It’s safe to say, I am still confused as to how we lost that game. Throughout the game there was no time that I truly thought we wouldn’t win. Sure, my pessimistic side was thinking "we will find a way to lose this," but I didn’t believed it until the third goal, of course. Sure, the first goal by Villa should not have counted because El Ahmadi was well offside, but that is just one goal. I know we don’t perform at our best away from the Etihad, but there is no excuse for the lackadaisical performance we put on defensively during one 10 minutes stretch of the second half. I don’t know what it is about games on the road, but we just look like a completely different team than the one that plays at home.
We completely dominated possession throughout the first half, and again for much of the second. Unlike like last season, where we held most of the possession but couldn’t score, this season we look more likely to score due to our style and width in attack. This is one positive thing to take from this game, although we lost; there are improvements from last year’s season for City to build on.
I had a feeling that our goals would come from a set piece, due to the aerial threat both Negredo and Dzeko provide for our midfielders. Of course, we should have converted more of our corners into goals. That being said, after Yaya scored the first goal late in the first half, I thought that is all City needed to do was to open up play in the second half and score an early goal as they did against United. Sadly, it was Villa who seemed to have benefited from the openness of the game and attack.
A glimmer of hope for us to grab all three points came when Dzeko scored off one of our double-digit corners. However, that was short lived. I understand how the free kick that, but thanks to NBC’s decision to show the ref rather than play, I missed how the play for the third goal developed. Evidently, that was a complete lapse by Kompany and Nastasic. Not like I really wanted to see the goal happen in real time, I would just like to had seen how Vinnie and Nastasic got beat. Of course, I saw on the replay how it happened, which sucked just as much if not more than seeing the live action. You think on a situation so routine as a goalie playing the ball forward nothing so threatening would happen immediately. Unfortunately, this managed to happen to City.
Aston Villa really didn’t play well at all. They were just able to take advantage of those mental lapses made by City. Credit where credit is due though, Villa.
We really missed Sergio Aguero today; his ability to hold possession of the ball around the box is a game changer, something we could have used. I wish we would stop losing; it hurts having to write after such a gut wrenching loss like today’s. With Aguero and Silva returning for the Bayern game, I am hoping for a better result, but that may be wishful thinking with the way they are playing right now. This will be a busy few weeks upcoming; got to hope we can figure out some consistency.
Final note; with Nasri playing really well, it will be interesting to see how Silva will fit into the team, since Silva usually started ahead of Nasri.
Dzeko (5) – I think he could have done more today with the chances he had. He got that shouldered goal, which was very important, but he completely mishit a wide-open header off a corner. Need more from him when Aguero isn’t in the game.
Negredo (5) – He is a great distributor of the ball from outside the box, but like Dzeko, we need goals from him when Aguero is unavailable.
Milner (5) – Not a great game for James, and I know he is probably disappointed he didn’t do more. He had some good crosses, but he also had some REALLY bad ones.
Yaya (7) – He didn’t push as far up the field as in previous games, but his impact was still vital. With Aguero out, City needed him to get a goal and he did. He had that beautiful pass to Jovetic at the end of the game, which I was begging would be a goal; it wasn’t.
Fernandinho (6) – His acceptance of the holding midfield role has really allowed City to push forward with their best weapon: Yaya Toure. He made more strong tackles on the ball, and he and Yaya are getting a better understanding of one another’s play.
Nasri (7 MotM) – Another great game from the Frenchman. He was extremely creative in attack, and started plenty of our moves towards goal. He was my man of the match today, although Yaya could have won it too, Nasri brought more creativity.
Zabaleta (7) – More yeomen like effort from Pablo today. He was up and down the right wing attacking and making important tackles. It will be interesting to see how Pellegrini will use him now that Richards is back.
Kompany (6) - Other than the lapse in concentration, Vinnie had another solid game. He made some important blocks and interceptions of passes, which stopped chances for Villa to score.
Nastasic (4) – Not a good game for the youngster. He was certainly at fault, along with Kompany, for the third goal. He also made a foolish challenge in perfect free kick position. There was no need to foul the player whom would not be important to the rest of that attack.
Kolarov (6) – He was highly involved, again, on attack with Nasri. The two have found an understanding with one another.
Hart (5) – Not much he could do about the goals today. The first was offside, second was a beautiful free kick and the last one was just a total lapse by his center backs.
Navas (6) – He ran all over the field, probably to make up for the lost minutes, most notably running back in defense after one of our corner kicks. He put a few good crosses into the box.
Jovetic (6) – After being subbed on, he was definitely the brightest point of City’s attack after the half. He made runs left and right, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Look forward to seeing more from him going forward.