It was a last gasp penalty to secure the points last weekend against a struggling Norwich followed by an absolute master class of attacking football in Spain midweek. The midweek victory was especially pleasing due to the fact we were missing David Silva and Sergio Aguero, while leaving Kevin DeBruyne on the bench.
Next up is Aston Villa, currently anchoring the League but with a new manager on the bench. The last time City met Aston Villa it was only seven months ago and we were talking about a Villa side invigorated by their new Manager, Tim Sherwood. They had just come off a 1-0 win away to Tottenham (which was also Villa's game before this one, although a different final score). City welcomed Villa to the Etihad where the hosts went 2-0 up through Aguero and Kolarov before Cleverly and Sanchez equalized for the visitors. Points looked to be shared between the two until Fernandinho popped up to score the winner for the Blues.
Head To Head:
Overall, Manchester City have enjoyed the best of this fixture throughout the years. In 150 games played between the two City have won 63 (42%) while losing 49 (33%). The first game came back on the 17th February 1902 with City hosting Villa and winning 1-0, James Hosie with the goal.
The first defeat for City came in April of 1905 when goals by George Livingstone and Alexander "Sandy" Turnbull were not enough and City fell to a 3-2 defeat. This was a very damaging game for Manchester City for more reasons than the result though. Allegations of match fixing along with other violent from the Villa players resulted in the FA coming in to investigate. The resulting investigation found financial irregularities and City as a club was hit hard with sanctions (sound familiar). Leading figures behind the scenes at City were suspended and players were transferred out of the club, mostly to United. It would be these players who would then lift United's first trophies.
City have beaten Villa by a 5-0 score line twice in their history. The first came on the 7th December 1935, 80 years ago with a brace each from Fred Tilson and Ernie Toseland while Eric Brook scored the fifth. The second came on the 17th November 2012 (almost exactly three years ago from this Sundays game). Again there were two braces with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez after a David Silva opener.
Both of those games came from City home games against Villa. The stat at the beginning of this section took into account all games against the two sides, home, away or on a neutral ground. Sunday we travel to Villa Park so how do we historically get on there? Manchester City have only won 17 games (23%) of the 74 played and have been outscored 1.14 goals per game compared to Villa's 1.64 (That equates to 84 goals scored contrasted with 121 conceded).
The good news is that in the last two decades of games away to Villa, City have only lost four times, winning seven and keeping five clean sheets in the process
No points for mentioning Fabian Delphwho left Villa for City in the summer. No points either for Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott or Scott Sinclair who now find themselves at Villa after spending time at City.
James Milner came from Villa to City in 2010 to win titles and cups before moving to Liverpool in the summer. After spending time at Newcastle, Villa, Leeds and representing England over 50 times, it was at City where he won all his professional trophies including two Premier League trophies, an FA Cup, League Cup and, of course, a Community Shield.
Gareth Barry moved to Everton before the second Premier League win but did pick up an Intertoto Cup while at Villa.
Going further back in history you have goalkeepers Shay Given, David James and Peter Schmeichel switched from City to Villa. Stephen Ireland and Richard Dunne also both left City for Villa while Darius Vassell came in the other direction.
Ex City Assistant Manager, David Platt, had his best playing days at Aston Villa. He was there from 1988 to 1991 which included the Italia ‘90 World Cup and that volley against Belgium, which may have crushed a four year old Vincent Kompany's heart but fortunately was before Kevin de Bruyne's time.
Other mentions must go to John Burridge who played for Villa in 1975 before becoming the oldest player in the Premier League when he turned out for City two decades later, aged 43 years and five months. His first start for City, was away to Villa.
Michael Oakes played just over 50 games for Villa and none for City. His Father, Alan, played over 500 times for us, winning everything under the sin in the Mercer-Allison era and so must get a mention.