Aston Villa had more possession than Manchester City. Aston Villa took more shots than Manchester City. And Aston Villa created more chances than Manchester City. But Villa's players also made more mistakes, which ultimately decided a contest that was equally heartbreaking and promising from a claret and blue perspective.
A few damning individual errors by Villa undid all of their hard work and dominance on Saturday evening at the Etihad Stadium, resulting in a 3-2 defeat that puts Aston Villa right back in the thick of the relegation battle.
Based on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best -- here are the match ratings, along with stats and analysis, for the Aston Villa players from the loss at Manchester City.
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 2
Nightmare performance from the American that could possibly be his last of the season. One of the worst goalkeeping mistakes in Premier League history (not an exaggeration) gifted Manchester City the opener, and Guzan was lucky Fernando didn't head in a second soon after when Brad helplessly flapped at a cross. Made one decent save, but the last two City goals could be partially attributed to Guzan not organizing his defense. Shay Given next week, Tim.
RB: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 5
Decent outing for Bacuna, who benefited from City not having a true left winger in their lineup. The Dutchman completed 80 percent of his passes and made a few decent tackles. Obviously still not a great defender though, and his disappearing act in the Aston Villa wall contributed to City's second.
CB: Jores Okore, Rating: 5
I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was tough to rate the Aston Villa defenders from this match because they went such long periods without having to actually defend. Okore made six clearances and was good with his passing. Had one great tackle that could've been a penalty to City for a different referee. Okore also failed to make any contact on City's late corner that led to their winning goal, letting the ball bounce in the box and find Fernandinho.
CB: Ron Vlaar, Rating: 5
Vlaar had four clearances and an impressive four interceptions, but it was his back pass that led to Guzan's early mistake. After playing with Given last week at Wembley, it was almost as if Vlaar forgot what it's like to play with a goalkeeper that isn't good with his feet. Besides that moment, Vlaar had a solid game and broke up City's play when they threatened. He'll need to play well down the stretch to steer Villa out of trouble.
LB: Kieran Richardson, Rating: 4
Sigh...Kieran Richardson. What the hell was he doing two yards away from the Villa wall on Kolarov's free kick goal? Richardson actually didn't have a terrible day against Jesus Navas, making five blocks, four clearances and two tackles. He even played in a useful cross or two going forward. But wandering away from a wall is inexcusable, and his moments of hesitation at left back are still glaring at times.
CM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 5
Appeared to salvage a point with his first Villa goal thanks to a great hooked first-time volley, but that was pretty much his lone bright spot. Conceded the foul that Manchester City scored their free kick from. Then dozed off, lost his marker and let Fernandinho take a touch and finish the winning goal. On a day where his passing was pretty good, his tackling and marking were terrible. The inconsistent Colombian continues to frustrate.
CM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 6
Did well in his distributor role as Sanchez played the destroyer beside him. Helped Villa recycle the ball in the side's surprisingly long spells of attacking intention at City. Completed just one pass in the final third, but his role was more so to be a key cog in clogging the midfield with white shirts, which worked well largely because of Westwood.
RM: Tom Cleverley, Rating: 7
Another fine performance by Cleverley under Sherwood, capped by his first Aston Villa goal with a vicious hit that bounced through bodies and found the net. Led all Aston Villa players with 92-percent passing accuracy. Attempted three shots, showing effort to get forward in support of Benteke. This match showed again that Villa are now a side that can have meaningful possession at a high tempo, and Cleverley is a huge part of that.
LM: Fabian Delph, Rating: 7
Yet another midfielder that excelled, this match for Delph showed how much he has transformed. Once just an athletic tackler, Delph didn't make a single tackle on Saturday and still helped Villa control the midfield with 90-percent passing and infinite amounts of energy to drive his side forward. Had a shot that almost found the corner. Delph needs to stop taking set pieces, though.
AM: Jack Grealish, Rating: 8
Wow. Grealish is for real, people. The teenager completed seven take-ons in this match, just two fewer than Manchester City's entire team did. Grealish also created three chances and finished with 91-percent passing. He regularly made some of the highest-paid footballers in the world look silly in this match, bouncing off, spinning by, and dribbling around City's superstars almost at will. When he builds some more chemistry with his teammates and discovers his shooting boots, watch out Premier League.
ST: Christian Benteke, Rating: 5
With Benteke's recent goal-scoring form, I found myself watching him more when he didn't have the ball in this match. Except on Saturday, doing so just resulted in frustration because of the Belgian's inability to stay onside. Several times it was painfully obvious he was going to be offside before it happened. In the first half, he should've scored when the assistant incorrectly ruled him onside after a ricochet fell to him in the box. At the end of the match, Benteke was through on goal and brought down by Joe Hart, but the assistant incorrectly ruled him offside. Not his day. Eleven aerial duels won show Benteke wasn't completely ineffective though.
AM: Charles N'Zogbia, Rating: 5
Hard done by when his perfectly timed pass to Benteke for what would've been the winner was flagged offside, but N'Zogbia had a few other chances to set up his teammates and failed. He's getting himself in good positions but just not doing enough with those opportunities. Probably still a better option than Cole or Weimann for Villa.
RB: Matthew Lowton, Rating: 4
Came on late for Bacuna to help Villa see out the result, which failed miserably. Not really his fault but still unfortunate.