Fernandinho red card adds to Guardiola's headache
|MANCHESTER CITY||ASTON VILLA|
|(Raheem Sterling 46, David Silva 65,
Ilkay Guendogan 70)
Manchester City kept pace with leaders Liverpool by defeating Aston Villa 3-0 on Saturday (Oct 26), but City manager Pep Guardiola was not entirely happy.
Aiming to avoid a second successive home league defeat, City looked a pale shadow of the unstoppable juggernauts that won the title last season, with Villa troubling the champions in the first half in the pouring rain.
However, just 20 seconds into the second half, Raheem Sterling latched onto a Gabriel Jesus flick to score his 13th goal of the season in all competitions to give City the lead.
Kevin de Bruyne’s cross seemed to go all the way into the bottom corner for City’s second, with the goal initially awarded to the Belgian, but a Goal Accreditation Panel review after the match adjudged David Silva to have got a touch.
VAR was heavily involved at the Etihad, with City’s second goal undergoing a lengthy review for a potential offside call against Sterling, but it was allowed to stand, much to Villa’s frustration.
Ilkay Guendogan made sure of the three points with a scissor-kick finish, with Fernandinho’s late red card tarnishing the result for the hosts.
“Six days ago, we were eight points (behind Liverpool), now it’s three,” said Guardiola. “That’s good experience for us but they have to play tomorrow. I’m not concerned with the table.
“If we play like we did in the first half, we’ll be in the relegation positions."
Fernandinho's red card has added to City's crisis in defence. Before the match, Guardiola confirmed that Rodri, a midfielder by trade who has been filling in as centre-back, will be out for a few weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered during their 5-1 win over Atalanta in the Champions League.
Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has undergone minor surgery on a knee problem and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
With Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines until well into the New Year, Guardiola will be heavily reliant on John Stones and Benjamin Mendy, two defenders whose City careers have been severely hampered by injuries. – REUTERS, AFP