21/04/2021 8:15 pm
Referee: Peter Bankes
|Aston Villa||Manchester City|
|McGinn (1)||Foden (22), Rodri (40)|
Well, it turned into a lively old week with the Greed Brigade deciding that sporting merit shouldn’t be a thing, so there might not have been a better time to face Manchester City with Aston Villa looking to find some momentum again.
It was certainly a quick start, I’d barely even sat down when a quick thinking Tyrone Mings (was it revenge for Rodri?) played it long, Ollie Watkins got the cross in, and John McGinn gave us a very unexpected lead 60 odd seconds in. Opta have it down as 20 seconds and it’s our second fastest goal in Premier League history (Dwight Yorke – Coventry – Sep 1995).
Well, we weren’t going to boss the game, but could we hold out?
No, City got their leveller 22 minutes in but better replays would be interesting as they had a player offside on the line who did impede Matty Cash from making any kind of attempt to clear it. But we don’t get given those on VAR do we.
The referee was having a blinder though, so it’s no surprise to see one of his favours eventually come good, but Emi will be looking at himself for their second sadly.
The match was far from over though, and Pep Guardiola had a meltdown when VAR (yes that reads VAR) correctly informed the referee that the horror challenge from the gift that is John Stones required more than a yellow card. Shame it hadn’t made him take a look at Kyle Walkers’ cynical foul on Jacob Ramsey earlier in the game.
Down to ten men, could we make it pay?
Head coach Dean Smith rolled the dice in the second half, and brought Jacob Ramsey off for Keinan Davis – there was no apparent injury after the stoning, so it looked like we were going for it.
Davis also almost quickly had himself a penalty, as we’ve seen those given plenty of times this year – but sadly not. We appeared to have had our VAR decision for the day.
The game was ebbing and flowing, but undoubtedly with City still in charge and comfortable but we were more than giving it a go, with individual errors continuing to make life hard for us, but after a soft yellow card, Matty Cash gave the idiot in charge the excuse he needed to level things up and 10 v 10 it was.
From gambling at the half time break, to bringing on Ross Barkley. Surprisingly to no effect. Anwar El Ghazi’s introduction didn’t change much either.
The game had its moments after that, but we didn’t do enough to threaten a leveller of our own – Cash’s red mist saw to that sadly. But by the same token, City didn’t really overly trouble us either – if anything, individual errors and absolutely astounding decisions from the referee were the prominent moments.
A decent enough effort given where we are in many ways, but City showed their quality. For everything I’ve said, sometimes you hold your hands up, without the idiot in charge, you can’t say they didn’t deserve the win tonight.
What matters to us is showing that desire, and that organisation in games against teams we should now be expecting to take all three points in.