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City 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Emmanuel Adebayor seeks to evade the challenge of Richard Dunne during yesterday's clash at Eastlands. (Picture from Getty images)
Emmanuel Adebayor seeks to evade the challenge of Richard Dunne during yesterday's clash at Eastlands. (Picture from Getty images)

One down, two to go.

Roberto Mancini banked on being able to win our final three games and yesterday's victory was an assured display that suggests we do have the wherewithal to now go and seize fourth spot and Wednesday night.

The importance of the result though should not detract from what was a very good performance. Whilst at times, Mancini has been criticised for being defensive or overly cautious, he deploys tactics and formations with a specific purpose in mind.

Yesterday it was to attack.

This resulted in a frenetic opening as both sides went on the front foot early, like boxers attempting to land early blows and seize the initiative. We were the more composed of the two sides, Vieira's passing in midfield a wonderful display of control and he consistently was the starting point for our attacks. 

That said we couldn't quite translate this into clear chances, whilst Villa, largely bypassing the midfield, had more success with our defence looking nervy and hesitant. Perhaps as a result of having an unfamiliar debutant goalkeeper or perhaps concerned with the threat of John Carew.

It was this hesitancy that led to Villa's opener. Kolo Toure allowed Carew far too much space as the ball was played in, leaving him free to get a shot off that beat Fulop despite lacking in power and being close enough for the Hungarian to have saved. 

The game though was to turnaround in a matter of minutes, with Adam Johnson the focal point for the goals that saw us go into half-time with a lead. Having already survived a penalty shout for handball, Steven Warnock rashly challenged Johnson as he was heading away from danger. Tevez squeezed the resulting penalty home, but only just. Parity restored.

With thoughts turning to half-time, Johnson was again released and showing admirable composure, waited perfectly until Emmanuel Adebayor manouvered some space to hit home.

Whilst not sitting back and inviting danger, we looked very comfortable and at ease during the second half. Vieira rolling back the years to control the midfield, the touted Milner not able to impose himself whatsoever. Importantly, Craig Bellamy became more of a central figure, pinning Villa on the back foot and it was apparent how quickly they tired and their lack of a plan B allowed our defence to settle - although there was a nervy time where Villa threw everything forward.

Wright-Phillips was then introduced late, as Mancini is keen to do, and his pace got beyond the Villa defence to allow him to square to Bellamy to seal the win, with the Welshman pointedly running over to Mancini to celebrate.

The late goal should not be underestimated either, as it gives us a two goal advantage over Tottenham. A win on Wednesday by even a single goal will mean a point at West Ham will be enough unless Tottenham beat Burnley by a five goal margin.

Wednesday is now set up perfectly. A Cup final indeed.