Leon Bailey’s first league goal of the season for Aston Villa helped his side fight back to claim a valuable point against Manchester City as it finished 1-1 at Villa Park.
City were the dominant side in the first half, but were unable to capitalise on some good patterns of play in the final third.
Villa were happy to go into half-time with the scores still level, but it did not last long after the second half got underway, as City took the lead just five minutes after the break.
Erling Haaland reacted quickest at the back post to tap home a superb Kevin De Bruyne cross from the right flank to reach double figures in just his sixth league game.
The visitors then came close to scoring again midway through the second period as a De Bruyne free-kick rattled against the crossbar.
However, 15 minutes from time, Villa equalised against the run of play. Jacob Ramsey’s powerful cut-back was finished beautifully into the top-left corner by Bailey as the Jamaican international put his side back on level terms.
The Villans held on to secure a valuable point and put an end to a three-game losing streak in the Premier League.
TALKING POINT – ANOTHER DUBIOUS REFEREEING CALL
Refereeing has once again been a key talking point this weekend in the Premier League, and another controversial call was made today, which may have prevented Aston Villa securing their first win against City since 2013.
With the scores at 1-1, Phillippe Coutinho, who had come on 15 minutes prior to the incident, picked up the ball in the area, before rifling in a powerful shot into the net which came off the crossbar on its way in. Referee Simon Hooper blew his whistle for offside against the Brazilian before the ball went into the net.
The key detail here is that VAR was not able to intervene because of Hooper already blowing the whistle. Villa will feel very hard done by with that decision, as replays showed that Coutinho was level with the last Manchester City defender.
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard said post-match that he saw “a legitimate goal.”
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KEVIN DE BRUYNE
All of the headlines will be about Erling Haaland scoring again for Manchester City, but this man was the best player on the park today, and once again he registered an important assist – his fourth in the Premier League this season.
The 31-year-old was everywhere today, and again was the main creative outlet for Manchester City. This was demonstrated by how many key passes he played, which was six.
He also could have been on the scoresheet himself, but his free-kick in the 66th minute rattled against the crossbar. His performance today deserved a goal.
Aston Villa: Martinez 7, Cash 6, Konsa 6, Mings 6, Digne 6, Luiz 6, Kamara 6, McGinn 6, Bailey 7, Ramsey 7, Watkins 6. Subs: Young 6, Coutinho 6, Buendia 6.
Manchester City: Ederson 6, Cancelo 7, Dias 6, Stones 6, Walker 6, Gundogan 6, Rodri, De Bruyne 8, Foden 6, Haaland 7, Silva 6. Subs: Ake 6, Mahrez 5.
49’ – GOAL! (Erling Haaland) – Haaland is back in the goals! However, this all comes from a beautiful cross from De Bruyne from the right, and Haaland is there to tap it in at the back post with an outstretched leg!
57’ – CHANCE! – Villa have a big chance! Ramsey wins the ball back in midfield and it starts a counter attack for the home side. Villa are two-on-one, and Watkins runs with the ball in on goal before squaring it for Ramsey beside him, but Ederson comes off his line to get to the ball before he can get a shot away! Ramsey’s poor touch let him down there.
66′ – OFF THE BAR! – City win a free-kick in a very dangerous position outside the penalty area. De Bruyne opts to take it, and he sees his knuckleball-style effort crash back off the crossbar and go behind! So unlucky.
80′ – GOAL RULED OUT! – The flag goes up against Coutinho for offside before he smacks a ball into the top corner off the bar! It will not stand! Replays show that the Villa man was onside!
74′ – GOAL! (Leon Bailey) – Fantastic from Villa! Out of the blue, the home side equalise! Ramsey picks the ball up around 35-yards out before driving forward into the area, and he drills a quick cut-back for Bailey, who rifles a superb first-time strike into the roof of the net! The Holte End roof has come off!