There was something about this fixture when these two teams met on 7th May 2014. This was City’s penultimate game of the season and going into the match, they trailed Liverpool by a solitary point. City’s task was simple – win the last two games, you win the league.
But memories of a sunny Sunday afternoon in April 1990, 24 years earlier came back to put the doubts in City fans minds. On that day, Liverpool and Villa were going head to head for the league title, and going into the match with City, Villa were level on points while the blues, without an away win all season, were in sitting in the relegation zone. Little old City beat Villa 2-1 and in May 2014, there was this air of caution around the older City fans who remembered that day in April only too well.
Villa were safe from relegation going into the match at the Etihad and for 45 minutes, the midlands side held their own against City, much to the delight of Liverpool fans, who were already seeing their team beat City to the title on goal difference, providing they could make up the nine goals that separated the teams.
City controlled the half, limiting Villa counter attacks when they could get the ball, as City had camped in the Villa half. It was not looking like City’s night and the faithful were hoping this wasn’t a Typical City performance – dominate the game and lose 1-0.
Those fears were eased though in the 64th minute. David Silva split the Villa defence and found Pablo Zabaleta on the right wing, and his cross was swept home by Edin Dzeko, much to the relief of the faithful.
Seven minutes later, the faithful could see the Premier League crown crossing Manchester as Dzeko made it 2-0. In an almost identical move, Silva played in Zabaleta and the Argentine full-back passed to Samir Nasri, whose shot was blocked by Guznan in the Villa goal. The rebound fell very kindly to Dzeko to tap home despite the Villa claims for offside.
Villa rallied and hit the bar in 82 minutes to give Liverpool fans hope of a comeback, but with two minutes to go Stefan Jovetic made the game safe. Yaya Toure played with the Villa defence for a few moments before playing the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Jovetic was waiting to pass the ball into the net.
City were going to of the league and two points clear of Liverpool, and the icing on the cake came three minutes into injury time. Vincent Kompany found Toure, who powered forward, holding off challenges from two Villa men before rifling past Guznan to make it 4-0 to the blues.
It was a truly outstanding goal to cap off a fantastic second half performance and City had one hand on the trophy. Only West Ham stood in their way.
Final Score: Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa