the penalty area before firing a shot in but it's blazed high and wide.
City are really piling on the pressure now. A couple of corners are cleared before Adam Johnson picks up the ball and takes on Stiliyan Petrov and firing the ball against the post. Almost the opening goal.
A little bit of Aguero magic almost makes an opening. He wriggles past Dunne and gets down the line but his chipped cross can't find anyone at the back post.
Villa also have two of the top 10 highest scorers against City in the starting line up with Robbie Keane and Darren Bent. Could there be goals galore today? It's been a quiet start, I'll put it that way.
Villa's first effort of the game and it's a header from Richard Dunne easily saved by Joe Hart. Dunne, by the way, is one of the top scorers in the history of the Premier League against Manchester City with seven goals. Six of those were own goals when he played for the club, but that's neither here nor there.
Villa are looking very defensive so far. Keeping the ball at the back and bypassing the midfield as they look long to Darren Bent and Emile Heskey, who seems to be playing on the right - not left wing now.
That shot from Aguero has been the only action of the game so far. City are looking to utilise the pace of Aguero in behind the centre back pairing of Richard Dunne and James Collins, but it's not working so far.
City have started the stronger side here, and are looking a bit dangerous already. Adam Johnson is attempting to run at defenders whenever he gets on the ball.
Sergio Aguero almost opens the scoring. A long ball into the box is cleared but only as far as David Silva, who finds Aguero with a header. He chests it down and strikes an effort but it's well held by Shay Given.
And Manchester City get us underway in their away strip of dark blue shirts and white shorts/socks. I must say, the colours are a little close to those worn by the Villa players, and are a little difficult to tell players apart.
The teams are coming out of the tunnel and are about to line up for the pre-match handshake. I assume there won't be as much scrutiny over this one as at Old Trafford yesterday.
Villa will be lining up with a 4-2-3-1 formation, and Emile Heskey will take his place on the left-wing by the looks of things. Bit of a curve ball from Alex McLeish there.
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Aston Villa v Manchester City at Villa Park. The visitors will be aiming to reclaim the top spot from neighbours United after their 2-1 victory over Liverpool yesterday, while Villa will be aiming to make a surge up the Premier League as they currently sit 15th in the table.
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