Aston Villa humble Pep and Manchester City at the Villa Park, 1-0 win to Unai Emery’s men
Villa Park has become a fortress, they have gone 14 games all with wins at home under the Spanish Manager, Unai Emery the former Arsenal Coach that Mikel Arteta took over from.
The last time they lost a game at Villa Park was against Arsenal last season and they are meeting the Gunners at the same venue this weekend.
Leon Bailey, the Aston Villa goal hero, put over his previous troubles to enjoy a “special” triumph over champions Manchester City at Villa Park.
Bailey scored the lone goal as Villa produced a fantastic display to defeat Pep Guardiola’s team and set up a fascinating match against league leaders Arsenal this weekend.
Early on, Emi Martinez denied Erling Haaland twice, but the hosts were the superior side at Villa Park, with 22 shots to City’s two.
Villa were rewarded for their pressure in the 74th minute, although with a lucky deflection from Ruben Dias, as Bailey burst forward and his effort took a tremendous deflection off Dias to loop into the net. As a consequence, Villa climbed above City, who are currently winless in four games, into third place.
“It’s very special,” Bailey said after the game to Amazon Prime. It’s much more special on a night like this. It’s an incredible feeling to win and score a goal.
“I can’t put it into words how I feel right now. We showed great character and worked extremely hard to get these three points.
“I struggled during my first season but I knew what I was capable of. People believed in me. I’m here to help as much as possible, and I’m so grateful to be able to do that.
“[Villa boss] Unai Emery has been amazing. His way of doing things is different. He knows exactly what he wants. Day in and day out he knows what he’s doing to help up get the three points.
“It was a great game. A great night for the fans. A great night for Aston Villa.”
Looking at the title race, Bailey added: “I’ve always said to myself, we shouldn’t be looking at titles, instead take things one step at a time. We should remain humble and put in the work every day. Then we focus on the challenge ahead. Come the end of the season we’ll see what happens at the end.”
After the game, Guardiola said Villa deserved the credit, but he had a lot to think about to get their championship defence back on track.
“The better team won,” he said. “Aston Villa was better than us. We struggled. It was really difficult. They are well organised, fast and physical players, they are able to control many aspects. That is the reason why they are up there. They played good football and we could not do it.
“It is my duty, it is my job to find a way to come back. Many years now we are together we found a way, we are able to find a way to win games, to find a way to do it.
“Now that we are struggling we have to change the dynamic, win as soon as possible, Luton, Crystal Palace, to change our mind and continue to win there.”
The absence of suspended Rodri was telling once more. This was the fourth game this season that the Spain midfielder had missed due to a suspension, and City had lost all four.
While other crucial players are out, such Jack Grealish, Jeremy Doku, and, of course, Kevin De Bruyne, City’s dependence on its midfield holder is clear.
“Without Rodri we could not win against Liverpool and Spurs, of course Rodri is so important but when Rodri is not there we have to find a way to do it,” Guardiola said.
“Today is simple, the better team won, you have to accept it. In football it happens. I said (to the players), ‘I know you tried, I know you want it, you have proven it to me many many times’.
“Now the results are not good, that’s why I have to see the games, reflect, and see how we try to do it.”
Video of Leon Bailey’s Goal Against Manchester City