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Aston Villa review

I noted in a recent post that so often, goals from set pieces can be the difference maker in Premier League games.

And at half time last night this looked to be the case. Two very evenly matched sides in terms of personnel and outlookwere seperated by a Richard Dunne (didn't you know it) header from a corner. As much as we have improved ourselves in this facet, we are still worryingly leaking goals in this area too.

It had been an open half, with the attacking prowess of both sides on display, yet neither side able to open up the other to create sufficient quality chances. Villa I thought 'won' the first half, their energy, tempo and relentless pressuring of our players did not allow us to settle and for large periods we struggled to control the game.

The second half saw us improve however, and were fully deserving of the point we ultimately came away with. Perhaps it was the (forced) introduction of Stephen Ireland for Nigel de Jong, or that the once again excellent Craig Bellamy saw more of the ball and became a real creative outlet.

In the preview, it stated that when scoring first we had won every game so far this season. Away from home, particularly at tough places such as Villa Park things are not always going to go your way, so not only was it pleasing to come from behind after the break to earn a point, but the mentality the side showed to achieve it - something that suggests the flakiness of previous City sides has been consigned to the past. No lack of belief or being bereft of idea, there was a constant purpose and desire to get something from the game - again, expectation rather than hope.

In fact, at 1-1 we looked the side most likely to go on and take the points but that would perhaps have been unfair on a Villa side who on the evidence, like ourselves, do look well equipped to challenge the established order of the top four.