Our match from the past this week takes us back to 2015 and City visit to Villa Park. The season was only six games old, but Chelsea were setting the early pace, opening up a five-point lead over the champions. Villa were only a point behind City going into the match and had won one, drawn one and lost one of their three home matches so far.
The champions had endured a difficult start to the season. After beating Newcastle 2-0 at St James’s Park on the opening day and defeating Liverpool 3-1 in their first home match, the blues suffered a surprise 1-0 home loss to Stoke City and drew 2-2 at Arsenal. City then lost 1-0 at Bayern Munich in the Champions League and had to rely on a Frank Lampard goal against his former club to secure a 1-1 home draw with Chelsea.
City had won 4-2 at Hull in their last Premier League fixture, but defeat at Villa Park could potentially see the blues go into the international break eight points behind the leaders. And the blue shad lost 3-2 at Villa Park twelve months earlier and the Villa fans were hoping for a repeat of that match.
The blues dominated the match from start to finish, enjoying almost 70% possession in the first half yet failed to test the keeper once. Aleksandar Kolarov came closest when his fierce drive hit the outside of the post and it looked like being a frustrating afternoon for the travelling faithful.
City upped the tempo in the second half, but still couldn’t break through the stubborn home defence. Sergio Aguero had managed to evade the defence at the start of the second half, but saw his effort strike the post. Villa then went straight down the other end and had their only shot on goal. However, Joe Hart’s outstretched leg denied Kieran Richardson the opening goal.
It was looking like the blues would end the match with a goalless draw, but in the 82nd minute, Yaya Toure finally broke the deadlock. The Villa defence gave the midfielder far too much time and space, and Uncle Yaya charged forward, before unleashing a left foot shot that flew past Brad Guznan in the Villa goal. It was a deserved goal for the blues, who had turned the screw in the second half.
Six minutes later, Aguero wrapped up the points with a great finish from the edge of the penalty area. James Milner’s pass found the Argentine in acres of space, and Aguero controlled the ball, before picking his spot and firing home.
A 2-0 win closed the gap on Chelsea, but it would turn out not to be enough as Manuel Pellegrini’s champions eventually surrendered their crown to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.